San Mateo, California-based Mobile Spinach (www.mobilespinach.com) is an integrated mobile commerce and group-buying platform that provides users with virtual discount coupons that can be redeemed at participating local merchants. The service takes the form of a mobile website that features the look and feel of a native app, and so works on all available smartphone platforms. Consumers use the mobile site on their mobile phones to purchase a discounted group buy offer – or through a third party white label site such as CitySearch, Motorola, and Tapjoy – and receive Mobile Spinach vouchers directly in their mobile wallet. This makes redemption quick and convenient, without the hassle of showing printed emails or other methods employed by traditional group-buying sites.
“Our model is different from any type of ‘daily deal‘ site because we give customers exactly what they want instantaneously,” says John Vitti, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Mobile Spinach. “If the customer decides they want Thai food for lunch today, we can provide a discounted offer for a well-regarded Thai restaurant in their area. The customer gets to save money, and the merchant is able to attract a local customer at minimal expense.”
And if one of the biggest problems associated with the cost of running a group-buying site is the need for a large sales force, Mobile Spinach eliminates that altogether by utilizing a proprietary automated system to identify and sign-up prospective merchants instead. “We use our own proprietary methods to find quality merchants and then suggest a number of consumers that can purchase a specific Mobile Spinach offer,” explains Vitti. “This prevents a merchant from becoming overwhelmed by more offers than they can reasonably handle, which might result in negative consumer sentiment toward the brand. Our service allows merchants to build a loyal customer base over time, instead of attracting bargain-seeking consumers in a one-time burst.”
Mobile Spinach was founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs John Vitti, Antonio Vitti, and Steve Lewis. It closed a US$1 million round of venture capital funding in January 2011 that came from multiple sources including Blumberg Capital, Quest Venture Partners, LaunchCapital, and Transmedia Capital.