Friends and family,
With the holidays and end of year coming up I thought timing would be right to let you know what we have been up to lately, professionally that is.
I wanted to tell you all about a new venture that my business partner Chris Breshears and I began. We created CouponSwapper.com as a proof of concept in which we had three main goals. First that we can tie into networks and pull deals and coupons from thousands of stores. Second, that we can create a scalable platform using cloud servers, Django, python, Postgres and other technologies allowing us to scale quickly. Third, create an API allowing us to iterate future features faster.
But it has to be something that we would use, our friends would use, our parents would use, and useful to all. The standard sites with basic search or that fill your inbox with emails just do not get anyone excited, they have a purpose but could be so much more.
We are making shopping social, the best part of shopping, the part we all love … saving money and getting great deals! I talk about it with friends, they discuss it with me, my wife and I discuss the deals we got, and so on. What is the best part of saving money? Talking about it. And what is yet another reward of saving money? Sharing the deal with others.
How are we providing that service? What are we in the middle of building? A new site redesign with sharing functionality that extends to your phone with an application for discovering the best deals online and at your local stores and then sharing with others. We all win. It is called Social Commerce.
Here is a little background of what social commerce is and why are we so excited. Social commerce is defined by Wikipedia as “.. a subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services.” Mashable defined 7 different types of social commerce in their article The Seven Species of Social Commerce.
There are many types of businesses that may fit into the Social Commerce definition yet they are very different. On the one hand you have interaction between individuals and a company much like a GroupOn model where GroupOn finds the deals and presents them to you. First they pushed them and now they are striving to become a destination. They use social media to disseminate deals and drive response. However it is not a true person to person conversation much like Twitter is person to person, or Facebook is person to person.
There is also “onsite social commerce” defined as that which happens on the retailers website and “offsite social commerce” as that which happens online but not at the retailers site.
We believe true Social Commerce has two additional and important components:
First – true social commerce is a conversation between individuals, and
Second – offsite has yet another component which is brick and mortar social commerce, the idea that with all our mobile devices we can share and discover shopping deals, experiences, and coupons while we are at a physical store, with each other.
It is because of the two above components that we are in development finalizing our answer to true social commerce. A platform that gets out of the way and allows the conversation to be between individuals, you and your friends, family, and those that are great at finding deals. This allows you to find local deals at brick and mortar stores as well as deals online, then share the deals you have found. While we have seen this in forums for years, and on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, those are not conducive for the one stop discovery and sharing of deals.
While we (by the way “we” in this article when it comes to programming means “Chris”) are completing the new site redesign and release of our social commerce application, we want to go to market faster.
So we decided to raise capital. We have built a solid foundation and are in the middle of implementing our new site design and social commerce application. A quick first round will bring us to market faster with our new site design and mobile social commerce application.
Follow our progress, use Coupon Swapper, and spread our service throughout your favorite social network when you see our deals, coupons, and corporate posts.
Follow our progress raising capital.
We are Raising $250,000 on AngelList.
Every startup I have been involved in has been an incredible journey. This one may just be the finest yet.