Three Yahoo Vets Seek to Build New Commerce Network Called ChoozOn
There’s no limit to the number of Groupon clones and to the dozens of other loyalty and rewards programs available.
What is limited is the amount of time consumers have to sift through them all. To that end, three Yahoo veterans are trying to de-clutter your inbox and organize all of the offers you may qualify for and package them up in one central location.
The network, which is only available today in a private alpha, is called ChoozOn. A public beta will be available this summer.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based company is founded by Nick Weir, Usama Fayyad and Hunter Madsen, who all worked together at Yahoo.
Weir, who is ChoozOn’s CEO, was Yahoo’s VP of Data Strategy; Madsen, who is the company’s CMO, established Yahoo’s product marketing unit of worldwide sales; and Fayyad, who is ChoozOn’s chairman and CTO, became Yahoo’s Chief Data Officer and EVP of Research and Strategic Data Solutions after selling his last start-up, DMX Group, to the search giant.
The founders self-funded the business for the first six months, and more recently raised a round from a group of angels. Fayyad’s not sharing how much the company has raised and declined to name the company’s investors.
To illustrate the company’s mission, Fayyad said ChoozOn is building a network that connect brands with customers, similarly to how Facebook connects friends and LinkedIn connects professionals. Think of it as a commerce network.
Through an online portal, consumers will be able to connect to their favorite stores and brands and product categories. They can also connect the service to their various loyalty programs, including airlines and hotels, so it knows all the discounts you may qualify for.
“The Internet has become a very confusing places for consumers,” Fayyad said. “What’s happening is that the consumer is overloaded with the amount of choice available.”
He said in order to buy anything today, a consumer must spend a half an hour doing research to find the best deal, and if you don’t, you feel guilty. “We built something that shows everything you qualify for, and things that are available through your loyalty memberships.”
There are already other companies cropping up to solve this problem. For instance, Points.com tracks your balances from your various loyalty programs. ChoozOn goes a step further by aggregating more things in one place, and giving consumers the opportunity to search for offers immediately available, or set alerts for upcoming offers of interest, like a trip to the Caribbean, or a new pair of boots.
ChoozOn aspires to aggregate deals from third-parties, but eventually they could create opportunities for brands to target users directly on their platform.
Fayyad said they are hoping to be the trusted partner for consumers, who are constantly being tracked and measured by multiple players. “This is opt-in. We don’t share the information to the brand, but we enable the brand to target them with relevant offers.”