Ashley Behnke has a hell of an eye. Before founding her new Austin startup, Spot Loc8r, Behnke was using her talent to help market and promote a small fashion brand on social media.
It was working in this role that she made an important discovery. “I recognized a trend,” says Behnke, “that anytime I posted a picture in front of a graffiti wall, I'd have higher engagement and multiple comments asking, ‘Where can I find it?’ and, ‘What is the address?’ Little did they know I was spending hours hunting down locations, and the process was grueling.”
Behnke spent months as an Instagram detective. She ferreted out locations for her photoshoots by following hashtags down virtual rabbit holes, combing through user comments and blog posts, and scrolling through feed after feed of endless artful selfies.
That’s when she had her lightbulb moment. “I should create a mobile app,” she thought, “to help content creators find beautiful places to create content.” Just like that, the idea for Spot Loc8r was born.
“Through our app, you can find cool, quirky, unique, modern, and colorful locations in Austin, all in one spot," explain Behnke. "You can also contribute locations.”
As Behnke begins beta testing in Austin, she identifies the mission of Spot Loc8r as two-fold. First, she wants to take the legwork out of finding beautiful locations for photoshoots. Rather than spending their days scrolling and searching, Behnke wants creatives and influencers to “thrive doing what they love instead of wasting hours of valuable time.”
Second, Behnke has a real passion for Austin, its landscapes, its local businesses, and its unique public art and murals. She believes in an aesthetic philosophy, that art and beauty are egalitarian and ought to be accessible to everyone. Further, by showcasing murals, architecture, and stunning interior spaces around the Capital City, she hopes Spot Loc8r will help widen the audience for the artists and designers whose work the app features.
Behnke thinks some of the best locations to create beautiful content are found at many of Austin’s restaurants. “Gone are the days when a new [restaurant] can easily thrive without thinking about how the concept will be experienced and shared on social media,” she says. Behnke hopes Spot Loc8r can capitalize on the efforts of those designers while helping both influencers and the restaurants themselves to thrive.
Among Behnke’s favorite restaurants to take a selfie or snap some #foodporn are Sour Duck, Better Half, Suerte, Bird Bird Biscuit, and Native Hostel, to name just a few. As more and more new restaurants open around Austin, designed with an eye toward social media prominence, Spot Loc8r is an app primed to aid both users and restaurants “Dine and Instagram Shine!”
Spot Loc8r is currently in beta testing and will launch in Austin within the next six to eight weeks. Austinites interested in joining the testing phase can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Once the app is ready for general release, Spot Loc8r will roll out into Dallas and Houston before moving to cities on the West Coast.