There are a ton of mixed opinions on whether using Groupon deals with your business are a good idea. Most small businesses are probably not only overwhelmed, but don’t have the time to wade through them. A group of local entrepreneurs has plans to change that.
The founders of Deal Umpire
wanted to give business owners a self-controlled platform to choose what deal site works best for them, without directly contacting a sales person working for the deal site. They can post their interest in featuring a deal, which then allows sites to bid against one another for the opportunity to feature it.
“It’s the transparency that makes this a necessary service,” said co-founder and CEO Ryan Leavitt. “Merchants are scared. We want to ease those fears.”
Leavitt, Karthik Narayanaswami, Jeff Glazer, and Venson Kuchipudi officially launched the business in June. Between them, they have a varied history of entrepreneurship. Leavitt says it was Glazer, who runs a medical spa in Skokie, who was swamped with offers daily.
“We all started talking about the inefficiencies for businesses. How can we make it better?” Leavitt said. “How can we spread market share between the two biggest players?”
Here’s how it’s broken down:
• Merchants post a deal and create an auction.
• Sites bid for the merchants business.
• Merchants choose the deal site that is the best fit. The winning deal site pays a $99 fee.
• The deal site and merchant connect through Deal Umpire to work out the details.
• Merchant's deal is featured on the deal site.
Leavitt says the company isn’t VC-backed at present and raised money from family and friends to get started, operating out of a small storefront in Rogers Park. They’re currently only offering the service in Chicago, with plans to expand.
It’s the mark of true entrepreneurs – take a business model and make it work for you, specifically.