Couponing Reinvented by Toronto Tech Startup

If you’ve seen the t.v. show Extreme Couponing, you understand just how far someone will go to save money. The weeks of planning, binders of coupons, and countless hours of cutting, can definitely pay off, but who has the time!

Although the couponing craze we see today is a recent phenomenon, coupons have been around for 125 years! Not surprisingly, the first ones were introduced by the Coca-Cola Company back in 1888. This genius marketing initiative is estimated to have provided a whopping 8.5M Americans with a complementary glass of coke between the years of 1894 and 1913 (Wikipedia – December 14, 2012.)

The internet and the implementation of more on-shelf coupons subtlety changed the game, but the general idea has virtually remained the same: use a couple and save some money. That was until now!

Toronto-based startup, Checkout 51, is revolutionizing the way people use coupons by making it completely hassle-free and automatic. Founded by Noah Godfrey, Pema Hegan, and Andrew McGrath, here’s how it works:

1)     Using the Checkout 51 app, you can see the offers that are available each week;

2)     Buy the products you want from any Canadian retailer;

3)      Upload your receipt(s) by taking a picture;

4)     Once your savings total $20, a cheque will be mailed directly to you.

Sounds too good to be true…it gets even better! The offers aren’t a few measly cents like some coupons; the savings are substantial. For example, this week, you can save $2.00 when you buy 1L of Nelson milk or $1.00 on the purchase of any Duncan Hines cake mix.

Although the app was only officially released this week, a test version was used by 970 customers throughout the summer, and to date, over $10,000 worth of cheques have been issued. Despite the fact that some of this money came out of the co-founders pockets, they say they’re in “good financial shape” (Ottawa Citizen – December 12, 2012).

So what’s next for Checkout 51? They are launching an app for Android operating systems in the New Year and they may potentially seek funding.

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