Placing a Bet on Apps for Local Businesses, Advice Local Acquires Scanther Mobile

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It’s unclear whether apps are yet part of the vital core of local presence management and marketing, but they can certainly do a lot to help local businesses book appointments and engage consumers on mobile.

With that in mind, Advice Interactive Group announced today that it will acquire Scanther Mobile, an Austin-based app technology company founded in 2012 by brothers EJ and Austin Archuleta. The brothers will join Advice as part of the deal and Scanther will be rebranded as Advice Mobile and integrated within the Advice Local product suite. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Advice Interactive CEO Bernadette Coleman told Street Fight that she was impressed with the speed and ease with which Scanther’s technology could be deployed — more or less instantly rendering an iOS and/or Android app for local businesses that is immediately ready for submission to iTunes or Google Play.

“By the time I was done with the demo, I wanted it,” said Coleman. “Literally any business with a click of a button can create a mobile app. …  It goes out across the Internet, gathers all the data, brings the data back, and builds the app on the fly for the client. The ease of access really allows the small business to get into the world of apps.”

Relying heavily on automation, Scanther’s technology requires no development resources and allows local marketers to then make edits directly from any device. It also allows marketers to create coupons and loyalty programs or send push notifications, and is beacon-ready.

“We believe that mobile is going to be the main platform for engagement going forward and this will allow us to offer a simple solution that can help them engage with customers,” said Coleman.

Scanther currently has many clients that are hair salons, gyms and maid services, but Coleman says the technology will be part of a wider package that Advice will offer to a wide range of SMB clients as well as brands, agencies, channel partners going forward. The level of automation is key, because it allows apps to be deployed for businesses at a much lower price point than what is currently available.

Coleman said that the acquisition fits squarely with Advice’s belief that mobile is the dominant platform reshaping local marketing — and that apps are part of how businesses will develop more personalized relationships with clients going forward.

David Hirschman is a Street Fight co-founder.