Google Ventures Invests In Deals Site
Signpost, a community-powered deals site, received seed funding from Google Ventures, joining an initial investment from Spark Capital. The site allows consumers to post affordable things to do in their city such as a weekend-only sample sale, the too-good-to-be-true happy hour, or the free yoga or pole dancing classes. The community curates the content, so consumers can browse the best deals on the site.
Consumers can find an awesome deal posted in a Manhattan store window on their way to work and post the special on Signpost to share with others. The site captures in a database all the points of interest in the U.S. Visitors to Signpost vote on the deal, which determines whether it gets posted on the home page and whether it is sent to other users with similar preferences.
The site also offers social tools to email deals, or share on Facebook and Twitter. Aside from Manhattan, Deal seekers in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco will now have an option to tap the site.
Venture capitalists typically look for startups to invest in that have interesting technology or the potential to make a major impact on society. Stuart Wall, CEO and co-founder, says the company faces "interesting technical challenges" such as the ability to collect and process large amounts of data in real-time for people posting in different cities associated from millions of people nationwide.
The site curates in real time and provide recommendations based on stated preferences and voting activity on the site. "Google has been very helpful sorting through some of the technical challenges," Wall says. "They have provided the resources so we can execute well."
Wall started working on co-developing Signpost while at Harvard Business School in 2009. The company offers unique social and voting features, but sits in a pool with tons of other A-to-(nearly)Z daily deal sites, from Groupon to Tippr.com.
Google Ventures' investment in a local deals site that curates findings based on a community might provide some insight into the new geo/local role assigned to Google's Marissa Mayer, although Google claims its venture capital arm does not make decisions based on corporate.
Mayer, who spearheaded the company's search products, got a new assignment earlier this month. She will oversee geo/local products including Google Earth and Google Maps, and services like Street View, Places, and Latitude. She also will oversee the company's operating committee, which determines corporate policy. Udi Manber, the former CEO of Amazon's search engine, A9, and VP of engineering at Google, will step in to take Mayer's role.