The growing prevalence of online shopping – particularly in the mobile space, where U.S. firm ABI Research predicts a $119-billion market by 2015 – has been well-documented.
© Etienne Ranger
Sam Zaid, Gazaro
And that’s why Gazaro Inc. is well-positioned to ride a growth curve into the foreseeable future, says founder and CEO Sam Zaid. Competition in the space is fierce but he says the company’s analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities, when combined with the power of the almighty splurge in all its guises, provides a powerful value proposition for customers.
The technology trolls online stores and sales flyers looking for applicable sales based on a user’s interests and locale. So if you’re, say, a tropical fish lover in Ottawa, your phone will tell you the minute that bunch of Malawi cichlids you’ve had your eye on goes on sale.
Gazaro offers both a website users can browse at Gazaro.com and a “Gazaro Deals” iPhone application, available since mid-December. “In terms of the mobile space, it’s wide-open right now,” he says. “There aren’t a lot of applications that help shoppers when they’re in the store.
“And on the web side of things, there hasn’t been a ton of innovation there in the past couple of years, so with our AI background we think we can bring some new capabilities around tracking and prediction that should differentiate us quite well.”
- Read more special articles:
- STARTUPS TO WATCH 2010: Benbria
- STARTUPS TO WATCH 2010: DoGood Headquarters
- STARTUPS TO WATCH 2010: eSight
- STARTUPS TO WATCH 2010: EventBots
The company’s key differentiator, according to Mr. Zaid? Information synthesis, or “distilling all the data we collect into simple indicators” to help customers find what they’re looking for.
Incubated and seed funded by local firm Apption – of which Mr. Zaid is the chief technology officer – Gazaro, which primarily has gone after the U.S. market, also boasts a strategic partnership with Viigo, another software application company. “Channels like that help us get the word out,” he says.
Gazaro generates revenue in three main streams – on a cost-per-click basis when users visit the site or use the app, through commissions on purchases and on the sale of the application itself.
And while Mr. Zaid won’t discuss specific financials of the company, he says growth “over the past couple of quarters has been strong,”
“If you’ve been shopping and looking for deals for a while, you know that everything comes down to timing. Financial analysts make recommendations all the time. So we decided to do the same thing, only for products.” Founder and CEO Sam Zaid
“Our strategy revolves more and more around building novel features and solutions that don’t exist yet – new things you can do with the data to help consumers save money.”
But the best part about Gazaro is that it’s a company willing to take risks, even at technology trade shows – it was handed a TechCrunch 50 Disqualification Award for using “booth babes” to showcase its product in 2008, which goes to the company “with the most unethical, despicable, and utterly inhumane yet overly effective marketing tactic” to entice visitors to its booth.
Year founded: 2008
Local head count: 7
Funding to date: $1 million
Product: Personalized online sales flyers