Talking Small Biz: This company was a snap to start up

Posted: January 04, 2013

T ED MANN, 35, of Haddonfield, is founder and CEO of start-up SnipSnap, which has four employees and operates from an old industrial building on 8th Street near Callowhill, just north of Chinatown. With financial backers including Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin, a mobile app was launched in May. It lets people clip and use coupons on their iPhones. Mann, a Penn grad, has raised $1 million for his company.

Q: So how did you come up with the idea for SnipSnap?

A: I was working for Gannett in Web and mobile strategy and got enamored of mobile coupons. I got a coupon I took a picture of on my iPhone. The first place I tried it was Babies R Us. When I got to checkout, I said, "I don't have my coupon, but I took a picture of it. Can you scan it?" Once I redeemed one and somebody asked me, "What's that app? I want that app." I said to myself: What if there was an app, and what would it do?

Q: And then you got serious?

A: I mocked up the app, found a couple of mobile developers and applied to DreamIt Ventures [for early seed funding]. I got accepted and quit my job at Gannett. We built the app and it took off like a rocket. We got featured on the front of the app store. Now we've got 400,000 users, about half of whom launch the app every week.

Q: Tell me about the name.

A: Snip the coupon, snap the picture. It's that simple.

Q: What does the app allow you to do?

A: It's like a virtual coupon wallet. We give you a clean digital version of the bar code, expiration date and promo code that can be scanned or keyed in at checkout. We've added a new feature that allows users to share coupons with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Q: So can I use SnipSnap with manufacturer coupons that come on the backs of receipts at grocery stores?

A: Those coupons typically require the physical paper to redeem. We're working on a method that will let you redeem them paperlessly, but it's not live yet.

Q: How does the biz model work?

A: We make money by giving retailers the tools to target you with offers, acquire new customers and take existing customers and convert them better. We charge either a $1 flat fee every time a coupon is presented or roughly 5 percent of the transaction when a customer converts a coupon into a purchase. Our app is very effective at converting people in-store, getting you to make a purchase.

Q: What's next for SnipSnap?

A: We're going to be releasing Android in the next couple of weeks, which should double the user base.

Q: Who are your primary users?

A: Women, age 20 to 40, moms. They're the people who use coupons the most. About 75 percent of our users are women. That said, guys I know who never couponed now use our app because it's so easy.


Phone: 215-854-2656

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

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