Why "Benja"?

Today, we're going to tackle two of the main questions we get; why did you name the company Benja? And, if your company name is Benja, where does benjamin come into play? We've been stopped mid-pitch to answer this question, at the beginning of meetings, the end, through e-mail, through text and many other ways. So let's break it down.

Enter Benjamin Franklin. Mr. Franklin is, as you may know, featured on the $100 bill. As you may also know, it's "all about the benjamins," and we're stoked to help you save as many of those as possible. Further, the majority of our offerings will cost you less than a benjamin. So that's pretty neat.

When we launched our mobile app, benjamin: sixty-second deals, that worked. But when we started to grow into other areas (like online display advertising), we discovered the need to speak about each of these things individually. We decided that the -min in benjamin could stand to mean "the one minute deal app," (which is why our logo includes a clock) and the rest could call under the umbrella of Benja. 

Have you ever noticed the clock actually counts down 60 seconds each deal you swipe through on the benjamin app? It's true! If you don't buy or pass on a deal in the app within 60 seconds, it will automatically swipe to the next deal. 

So you could still argue we should have stuck with one name, but if you browse around our website you'll see we have multiple facets to our business. We work with vendors to get the best deals, we work with publishers so you can shop the benjamin app deals inside the confines of a display ad, we send irresistible deals via e-mail (sign-up here) and we even have something brewing called The B List.

At the end of the day, it's all about the benjamins.

Bonus Fact: we actually started with a different name altogether .... Ephecom Inc. Which stands for Ephemeral E-Commerce Incorporated. We changed it. You're welcome.

Benjaversary

We're three!!!

Today is our 3rd anniversary of existence and we're pretty excited about it! Instead of giving you a whole blog post to read through after the extended holiday weekend, below is a compilation of some of our favorite gif's ... enjoy! (Oh, and scroll to the bottom for a treat).

O5O23XurHgw.gif

We couldn't have gotten this far without you, so use the code BENJAVERSARY to get $10 your next purchase on the benjamin app. Code expires Sunday, July 9th. 

Don't have the app? Download now!

Fourth of July+Summer Must-Haves

The holiday weekend is here and for many this is the unicorn of holiday weekend's; the 5-day weekend! Just a couple weeks ago Summer officially kicked off, and many even wait until the 4th to really start their Summer living. Here, we want to show you all our must-haves for the 4th, that are appropriate (and encouraged) all Summer long. 

The key for the gents; swim trunks! For guys still wearing trunks down to their knee's step out of your comfort zone and show a little leg. These trunks will take you through beach days, pool parties and so much more.

Ladies, just give into the pool float trend. It's hard to fight something that isn't going anywhere so if you can't beat em', join em'! There's the classic swan float, the unicorn float, the donut float but we're really into the pineapple float this Summer. Get yours now so you can throw pool parties or just bring it to everyone else's. 

Summer can be hot, and the best people at any gathering are those who bring the cold goods. Don't get caught with tiny ice packs around beer or flimsy cooler bags. Travel with the Yeti Roadie cooler and help everyone chill out.

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

Must. Stay. Hydrated. Pick your "poison" to rid of the actual poison, but our Summer favorite is Hint water. Try this variety pack that contains 3 bottles each of crisp apple, watermelon, pineapple, and blackberry flavors. You're welcome.

Fun fact: you're 80% more likely to lose your sunglasses during Summer than any other season. Ok, we haven't verified those statistics outside of our own team but it has to be true. Don't take your favorite Ray-Ban's to the beach, leave your Prada's at home, get this 10-pack of sunnies and stop stressing over lost/broken shades. 

What are your Summer must-haves? Tweet, Facebook or Instagram us the things you can't live without! 

Everyone enjoy this holiday weekend and make it a Summer for the books.

Day Drinking

Today, we're here to talk about day drinking otherwise known as drinks you sip on during the work week.

We thought it was pretty interesting that our CEO, CTO and CMO all prefer different morning drinks... none of which are a regular cup of joe. 

On any given day our CEO, Andrew, can be caught at a juice bar. This guy loves fresh juice. When he's in San Francisco you can find him at Raw Juice where his drink of choice is the Motherload. If he's in Boston, he will swing by Revolution Juice for the Sweet Beet. Finally, if he's zooming through NYC you can catch him grabbing Charcoal Lemonade at Pressed Juicery.

rawjuice

Our CTO, Tommy, is less complex as his go-to drink of choice is... water! We're not here to knock water, the health benefits are amazing and he's making a much better financial choice. However, we admit the team has tried to get him to expand his horizons (to no avail). Naturally, we had to inquire about his favorite places to grab water: 

waterislife

Our CMO, Morgan, cares about one thing; caffeine. Her number one go-to when she needs to hit the ground running is a doppio with a splash of chocolate. Don't know what a doppio is? It's two straight shots of espresso, and one way to say "good morning!". Next up, sugar-free redbull. She claims this is a once a week thing when she really wants to buckle down, but sometimes we're sure she's sneaking a few more in.

doppio.jpg

So what's your morning drink of choice? What snaps you into gear during your afternoon lulls? Let us know on any of our social channels; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Mother's Day Prep

Mother's Day is two weeks away, and we want to first, remind you, and second, make sure you're prepared. We've got some pretty awesome mom's across the Benja crew and we've put together a list of all the things they want, hoping they'll help you out too.

1. Dogeared "Mom" I Love Mom Necklace
Unless you know your mom already has a staple necklace that she refuses to ever change, this is a great option. Even if you've never seen your mom wear a necklace, safe bet that she will start wearing one if you send it for Mother's Day. Dogeared has a lot of great products, but this one is our favorite.
 

2. Nambe Cheese Block with Knife and Spreader
If your mom is the hostess with the mostess help her out with some more great pieces to have when guests show up. We love Nambe products and the magnetic tools on the side of this cheese block are always a unique conversation piece. Not to mention, you know mom has everything to entertain, so you don't want to get her a piece that's hard to store. 

3. Dear Mom Mug
If you've got some competitive siblings, or maybe you're the competitive one, this gift is for you. There are quite a few options out there, but this one spoke to us. We're always fighting for the #1 spot with mom, don't kid yourself, so let her be reminded of you each morning when she sips on her coffee/tea.

4. Fitbit Alta HR
Our mom's love tracking their steps. Some of them go on long walks each morning and want to know exactly how far they went and also want to beat the previous day if only by a few steps. If you want to go above and beyond, get two and start competing. Fitbit's are always a win, and the Alta has tons of interchangeable bands to accessorize with. 

5. Seasons of Life Note Card Assortment Pack
We'll end with our top sentimental choice, stationary. If you want to do it up big, order this set directly to you, keep half of the cards (and envelopes) and send the other set off to mom and include 12 postage stamps. This will take a tiny bit of continued work, but you can send the first note with her set and promise to write each other once a month for the next year. She will swoon, and you'll have won Mother's Day. You're welcome.

Order now and make sure mom has something to open up on Mother's Day! If you need more ideas, send a message to support@benjaminapp.co and we'll help you find the right gift.

Top Alexa Skills

We've talked about Alexa on some of our social channels, in fact, our CEO has even written up his take on technology that's always listening. Today, we just want to share how we use Alexa on a daily basis because we think she's pretty cool. 

  1. Booking Trips
    This skill is primarily beneficial if you currently use Kayak to book your trips. Alexa can actually check prices on a trip you've set. For example, you can say "Alexa, what's the best priced ticket to go from SFO to LGA?" Even cooler, if you're not sure where your next vacation is you can say " Alexa, ask Kayak where I can go for $350." Whether you're daydreaming of a vacation or know exactly where you're going, try it out.
  2. Order a Ride
    You can ask Alexa to order you an Uber or Lyft! If you have locations set in your app it's even better because you can say "Alexa, order me an Uber from home to XRC Labs." Some of you may know how precious an extra 60 seconds or so is when getting ready to head out the door. 
  3. Sports Update
    You all may know about this one, but it doesn't make us love it less. You can setup your favorite sports team within your Alexa app and anytime throughout the day you can say "Alexa, give me my sports update." When you follow different sports and different teams you don't always want to wait to scroll across their tweet's or click through ESPN, so just have Alexa give you the rundown.
  4. Wine Lovers
    Love wine? Want to love wine? Want to impress someone who loves wine? MySomm turns Alexa into your own sommelier. You can ask Wine Gal what to pair with the cheeseburger you just ordered or something a little more in-line like, "Alexa, ask Wine Gal what goes with roast chicken." You can also activate What Beer for those who prefer beer pairings.
  5. Help in the Kitchen
    MyChef is built to be your sous chef. This skill definitely requires the most effort on the users part to become useful, but once you have it setup it's pretty cool. You can add items to your shopping list, which you can access on your phone once you're at the store, you can also find recipes based on what you have available in your kitchen. Once you have all your pantry items in the app you can even ask things like "Alexa, what's expiring soon?" so you can decide what to cook first.
  6. Skill Finder
    It's exactly what it sounds like; a new way to easily discover Alexa’s newest and top skills. After all, she has over 10,000 skills and you probably use tons everyday that we've never even heard of! So you can have SkillFinder tell you the skill of the day or even what the top skills in the catalogue are.

We want to hear about the skills that you find most useful, so catch us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to let us know!

Our Favorite NYC Spots

During the accelerator program at XRC Labs, we spent about 4 months in New York City. Although we can't say that all our favorite spots ended up being "hidden gems," they're places that we'll definitely get back to when we're visiting the city next. 

We were constantly on the hunt for great brunch, and on top of that, avocado toast [at a great brunch spot]. We finally found it at Jack's Wife Freda who came through big time. 

Pictured: Avocado toast w/ cherry tomato jam, pickled carrots, and za’atar and a side of fries. Green Shakshuka; 2 baked eggs in a green tomatillo shakshuka served with challah toast.

Pictured: Avocado toast w/ cherry tomato jam, pickled carrots, and za’atar and a side of fries. Green Shakshuka; 2 baked eggs in a green tomatillo shakshuka served with challah toast.

A few of us here at benja love to cycle, yeah, spin classes. We knew there had to be something spectacular in NYC, and boy did we find it when we came across IMAX Shift in Dumbo. This studio has built their design within an IMAX Movie Theater so you're riding right there with whatever or whoever is on the screen. We were lucky enough to catch their Music Video Ride -- highly recommended. 

Here's a shot of the studio, when it's go time the lights go down and the screen lights up your ride. 

Here's a shot of the studio, when it's go time the lights go down and the screen lights up your ride. 

You've seen the cookie dough place all over Facebook or maybe the crazy milkshake place or maybe you've been drooling over cronut's (trust us, they're all pretty great too) but there's a bakery that you just can't miss...LeVain Bakery. We've never seen a cookie baked quite this way, it's almost like scone meets cookie meets whoa. So take a stroll through Central Park, probably prepare to wait in line, and get you some cookies. 

Pictured: Chocolate chip walnut cookie. 

Pictured: Chocolate chip walnut cookie. 

We love comedy shows, and we went to quite a few in the city but none as unique as BATSU!. To start, Batsu in Japanese means "punishment". Four warriors compete in comedic challenges to avoid electric shocks, paintballs, a giant egg-smashing chicken, and many more hilarious and jaw-dropping punishments. Not to mention a friend we were with lost a challenge and had to dress up as a ballerina on stage. As if St. Mark's Place isn't lively enough, Batsu is a must if you're in the area.

Pictured: Four comedians face-off in a comedic battle

Pictured: Four comedians face-off in a comedic battle

We ended our trip by going to One World Observatory. First and foremost, this was our favorite New York City experience. To be inside a building that was built upon a city rising back up is not only extremely touching but wildly inspiring. We got the opportunity to go at sunset and the view was beyond anything we could have imagined. Intertwined with the memories and the tributes was phenomenal technology; the elevator experience, the first time you "see forever", the iPads that tell you about each building and so much more. This is an absolute must.

Pictured: (left) sunset view (right) night time view.

Pictured: (left) sunset view (right) night time view.

Thank you again to XRC Labs for hosting our office space, connecting us to amazing mentors and aiding in our continued growth and success. 

New York City, we'll be back.

Benja joins forces with XRC Labs

We have a big announcement: we're proud members of the latest cohort at the XRC Labs accelerator program in New York City.

XRC Labs is an accelerator for the next generation of disruptors in the retail and consumer goods sectors. Their mission is to foster companies and products that change the face of retail and consumer goods fulfillment in a rapidly changing marketplace using design thinking. The XRC Labs vision is to be at the forefront of change, disrupting the conventional system of supply chain, promoting the best experience for consumers and producers, and creating an ecosystem that matches partners for success. 

Enter Benja

XRC is Providing workspace on the campus of Parsons, access to capital, mentoring, and operational support for entirety of their 10-week program.

XRC is Providing workspace on the campus of Parsons, access to capital, mentoring, and operational support for entirety of their 10-week program.

We are amped to not only be a part of the program but to work alongside 7 other companies who were also accepted as a part of this cohort: 29th Century, Cartogram, CheckOut, Ella, Lacelook, Snappy, and Ziel.

  • 29th Century; for e-commerce businesses who can’t find or afford their own data analytics team, 29th Century provides an AI-powered virtual data analyst to help them make better decisions.
  • Cartogram; provides indoor location services to businesses. Built natively into the Google Maps platform, Cartogram’s software services work together to create an end-to-end in-venue experience to drive revenue, enhance customer experience, and lower overhead for businesses.
  • CheckOut; uniting online sales and conversion strategies with brick and mortar retail for a complete and immersive customer experience in physical stores.
  • Ella; positioned to fill the void in the women’s skincare market, as a female-focused lifestyle brand. Ella provides an elevated product and brand experience, sourcing high- quality ingredients tailored to the needs and identity of women.
  • Lacelook; building a powerful AI- backed visual search technology for visual-oriented products such as fashion goods – clothing, handbags, shoes, etc. – and helping consumers get real-time shop-the-look results and compare prices across brands and retailers.
  • Snappy; an app that makes it extremely easy to send a thoughtful and personalized gift but with all the advantages of a gift card – offering choice for recipients and simplicity for senders.
  • Ziel; a platform that enables any lifestyle company to expand the reach of their brands into activewear. Ziel provides a turnkey solution to bring high-quality, eco-friendly performance apparel to market. The service platform includes custom design with on-demand production

We have a number of major developments coming between now and the conclusion of the program in March, and we can't wait to share the success stories that come from this experience.