Yoose, a Berlin-based mobile coupon startup, just launched into their public beta phase. The idea behind Yoose is to provide a multi-level distribution platform for Coupon publishers, such as local businesses or larger firms that plan to target specific campaigns with coupons.
However, it took the company quite a while to deliver its service – two years to be precise. After being a finalist at Seecamp in 2008, they were stuck into a closed beta up until today. This was largely due to the fact that the founders separated and the remaining staff carried on. Apart from this problem, the company had to struggle to acquire partners to distribute coupons that are being bought by advertisers.
Although coupons, and especially mobile coupons in the light of smartphone ubiquity, are a hot topic, Europe still lacks a “coupon mindset”, compared to the US. As Groupon, and ultimately also the Euro Clones such as CityDeal, effectively showed, these times are slowly changing and Europe is adapting a coupon culture. This is still lightyears away from the US, where coupons became a substantial business, both for customers and shops, but Europe is getting there.
Yoose acts in a crowded space, where a lot of still tiny startups, such as Austrian Seedcamp Mini Finalist Vooch, are competing among three crucial elements: 1. each other 2. potential clients and 3. distribution partners. Especially young companies are caught into the classic “chicken-egg-dilemma”. Acquiring advertisers that book coupons via their platforms demand a certain outreach, provided by partners and third party platforms. Distribution partners, in return, will only offer their reach in exchange for stark revenue shares.
Yoose itself has eventually managed to partner with some German publishers and is now trying to sell their product. Until now the startup sustained itself working as a service provider for various companies. A sometimes dangerous effect of when startups are in need of money and thus outsource their development ressources for quick cash. Other than that they received 25.000€ from an undisclosed early investor.