Digital couponing startup SavingStar has been on a roll. The company launched in beta in August 2010 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 led to a name change (SaveWave to SavingStar), which was followed up with an official launch in April of last year, backed by a $7 million Series B round from its existing investors, before adding Buddy Media Founder and CEO Michael Lazerow to its Board of Directors in June.
Then, in December, SavingStar crossed another milestone, announcing that it had surpassed 1 million active users in exactly 230 days, an achievement which its founders were quick to note it accomplished faster than bigs like Groupon, Twitter (over 2 years), or Foursquare (just over a year). It now has over 1.5 million active users. Why? Well, because the startup is really the only national, fully digital grocery savings service, available in more than than 110 grocery store and pharmacy chains across the country. Plus, since launching, over 150 brands (like Tropicana, Huggies, Campbell’s etc.) have been offering deals on SavingStar, with savings up to 50 percent off.
Today, the funding continues for SavingStar, as it announced that it has raised $9 million in Series C financing. The round was led by venture capital firm, DCM, with contributions from previous investors Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital, IA Ventures, Michael Lazerow, founder of Loyalty Management Group Sir Keith Mills.
The new infusion of capital brings the startup’s total investment to just under $19 million, and the team says that it will be using its latest financing to grow its user base, bring new retailers into the network, and chase down more brands.
In its effort to rid the world of paper coupons, SavingStar enables shoppers to save money on groceries by linking special offers found on SavingStar.com, or its iPhone and Android apps, to their grocery and drug store loyalty cards. For consumers, SavingStar is free, all they need to do is register their loyalty cards, so that when items are purchased using their cards, the value of each is deposited as savings on their SavingStar account. Once users accumulate more than $5 in savings, they can cash out, deposit the money into PayPal or their bank account, receive an Amazon gift card, or make a donation to charity.
For brands, SavingStar gives them access to its 1.5 million users, allowing them to promote their products for free, only charging them when one of their items is actually purchased. Brands can also get universal product code data from retailers in the startup’s network.
SavingStar is also announcing a new promotional service called “One or Many” that enables brands to serve shoppers with rewards for multiple purchases of their products over one (or many) grocery runs. Brands like Pepsi, Quaker and Kellogg’s have launched “One or Many” campaigns on their Facebook pages to let shoppers get cash back for purchasing multiple items.
For more on SavingStar, check ’em out at home here.