Look out Groupon clones, here come the celebrities

Goodypass, a new ‘flash offers’ startup which will offer members goods at cut down prices, looks to be more than just another Groupon clone. If you think about it, most offers sites are startups with no pre-existing brand or audience. The only thing they have to go on is the attractiveness of their offers.

But Goodypass heralds a new wave. It’s fronted by UK breakfast TV star Kate Garraway and backed by investor Kite Ventures. Edward Shenderovich, a Russian-born internet entrepreneur raised in California, is providing seed capital thorough Kite, which has also backed AlterGeo.ru, a Russian social networking site and SponsorPay.com in the past.

Goodypass wil have two main advantages as I see it: access to celebrities to promote the offers and the ‘brand values’ of each celebrity. And crucially, a pre-existing audience for those celebs who will be almost certain to push the offers out through social media.

For instance, Garraway herself only joined Twitter on 15 June this year but already has over 8,000 followers with no significant push. Her idea is that celebrities get freebies so why shouldn’t the general public. It’s a nice story but it also suits the site’s aim: use celebs to push product but in a socially authentic way. The site will also win brownie points with the public by donating 5% of all profits to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for kids.

We’re told that a full launch will happen in the autumn.

One sector that doesn’t get all this yet is the agents of the celebs who have yet to realise their clients could be doing well out of using their social profiles in this way.

Kate Garraway told TechCrunch on email: “Celebrities should be embracing social media for all the obvious reasons, I’ve now realised that not doing so would be akin to not answering viewer’s letters in days gone by. But the great thing about goodypassis that it gives celebrities who aren’t sure how best to get online the support they need but also offers them a financial incentive to do so. The more active you are the more discounts and deals you can offer.”

In the meantime the site is signing other celebrities as part of its offering.

Groupon has delivered over 7 million deals to people in the USA and Europe and saved them early £200 million and is now valued at $1.35 billion. That was on the basis of no pre-existing audience or brand.

If you ask me, this whole sector of celebrity and social commerce is one to watch…