100,000 downloads in 48 hours. These were the astonishing numbers Wilmington based tech startup Next Glass experienced during their launch this year on Nov. 20th. “It made for a great launch party,” said CEO and founder, Kurt Taylor.

Next Glass is a mobile app that uses science and software to predict whether or not you will enjoy any bottle of wine or beer. Combining the chemistry of a person’s taste preferences with machine learning, users simply point and scan any label to receive their personalized score indicating how much they will like what’s inside. (The app is free to download on both iOS and Android devices in the App Store and Google Play). Despite the notable buzz Next Glass was creating leading up to launch, the boom in downloads during their first 48 hours exceeded all expectations-even their own.

So, how did they do it? Jim Roberts and the Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) set out to answer just that.

Inside Next Glass: Recent WRAL TechWire coverage:

  • Realty check: Next Glass, its CEO brace as app goes live
  • Toast! Next Glass already delivering tasteful growth

Earlier this week, key players of the Next Glass marketing team assembled at the CIE along with 140 of Wilmington’s best and brightest business owners, entrepreneurs, and curious minds, to make up the center’s biggest event to date.


With a power-packed panel, and a just plain packed audience, the event kicked off as the speakers introduced themselves before diving right into their presentation.


“This does a great job in showing what it takes to achieve that spike in downloads,” explained Curtin. “Promoting, testing and tweaking really fueled our momentum pre-launch. If you look at where we are today, you’ll see that all components of our strategy are hard at work. When you’re about to take a leap of calculated faith, you better be sure you get a running start, are equipped for takeoff, and the right fuel to go the distance.”

“We all want that hockey stick curve (referencing the steep incline of Downloads etc. on the right), but nobody wants the handle (the flat portion leading up to the curve),” concluded Harcus.

But as it turns out, it’s all about the handle. The panelists went on to describe the epic amounts of planning, testing, and refining that took place months, even a year, prior to launch.

“With the 100,000 downloads happening so fast, it’s easy to think that it all happened overnight, but it’s the complete opposite,” said Deeley.

The group then went into the final part of their presentation and shared these insights with the crowd:

100,000 Downloads in 48 Hours: 5 Faithful Steps That Made it Happen

1. Find Your North Star (primary goal)
2. Draft an All-Star Team
3. Plan Ahead (it’s going to be wrong)
4. Test, Measure, Evolve
5. Invest in What’s Important


“Find a common goal, and get the whole team going for it,” said Mottram, speaking on step one. “For Next Glass, that’s app downloads. At For The Win, it’s unique visitors to the site, but the same principle applies. Whether it’s content creation or social media or email marketing or whatever, everyone’s effort is geared towards that common goal.”

The team collaborated in their responses for the last four steps, with the overall theme echoing the absolute need to plan ahead, start early, and adapt as you go, because things aren’t always going to happen the way you want. All characteristics of which their company culture reflects, as the team shared with us the events of launch morning when the app was unable to download due to an unexpected mishap with the App Store servers.

“My heart was in my stomach,” said Harcus, as he laughs about it now. “All this planning, all this work, and it might fall apart because of something we can’t control!”

Thankfully, the app went live in time for eager users to flood the App Store and take Next Glass to the #1 spot of Food & Drink, get hand selected as one of Apple’s Best New Apps, and result in 100,000 downloads in 48 hours. The app now stands with 237,000 downloads and 3.25 million ratings. It’s safe to say that Next Glass has a solid grip on the handle, and they won’t stop shooting for the goal anytime soon.