Media & Entertainment

Aiming To Be The ‘Groupon Of Groceries’, SavingStar Passes 1 Million Users In Under A Year

Comment

It’s been a pretty good ride so far for digital couponing startup SavingStar. The company launched its beta last August behind $2.3 million in financing from Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital, and Founder Collective, with participation from angel investors like Ron Conway.

The investment saw the digital coupon startup change its name from SaveWave to SavingStar, which it followed up with its official launch in April of this year, backed again by an impressive round, this time $7 million in series B financing from its existing investors, before adding Buddy Media Founder and CEO Michael Lazerow to its Board of Directors in June.

With nearly $10 million in funding and a strong leadership team in tow, SavingStar today added another milestone, announcing that it has surpassed 1 million active users in exactly 230 days, an achievement which its founders are quick to note it made faster than bigs like Groupon, Twitter (over 2 years), or Foursquare (just over a year). What’s more, since launching, over 100 brands, like Tropicana, Huggies, Cambell’s etc. have offered deals on SavingStar, with savings up to 50 percent off. But, cheerleading aside, what is it about this company that attracted this sizable early investment and led to this strong growth?

SavingStar fancies itself — in the style of the times — as the “Groupon for groceries”, or, simply put, a mainstream service that targets the world’s every day digital coupon clippers in an effort to make it easy for them to save money at local grocery stores.

Picking up where many have said that Groupon leaves off, the startup recently launched a loyalty offer that allows users who buy a certain item multiple times at different locations to receive additional cashback on their purchases. This is on top of the fact that SavingStar provides exclusive deals on name brand grocery products, which are linked to shoppers’ loyalty cards at more than 100 grocery and drug store chains, which enable users to save without having to clip or print paper coupons.

Considering consumers spend over $550 billion annually on groceries, thousands of consumer packaged goods vie for customer attention, and newspaper coupon distribution on the decline, SavingStar thinks that its poised to take advantage of customer attention turning to web and mobile-based services not only for deals, but for digital coupons.

The benefit of its model for brands is that brands can promote their products to SavingStar’s audience for free, and the company only charges when a product is actually purchased. It also receives universal product code data from retailers in its network, which then enables it to match offers activated by consumers with in-store purchases linked to shoppers’ loyalty cards — in an effort to help brands close the so-called “redemption loop”.

On the flip side, for consumers, SavingStar is free to use; all shoppers need to do is register their grocery and drug loyalty cards on SavingStar.com or on the company’s iPhone or Android apps. The service then links the offers to their registered cards so that when they purchase items and use their cards, the value of each is deposited as savings into their SavingStar account, rather than at checkout. Once they accumulate more than $5 in savings, users can cash out with a direct deposit into their PayPal or bank accounts, receive an Amazon gift card, or make a donation to charity.

This is where SavingStar believes it can differentiate its service from other eCoupon networks, in that it links offers users select to all of their registered loyalty cards at the same time, as well as enabling users to take advantage of mobile offers. According to SavingStar Head of Marketing Josh Grossman, no other grocery-focused digital coupon companies can make the same claim on a national basis. (SavingStar works with 100+ retail chains nationally, and is the only service that works with loyalty cards from drugstores like CVS and Rite Aid.)

With so much activity in the daily deal and group buying space, it’s great to see a young startup actually approaching digital coupons, a relatively old business in comparison, with a simple yet innovative approach — one that appeals to everyday shoppers. SavingStar is a startup to keep your eye on, as it will be interesting to see if it can capitalize on strong early growth.

For more on the company, check ’em out at home here.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo