Who doesn’t like to save a little cash, especially on something you are already interested in purchasing. If you’re like me, this is how you end up subscribed to different services for daily deals. The problem is that most of the time the offers aren’t relevant.
This is where Urban Savers and the product GroupText comes in, founded by developer and serial entrepreneur Craig Dixon. We had a chance to talk with Craig about how he’s trying to make the deals process a little more precise for city-dwellers like us and his group SMS app for businesses.
What is Urban Savers?
Urban Savers is a service focused on catering to the specific needs and sensibilities of todays urban consumers. In contrast to some similar services that concentrate on offering as broad an array of deals as possible to appeal to their combined 145 million subscribers, Urban Savers is focused on providing highly targeted offers that appeal to today’s urban consumer. Today we have a deals platform, but realize merchants need more than offering discounts. They want to engage with consumers.
How does your service implement Twilio?
We are building out a loyalty program for merchants and using the Twilio APIs for SMS communication. We will allow consumers the ability to opt-in to mailing lists (both email and mobile) by texting contact information to our Twilio number or short code.
Sample use case: User is at a restaurant. User sees our placard the states “Text your email address + TGIF to 54344 to receive unique offers from TGI +Fridays.” A user then verifies the level of mailing list subscription – web and/or mobile. At that point the user is entered into a database for that merchant. From a merchant’s standpoint, they can export the data to an existing mailing list package, send emails or text messages to users, and see demographic data of the mailing list.
What was the inspiration behind Urban Savers?
Urban Savers was started after analyzing urban market spend and commerce offerings for this market segment. In 2010, the buying power of African-Americans and Hispanics was over $1.8 trillion. It is expected to grow at a reasonable clip going forward. We realized that there wasn’t a site that targeted deals to urban consumers. While some cultural and religious groups have sites (e.g., jdeals, daily hookup, etc.), we saw Urban Savers as a product to fill the gap for urban consumers.
You are a developer and an avid entrepreneur, what is your background?
I started coding in my early teens and studied Computer Science while in college at Boston University. I went to work on Wall Street and joined Merrill Lynch, through their Technical Leadership Program. I spent four years as a developer at Merrill and worked on a myriad of applications. Since then I have developed a few applications for clients as a consultant.
As an entrepreneur I’ve been involved in a few ventures. Most notably I was a co-founder in ProfileLinker. Profilelinker was a social network aggregation service. My wife and I had an event planning startup, Planaganza, that was a finalist in the DC’s Digital Launchbox. Also, I’ve worked at a late stage start up, BillMeLater, that was acquired by eBay/PayPal. Lastly, I focused on Entrepreneurship while getting an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and was a founding board member of the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network in Washington, DC.
What partners are you working with now?
Currently we are working with the following companies – Twilio, Adility, and CardSpring. Additionally, we have worked with a DC-based agency, OA Agency, to ensure that our product is relevant to the urban market.
Recently we started working with great customers like the premier Nike sponsored Basketball Summer League – The George Goodman
League , the Mars Reel film production company and several chapters of a national fraternity.
What’s Next for Urban Savers?
We originally launched a deals offering at Urban Savers, but recently we have expanded our offering and will offer text based communication for merchants to connect with consumers via GroupText. This allows merchants and organizations to offer deals on Urban Savers. Now merchants will acquire users and send promotions or deals to their consumers. Deals can be loaded to a credit card or redeemed via text and/or a voucher. Our text based service will be live by late summer. All merchant related products can be found here.
Thank you Craig! Looking forward to seeing Urban Savers and GroupText Grow.