Deals

Show me the Honey! E-commerce startup sweetens online shopping by saving you money

Honey doesn’t just make tea better, it also helps you save money on shopping.

Honey is a Chrome extension that surfs the web for discounts when you are checking out of an online store. Today, the startup announced it has closed a seed round of an undisclosed six-figure amount from angel investors.

In the days of yore, budget-conscious shoppers would go through newspapers to clip coupons before taking a trip to the store. People are buying online now more than ever; however, Hudson said this shift is both “a blessing and a curse” for consumers, as “the convenience of online shopping is accompanied by the paradox of choice.” The Internet has hundreds of thousands of merchants selling an endless array of products. Prices fluctuate, and there is always the lingering fear, once you hit checkout, that you could have held out for a better deal.

Honey’s mission is to eliminate this fear by helping you find the best deal on a product you have selected.

“Honey was created to solve a problem that we have all been dealing with for the past 10-15 years,” said founder Ryan Hudson in an email. “Honey is unique because of its design philosophy — the product was designed to add value when users need it most. We loved the idea of creating a shopping companion that helped you only when you needed it, which is very different than most plug-ins, which are often ever-present.”

Most e-checkouts ask users if they have a promo code. More often than not, the answer is no. Honey places a “Find Savings” button on the checkout page of hundreds of online shops. Clicking on the button will automatically find and apply coupons, without redirecting you away from the original site. It is coupon clipping for the Internet era.

Hudson earned his MBA from MIT and formerly worked as a venture capitalist. His cofounder, George Ruan, has worked for five startups, three which had exits. They “accidentally” launched Honey around Thanksgiving, after someone they hired to help bug test the technology posted it on Reddit. Honey now has over 200,000 users and works with over 100 sites, including big brands like Amazon.com, BestBuy, Macy’s, Lowes, Target, and Walgreens.

Honey is by no means the only coupon clipping tool out there. Google recently announced Zavers, a digital coupon based on your phone number,  as well as Coupons at Checkout, which works in multiple browsers and 100,000 online retailers, and there are others like RetailMeNot, Coupon Tweet, Coupon Gravy, and KT Coupon that offer some variation on the same principal. With so much saturation, Honey has a battle ahead of it to catch customers, retail partners, and investors.

Honey is based in Pasadena, California and has 10 employees, including an engineering team with experience working at Apple and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Coupons are almost as cool as rockets. Almost.

Photo Credit: Honey

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