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five and fiftyA new startup called Five and Fifty wants to tackle one of the main complaints about group-buying supersite Groupon, which has a huge waiting list for businesses. It says it will allow merchants to send deals instantly to a much more targeted audience.

As an example, Five and Fifty founders Chris Routh and Ben Tyson talked about a cupcake shop in San Francisco’s South of Market district. (The two were on-stage at today’s Launch conference in San Francisco, launching their company.) If, near the end of the day, the store owner wants to get rid of the rest of her cupcakes, they said, “she sure as hell isn’t going to use Groupon”, because there’s no way she could get an offer onto the site in time.

Instead, the owner could create an offer on the Five and Fifty website, and it would be sent out as an SMS text message to the phones of users who said they’re interested in that type of deal. The company is called Five and Fifty because of the restriction that it places on deals — they can only last for five hours and must be at least 50 percent off regular prices.

Of course, the idea of taking on Groupon isn’t exactly new — in fact, Routh and Tyson directly addressed the concern that they’re just another Groupon clone. One of the differentiators, they said, is that Five and Fifty doesn’t take a percentage of sales. Instead, businesses just pay a flat fee based on the number of coupons they’re sending out. They also emphasized the idea that rather than sending out coupons to a general audience, they’re trying to targeting those deals to audiences based on their interests.

Another way for businesses to share details is via their Facebook Page or their Twitter account, but a Five and Fifty offer is more valuable, Routh and Tyson said, because it’s allowing businesses to reach a new audience.

The service is launching in Kansas City (where the company is based) and San Francisco. It sounds like the company is self-funded.


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