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The days of clipping coupons from newspapers — and spending 20 minutes in a store checkout line rummaging through dozens of bits of paper to find said coupons — are over.
Mobile apps like Shopular are making coupon-clipping obsolete by notifying shoppers of personalized sales and coupons when they are near a store. And Shopular has just raised $6.4 million from Sequoia for its app.
“A vast majority of shopping is still done in retail stores, and despite carrying a supercomputer in our pockets, that experience hasn’t changed,” founder Navneet Loiwal told VentureBeat. “It sucks for both consumers and retailers, and we believe there has to be a better way.”
People are constantly on their phones, and retailers want to take advantage of this by offering targeted deals that can lure shoppers inside their stores.
Shopular scrapes deals that retailers are already offering through their website, social channels, and e-mail campaigns. The app is location-aware and runs in the background, so when you go near a store with available coupons, the app will ping you with an offer you hopefully can’t refuse.
Loiwal said this helps stores increase foot traffic and connect with shoppers at the “opportune moment,” and it ensures shoppers don’t miss out on savings.
The company works with 40,000 store locations around the country, with a major presence in malls and big-box retailers.
Loiwal and cofounder Tommy Tsai were early engineers at Shopkick, a company that rewards users for walking into stores. Shopkick connects to a device installed in the store to recognize your presence and then delivers a personalized reward to your mobile phone.
Tsai and Loiwal saw a greater opportunity to drive consumer spending with coupons rather than rewards, so they left to found Shopular.
The startup participated in Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class and is now the highest rated app in its category, with more than 10,000 reviews. Y Combinator and angel investors contributed to its seed round.
Sequoia Capital led this first round of institutional funding. The capital will be used to accelerate product development, grow sales and marketing, and expand the team.
Shopular is based in Menlo Park, Calif.
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