Cole Model

What’s the Buzz All About?

April 22, 2024

Cole Model teams up with fellow Spiders to connect bar managers and patrons for happy hour one tap at a time.

Discount drafts and half-priced nachos can be an alluring salve after a long day at work. Whether for casual networking, socializing with friends, or to unwind and enjoy a more affordable meal, happy hours have long been an attractive time for patrons and restaurants alike, and Cole Model lives in one of the best cities to experience them. 

Washington D.C. has one of the highest densities of happy hours per square mile in the U.S., and soon after moving to the city, Model saw this as a huge opportunity. A walk after work took him by a bar manager setting up a sandwich board outside his establishment to advertise afternoon specials. “I immediately thought about how this could be digital,” Model said.

He started researching and strategizing—meeting with bar managers, asking questions about their operations, identifying potential groups of customers, and forming a business plan for an app that could connect bar managers directly with bar goers. The idea is two-fold, offering a subscription to bar managers to help elevate visibility and promote specials, and alerting customers to nearby budget-friendly deals and experiences. He called it Buzz.

Model brought on his brother, Max, to lead app development, Brett Schoppert, ’23, to manage finances, and Justin Sullivan, ’23, to handle marketing. “I realized how much I didn’t know and wanted to surround myself with experts and friends who supported the idea,” Model said.

With leadership in place and development underway, Model turned back to the University to bring more Spiders on board. Using the Richmond Guarantee, several Richmond students now have internship roles with the group, conducting market research, creating content, and analyzing business opportunities. 

Connor Mirone is a sophomore interning with Buzz. “It’s been a wonderful experience learning about a unique industry,” he said. “I present weekly to leadership which has helped me grow those soft skills. It is a great way to work with others in a professional setting.” Model and the Buzz team have also incorporated networking and mentorship opportunities into the internships.

“I had an experience working with a startup as a student using the Richmond Guarantee,” Model said. “It influenced me greatly, and I am eternally grateful to be able to provide opportunities for students to do the same with Buzz.”

Buzz is in the midst of raising pre-seed funding to enable customer acquisition and further app development and expansion with plans to launch a beta version of the app next month and a live version in the fall. They are also identifying other markets to expand like Cleveland, Austin, and Hoboken. 

With market research and networking taking him across D.C., Model has explored all areas of the city, so it’s not all work and no play. His favorite?  Model recommends Northwest D.C. near Logan Circle and Dupont Circle to experience a diverse and eclectic social scene.

“It’s been eye opening to have conversations with so many different groups of people,” Model said. “From bar managers and customers to investors and user experience experts, it has encouraged us to be adaptable and creative and ever evolving.”