If you have purchased tickets to a show in Dallas lately, you may have noticed a new payment option: Bravo. Some local venues, such as Three Links, are partnering with the service online.
Bravo allows users to pay for goods and services without sharing personal information and without any fees. It comes in handy when you don't have cash but need to tip your bartender, valet attendant, tour guide, stylist or barber, or even pay cover at a music venue.
Husband and wife duo Maria del Carmen Luna and Hector Rodriguez-Luna co-founded Bravo. Maria serves as chief executive officer, and Hector is chief operating officer.
“As we move to an increasingly cashless society, it’s getting more difficult to pay for things when there's no credit card machine available,” Maria tells the Observer. “We realized that the market was lacking a solution where strangers could connect and pay without necessarily having to exchange personal information such as email address, bank account or phone numbers.”
The Lunas say that partnering with places such as Three Links, as well as musicians and service industry providers, has been key to their growth. When Madonna's longtime guitarist Monte Pittman played Three Links last month, he offered fans a discount through Bravo.
“[Pittman] loves the fact that his fans can support his career, connect with him one on one and message him via Bravo as well — without having to exchange his private information to connect,” Maria says.
The Lunas appeared on season nine of ABC’s Shark Tank to pitch their service to the sharks and guest Alex Rodriguez.
“All the sharks are inspiring and fun to be around,” Maria says. "[It was] an amazing experience, not only as entrepreneurs but also as simply human beings, and we are very thankful for this platform. We received so many encouraging messages from all over the world, and that in itself is a treasure.”
Lori Greiner and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban offered Maria and Hector $150,000 for 15 percent of the company. The Lunas countered and secured $150,000 for 10 percent of the company, with 4 percent in advisory shares for Greiner and Cuban.
Since the show, Bravo won the audience choice award at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. TCDisrupt also named it one of the top 20 most fascinating iOS apps.
“It is so rewarding when we think of all the ways we are financially empowering people that work so hard for their tips,” Maria says. “We envision a society where we can all empower others by simply saying, ‘Bravo! I love and appreciate what you do.’”
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.