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Calling The Shots

Funding your invention - one step at a time.

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This story appears in the April 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

In 1995, when Mike Mogadam was laid off from his third job infive years, he wasn't fazed. Understandably sick of thecorporate world, the San Francisco engineer used his spare time towork on an idea he'd been brewing for awhile. A year earlier, afriend had lost his bar business because of bartender theft andchallenged Mogadam to invent a system of liquor control for barsand restaurants. Intrigued, Mogadam used his engineering backgroundto create the Barmate, a wireless point-of-sale system for liquorcontrol. Now 32, he expects to hit $2 million in sales thisyear.

The Barmate, which is designed to prevent over-pouring or theftby bartenders, features a $125 spout that attaches to liquorbottles and pours a set amount of liquor into each drink. It alsosends a wireless signal to the cash register to record the sale,and to a central computer to help management keep tabs on nightlysales volume and liquor-inventory levels. A system for a busynightclub or bar could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

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