Koopedia, which sounds like an early edition of the Mario Brother’s Encyclopedia, is actually a daily deals site with a twist. Business owners, instead of entering into a draconian deal with the site, pay $19 per month to post as many deals as they like. They can also pay $9 for a week of deals or $199 for the year. Then, when customers buy they deal, they pay $1 to Koopedia and then pay the remainder to the merchant direction. The merchants control the deals entirely and the site makes its money through these small fees and not a commission.
Founded by two native Georgians, CB Smithwick and Thomas Wright, the site “creates a fairly pure free market environment where the best and brightest end up on top because of the level playing field.” Smithwick lives outside of Atlanta and is looking “to stop Groupon and the like from screwing small business owners.” Wright is a “phenomenal basketball player that turned down an opportunity to further his athletic career to create Koopedia.”
The site is entirely bootstrapped, a claim that Smithwick makes with pride.
“I am the main funding source for Koopedia as it is today. I have been offered an investment of $250,000 from an angel group/individual in Atlanta, but turned it down because I refuse to dilute the mission and goal of Koopedia by allowing outside influence motivated by greed – the very thing we are trying to fight,” he said.
So far most of their traction has been local. They currently have 3,000 active subscribers and 150 merchants. They are attempting to patent their $1 model. Merchants also get a “page” on Koopedia where their social media information can life and customers can post reviews of deals. Smithwick believes that the Koopedia way will also help people who may be dissuaded by high daily deal prices.
I’m fairly bearish on daily deals in the first place – I think the novelty is wearing thin – but there is still an massive untapped market that may have ignored them as being too expensive or not interesting or local enough.
“Say, for example, John and Susie’s anniversary is coming up in two week and John finds a great deal for a getaway on a deal site,” he said. “He doesn’t get paid until next week, but the deal ends tomorrow. He can’t afford to pay for it all up front so he misses the deal. With Koopedia, he can pay the $1 and get the deal because he pays the business directly, which he will now be able to because he received his paycheck. This results in more sales for the business and attraction of untapped consumers due to the new opportunity.”
The fiery Smithwick (and his basketball-playing partner) are ready to take on the big guys from their underground lair in deepest Georgia. It’s nice to see the pair so fired up.
“We are not ‘big business’ owned or driven in any manner… and never will be,” said Smithwick. “We wanted to set things straight with the daily deal leaches and stop them from robbing business owners blind.”