Think of all of the local restaurants and merchants that you frequent, enjoy, and love. Wouldn't you want to help promote and share their products or services with your friends, your network, and your city? The LiPi team is betting that you will.
LiPi is lead by three Triangle-area enthusiasts, Jayson Humphrey, CEO, Alex Rogozhin, COO, and Brian Marks, CTO. The launch comes after a private-beta period with 3,000 consumers and 250 merchants. The private beta produced enough revenue to convince the founders that they are involved in a venture that can scale and grow using the current model.
We caught up with Alex on this news, and asked a few questions on the business. Check out LiPi at www.lipi.co.
Interview between the CED Team and Alex Rogozhin, COO, follows:
CED Team: Describe the product you’re launching – who would use it, and why?
Alex: LiPi’s solution was born to fill the information gap between local consumers and small businesses. Think about the last time you were looking for the best local product, service, or cause. What tools or services did you use? Consumers find it difficult to discover, promote, and purchase relevant local products, services, or causes. Similarly, small businesses find it harder and harder to communicate with their target audiences and compete with high-dollar marketing campaigns of large corporations. This creates an information gap: consumers that are looking for the best stuff in real-time and small businesses that need to market themselves to increase sales do not have a unified solution that resolves these needs.
LiPi is a one-stop shop that generates and harnesses positive word-of-mouth promotions to drive relevant traffic to the best local businesses, services, and causes. LiPi fills this information gap by creating an online social marketplace that cultivates lasting engagement between consumers and local-businesses, and efficiently delivers relevant information to both in real-time. Unlike existing online platforms that do not offer a robust solution for commerce and engagement, LiPi empowers consumers and businesses to stay engaged by discovering, promoting, and purchasing relevant products, causes, and services. Think Etsy or ReverbNation for local brick-and-mortars.
CED Team: How’s the app work? How does it help consumers / merchants?
Alex: LiPi is a breakthrough social platform combining the ability to discover, promote, and purchase in one place. Through LiPi's app, consumer can access most relevant information about the best local products, services and causes, and the enjoy the ability to make purchases right from their smart-phone.The app offers a unique way for businesses to schedule promotions at specific times of the day. The aggregated data behind these promotions will provide insights into the efficacy of existing promotions, and the ability to build more relevant promotions in the future.
CED Team: Who’s the ideal client? User?
Our users are millions of consumers looking to discover, promote, and purchase the best local products, services, and causes. Our clients are local brick-and-mortar small businesses.
Specifically, our clients constitute:
Short-term: 5,000,000 local brick-and-mortar small businesses. Our most accessible client base consists of “community marketplaces” (ex: North Hills) and subsequent businesses within these communities. In the US, there are more than 1,800 communities with 139,000 businesses that can benefit from LiPi app today.
Long-term: Businesses selling products directly to mobile users engaging in mobile commerce. Mobile commerce is growing at 41% per year (Forrester 2012), LiPi faces opportunity to become the digital marketplace for local brick-and-mortar businesses.
CED Team: How does it compare to competing products / what makes you unique?
Competitors focus on ads, deals, sharing, and reviews. Unlike segmented local advertising and sharing platforms, LiPi unifies communities and delivers a relevant experience for businesses and consumers. Unlike deal sites that require deep discounts and attract non-repeat customers, LiPi enhances the value of the best products and fosters continuous engagement. Unlike negatively slanted review sites, LiPi encompasses a culture of authentic positive word-of-mouth promotions.