Cahootsy disrupts social and commerce to create the “reverse Groupon”

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Name: Cahootsy
Industry/sector: Retail
Date founded: 2014
Founder: Tarika and Paul Marshall
Location: London

It stands to reason Cahootsy wants to shake up the social commerce market, given that it’s meant to become a $30bn industry this year. So it’s perhaps a surprise that 85 per cent of online retailers aren’t familiar with their customers.

Realising online shoppers have far less loyalty because of the options available to them, the company’s goal is to eliminate costly and traditional retail marketing trends, such as inbox sales, reinventing the process to “pull not push marketing” between the shoppers and retailers.

The technology used is centred around shopping personalisation, so consumers are profiled, receive human recommendations and in-game mechanics when using the platform and receive the right message at the appropriate time.

Since launching in January 2014, 75,000 users have registered and more than 30 partners including M&S and The Body Shop have signed up. Mothers are among keen users and with a new version of the platform out, the company hopes to broaden, develop a native app and launch in new markets.

The husband and wife founders Paul and Tarika Marshall have 20 years of combined mobile experience, and they’ve worked together over the past eight years on product development, branding, social games, apps and startups. Paul has produced projects for EA, T-Mobile, Paramount and Universal, while Tarika has supported the likes of Vodafone and Telefonica.

She explained the concept further and said: “We are a working couple in our thirties with two energetic lovely toddlers. Life got a lot busier once baby number two arrived. The social whirl of high street shopping with friends and late night parties was suitably replaced by shopping online and coffee mornings.

“Shopping for kids takes time and money. We love it but do we really need to become experts on everything from baby nappies and baby-feeding bottles to potty training and load-efficient dishwashers? That was when our new baby – Cahootsy – was born.”

She noted that all of the pair’s friends, families, schools and playgroup dates were looking for the same things but had nowhere to share the knowledge, thus “a community of ‘great minds’ sharing their shopping gems” was created through which users are able to recommend products and discounts and warn against poor ones.

Company backers from the ecommerce world include individuals from Google, Barclays, Lloyds and ex-staff from notonthehighstreet and Amazon. Additionally, advisers have experience working with American Express, Microsoft and Trinity Mirror.

Next – Captify

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