KoKoChé is a mobile deals startup born in East Los Angeles aiming to bridge the gap for communities ignored by big social deal sites, specifically cash-centric small businesses. The app launched this summer in East LA, Koreatown, Echo Park and Silverlake, and is currently available for Android in Beta, and will launch for iPhone in early December.
KoKoChé — which comes from the word “ché” for “hey” — charges a monthly subscription to local businesses to send out an unlimited number of real time deals to app users. Business owners can also control, via the KoKoChé dashboard, what day, what price and the number of sales associated with a particular deal.
Unlike other deal apps, KoKoChé doesn’t charge a sales commission, and app users can select the deals they receive by filtering for category, location, proximity and cost. And the deals offered by KoKoChé, consequently, are different than you see with other deal apps. A few examples include 55% off 99-cent pupusas at El Zipote from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 17% off a caldo mixto dinner at El 7 Mares from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Depending on where the user is, or what kind of deal they are looking for, they can select options like “I’m hungry” or “I’m bored” and can receive notifications via SMS, email or push notifications on the app. Users can also search for specific deals, such as “spicy” or “boba tea.”
Founder Munir Jawed and CMO Adam Díaz focused on these communities in LA because, especially in Latino and Asian communities, there are many businesses that revolve around cash. Also, because these tend to be immigrant business owners, KoKoChé is having to invest in teaching them how to use technology in order to reap the benefits of it, Díaz said.
Often these are the businesses ignored by bigger deal companies, Díaz said, but KoKoChé is bridging the gap by translating everything in Spanish and Korean to make it accessible for more people. Businesses may not have a big enough budget or web presence to make Groupon work for them, Díaz said, or they may not accept credit cards, for example.
What’s more, Díaz said the cash economy is an untapped market, accounting for one-third of consumers in the U.S., or 60 million people.