Coupons Go Mobile with Scoutmob
Remember scissors? Those shiny things that fit between your thumb and forefinger that your grandmother once used to cut coupons on Sundays? Well just as the preponderance of coupon websites has made the dotted line and scissor go the way of the dodo, the rise of mobile couponing (and yes, it is a verb) may put your printer on permanent hiatus. And no, I’m not just referring to the mobile apps by sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, which offer you tree-friendly ways of presenting your discount bar codes. The future of coupons cuts out the swaths of deal emails altogether, relying instead on your phone’s GPS to serve up sweet offers wherever you’re wandering.
Case in point: Scoutmob, the funky Atlanta-based company which launched in Boston and a swath of other cities across the country this week. Their entire coupon model is mobile, and even better, all of their discount codes are free. No pre-buying; no printing out paper. You either go to their site and have a deal code sent to your phone via text, or you download the app, which lives happily in your phone and also provides you ample entertainment through its mustache photo booth. Even better: You can access all of the deals all of the time through the app, so if you don’t check the site for a few days, you don’t have to worry about missing out. I used the app in San Francisco this January (they launched in Atlanta, New York, and San Fran last year) and it was remarkably easy. And unlike Groupon, which typically takes a 50% cut of every deal, Scoutmob charges businesses $2 for each coupon used.
Scoutmob just completed their second VC funding round, to the tune of $1.5 million, with the help of Cambridge-based New Atlantic Ventures. New Atlantic’s co-founder, Thanasis Delistathis, said in a statement yesterday that he believes “[t]his is the future of digital deals. We invested in Scoutmob because of its novel approach to consumers and merchants alike. Consumers don’t have to commit upfront and can tap into a community that helps them discover their city.”
Scoutmob isn’t alone in the mobile coupon marketplace. Local startup SCVNGR recently introduced a tiered deal program called LevelUp, which has a GPS-enabled component. And Living Social is currently testing out Instant Deals in its hometown of D.C. Groupon, the behemoth of coupon sites, has openly acknowledged that mobile is where the company is headed next and is working on Groupon Now, which will allow companies to partner with Groupon to create short-term deals at a moment’s notice. So if lunch hour is a little light on Tuesday, the restaurateur can create a deal that will only be available for a few hours to those within their GPS range.
All of which is to say that the less I have to work to find a deal, the better. Have another mobile app that’s helping you save dough? Let me know. I’ll add it to my phone.