Startup NimbleCommerce is officially launching today, but founder and chief executive Prashant Nedungadi said the company, which has been working in stealth mode for the past year and half, has already signed up more than 25 large newspapers and business directories for its group-buying service.
NimbleCommerce helps those publications tap into the excitement around group buying, where discounts are only available for a limited time and only take effect if enough people sign up. The Santa Clara, Calif., company enables publishers to build deal sections into their websites, allowing them, in effect, to create their own version of the popular service Groupon.
This is a way for newspapers to reclaim some of the revenue they lost when their classified sections were undercut by services like Craigslist, Nedungadi said.
“By running national banner ads, they’re going in the wrong direction,” he said. “One way of getting back to the basics of local users and local service providers is by offering group buying.”
There are other companies promising this kind of service, including TownHog, which partnered with the San Francisco Chronicle. But Nedungadi said competitors typically focus on “the lower end,” in contrast with the large organizations and big brand names that NimbleCommerce supports. He also said NimbleCommerce has done the best job at building a complete product that manages “the entire lifecycle of a deal” for publications that might have “hundreds of sales reps logged into the system.”
Current customers include Philly.com (the website of the Philadelphia Inquirer) and YellowPages Canada.
Before I came to VentureBeat, I actually wrote for a small-town newspaper, so I was curious if NimbleCommerce might offer a product for smaller publications. Nedungadi said it’s really designed for bigger companies, although he wants to explore more opportunities with publications that focus on a specific topic, such as golf. The company also plans to explore ways to syndicate deals between different publications.
I’ve asked NimbleCommerce whether it has raised any funding and will update if I hear back. (Update: The company says it has raised $4.7 million from SK Telecom.)
[top image via Flickr/Alex Barth]