Clipless, a new mobile application built for Android first, is launching today as a tool to collect nearby offers and coupons, then alert users when they’re nearby a given deal. Currently, the company aggregates data from sources like Yipit and 8coupons, as well as deal providers like Yelp, Groupon, Amazon Local, Foursquare and LivingSocial. Consumers can also set location parameters and search for specific keywords if they’re looking for a particular type of deal.
CEO Michael Barnathan sees Clipless more along the lines of a personal assistant than a standard deal finder. “Apps are no longer simply responding to you, but predicting your needs and providing assistance before you need it – sometimes even before you know you need it,” he explains. “Siri and Google Now are great examples of this, but they’re simply the leading edge of a paradigm shift.” Clipless, he says, works with the end users, rather than forcing them to go out of their way or plan trips in advance.
Barnathan is a serial entrepreneur who previously founded Living Discoveries and The Polymath Foundation, and is now CTO at CoatChex, which pitched to TV’s Shark Tank in 2012, notably turning down Mark Cuban’s offer for a third of the company.
He admits that the deal space is pretty saturated today, but thinks it still lacks a useful way to deliver location-based deal alerts.
Since the app has to run in the background to send those alerts, Clipless has implemented battery-saving technologies through the use of Google Play Location Services and other optimizations, some of which he plans to file provisional patents on in the near future.
While for consumers, the app simply provides a way to find nearby deals with minimal effort, Clipless’ business model, which today is supported by affiliate commissions, will ultimately involve providing merchants with analytics on their deals on a subscription basis. For example, Barnathan explains, Clipless could tell a restaurant that their deal is heavily visited by those who also like jazz music. Further down the road, Clipless may enable users to share their check-ins with a business, to give them access to surprise deals, similar to Foursquare.
There are a number of location-based deal finders on the market today, including things like Shopular, Shop Alerts, Retail Me Not, Shopkick, and more, but Barnathan believes these are often limited to big box stores and shopping malls, and can also tend to be more like having circulars than having a personal assistant. “We aim to build one of the most comprehensive deal sources on the Internet, then continuously deliver [deals] to you on-location,” he says.
The company went Android-first because they received more interest from Android users when shopping the concept around, and because it was easier to write both the backend and frontend in the same language (Java), Barnathan says. However, the plan is to debut an iOS version in a couple of months.
Also coming soon is a deal with two large providers in Europe to expand outside the U.S., and more social features that will allow users to share deals with friends.
Clipless is free for Android users here on the Google Play Store.