Waltham, Mass.-based SavingStar, which allows users to link to special grocery store savings via mobile devices, has raised $9 million in Series C financing led by venture firm DCM. Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital, IA Ventures also contributed to the round.
SavingStar, the only national fully digital grocery savings service, announced today that it has raised $9 million in Series C financing led by global venture capital firm DCM. SavingStar enables shoppers to save money on their groceries – without the need to clip or print paper coupons – by linking special offers found onSavingStar.com, or the company’s iPhone and Android apps, to their grocery and drug store loyalty cards. Since its launch in April 2011, 1.5 million people have joined SavingStar and more than 150 brands have run offers on the service. Joining DCM in the round are previous investors Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital, IA Ventures, board member and Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow, and Sir Keith Mills, founder of Loyalty Management Group. Tom Blaisdell, general partner at DCM, will join SavingStar’s board.
“We’re delighted to be working with Tom Blaisdell and a distinguished venture capital firm like DCM,” said David Rochon, CEO of SavingStar. “SavingStar is revolutionizing the grocery promotion industry by making it easy for brands to reward consumers for buying their products, and for shoppers to easily access and redeem those rewards digitally. This round of funding will help SavingStar expand our membership, bring new retailers into our network, and enable us to work with more brands.”
“In an increasingly digital world, paper based grocery promotions are ripe for disruption,” said Tom Blaisdell. “SavingStar is uniquely positioned to usher in a new way for CPGs to do business and leverage their marketing dollars, while helping consumers get additional value from their grocery purchases. We’re excited to partner with SavingStar.”
New “One or Many” Promotion Gives Shoppers Additional Savings
SavingStar’s funding comes as the company recently introduced a new promotional product on its service called “One or Many” – an offer type that enables brands to give shoppers a high value reward for multiple purchases of their products over one or many shopping trips and at one or many stores within SavingStar’s network of over 110 retail banners. With 24,000 stores in all 50 states, SavingStar’s network is roughly four times larger than any other service offering fully digital savings. Pepsico’s Diet Pepsi®, Pepsi Max® Quaker® and Kellogg’s® Special K® are brands that have launched “One or Many” on their Facebook fan page and SavingStar.com. For example, from February 21 through March 21 shoppers receive $5 back when spending $20 on any Kellogg’s® Special K® products over any number of shopping trips. This promotion is powered by SavingStar’s unique ability to track purchases based on UPC level data. Rather than being given at checkout, all SavingStar rewards are deposited into users’ SavingStar accounts, which can then be cashed out with a transfer to their bank or PayPal account, converted to an Amazon gift card or donated to the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization, American Forests, to help plant trees.
“SavingStar is always looking to bring more value to our service,” said David Rochon. “Our new ‘One or Many’ offer gives brands a more efficient way to offer rewards for purchases over an extended period of time without the cost and hassle of traditional programs where shoppers manually type in barcodes on a company’s website to keep track of their purchases. Our solution makes it effortless for both consumers and CPGs.”
In 2011, CPGs offered $470 Billion in coupon value to consumers, an increase of 12.2% over 2010 according to NCH Coupon Facts. During 2011, 3.5 billion grocery couponswere redeemed, up 6.1% from 2010, and 34.6% since 2007.
SavingStar is the first and only national, fully digital, grocery savings service, available for free at Savingstar.com and on iPhone® and Android® mobile apps. The company enables consumers to choose where they shop and how they save. Redeemable at over 24,000 stores, SavingStar’s offers are linked to shoppers’ grocery and drug store loyalty cards and provide a more convenient and eco-friendly way to save on groceries than paper coupons. SavingStar automatically adds the value of each offer redeemed into users’ SavingStar accounts, enabling them to pick their payout from cash back to gift cards to charity donations. SavingStar also powers white-labeled grocery savings services, including Upromise and Cartera Commerce. SavingStar is backed by DCM, Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital, IA Ventures, and other investors. The company is based in Waltham, MA.
DCM is an early stage venture capital firm that has been helping entrepreneurs build world-class technology companies since 1996. The firm’s partners manage funds totaling over US $2 billion, and have made investments in more than 140 technology companies across the United States and Asia. With offices in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Tokyo, DCM provides hands-on operational guidance and a vast network of business and financial resources to its portfolio companies globally. DCM has backed industry leading companies such as 51job (NASDAQ:JOBS), About.com (acquired by The New York Times Co.), Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), eDreams (acquired by TA), Foundry Networks (NASDAQ: FDRY), Kabu.com (TSE Main: 8703), Sling Media (acquired by EchoStar), SMIC (NYSE: SMI), and VanceInfo (NYSE: VIT), as well as upcoming startups such as Bridgelux, Happy Elements, Mbaobao, PapayaMobile, RockYou, Sandforce, Trion Worlds, Ustream, and Vipshop. Recent exits include four new China-based IPOs: Renren (NYSE:RENN), BitAuto Holdings (NYSE: BITA), Dangdang Inc. (NYSE: DANG), and Shanghai Luxin (SZSE: 002565) and four US-based exits: Force10 (Acquired by Dell), Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) and PGP (acquired by Symantec), and Sandforce (acquired by LSI).