App State alumnus creates Excessive Nation enterprise and tradition app – The Appalachian

Courtesy of Draba

Draba, a business and culture app developed by former App State student Davis Parker, is aimed at community members, tourists, and businesses to promote local attractions and activities.

When a former App State student attended an opening at the Nth Degree Gallery and Studios in Boone, he pondered how he’d ended up there in the first place. He was invited by a friend, which sparked curiosity for more accessible ways to find out about local events.

Davis Parker, a former App State student, recognized the need for a “hub” for local events, businesses and culture in the highlands, which formed the basis for the Draba app. Parker borrowed the name Draba after the Draba flower that blooms in difficult environments. This serves as a metaphor for the “blossoming” of new and local businesses.

From here, Parker began his journey to create Draba. The app is aimed at community members, tourists and companies.

“It’s like Instagram and Yelp have a baby,” said Drabas content developer Zachary Matheson.

The app, which is expected to be released in the first few weeks of February, will allow content creators and businesses to send content to their localized feed. Then users can vote for the company and content they would recommend to other community members. After the votes have been automatically counted by the app, Draba will show the winners.

Each company has links to their social media websites and contact information in the app.

Draba has been in the works since 2012 and has seen numerous changes and additions to his team.

When Parker moved to California in 2019 to participate in the Tech Futures Group, a group that helps with strategic planning for startups. He worked with Maddie Maurer, Draba’s marketing coordinator.

“I had a lot of time to get involved … Davis moved to California by chance, so I was his foot soldier here in Boone,” said Maurer.

One of the original ideas for Draba, then known as Tiger Vine, was introduced by Parker to the Clemson University community in 2015. On Tiger Vine, users could use tiger paws as voices to rate university-based events like donating blood and Greek life. The success of Tiger Vine helped inspire what is now known as Draba.

The Draba team used this dynamic to compete, participate in forums and introduce the idea to communities across the country. In 2019, the Valley Venture Mentors Accelerator decided for Draba to participate in a six month program that contributed to funding and support.

Parker describes this program as the “incubator” that she partnered with an entrepreneurship mentor.

“They helped us develop a business model and strategize deployment strategies,” said Parker. “We mainly focused on throwing in front of crowds.”

Draba is now available for seven cities in the Highlands as well as neighboring cities of Johnston City, Tennessee and Hickory. Once launched, the app will be available for both Apple and Android products. After that, the team hopes to expand beyond North Carolina.

Draba has been working on the full roll out since the team released its alpha version in 2019. The beta version brought in over 4,000 users and helped refine the current version that they expect to be even more successful.

Since the beta version, Parker and his team of three have been working with local companies to bring them to the app for free. Companies like CoBo Sushi Bar, Foggy Pine Books and FARM Cafe have dedicated themselves to the app.

Joseph Miller, owner of CoBo Sushi Bar and Black Cat Burrito, first heard about Draba while Parker was working at Black Cat.

“He started telling me (Draba) about it and how it would be different from other apps,” Miller said. “I think it helps local businesses and the community to unite. As Boone grows, we can share that notoriety, and when we grow together, everyone wins.”

Many Boone companies have secured future cohesion campaigns with the app, for example exclusive Draba products such as a Draba-based drink in the Tapp Room or Draba-inspired cookies at App Cookie Co.

The team hopes to benefit the community by partnering with and introducing nonprofits such as OASIS and Western Youth Network.

Draba is also supported by the City of Boone, the Boone Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Boone Development Association.

“I can absolutely promise you that we will never have any commercials,” said Parker.

Parker views this as one of many ways Draba is unique compared to its competitors.

Draba’s goal is to support both sides of the business / customer relationship: companies receive free advertising while customers have easier access to popular content.

Parker stated that one of the main goals of the app is to help the many local businesses that the highlands have to offer year round.

“During the summer, when students leave, these companies slump,” he said. “Hopefully we can get an economic upswing.”

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