Living in a city full of innovators and risk-takers is exciting. The vibrant startup scene in Austin is part of what makes our culture unique. I can’t go to a networking event without meeting an individual with bright eyes who wants to share his or her dream with the world.
But the business formation process can be messy. An exciting idea doesn’t automatically lead to a solid company.
Maybe it’s the pragmatist in me, but some startup ideas make me scratch my head a bit. Sometimes I just can’t envision how a certain idea is going to work.
Then sometimes, I can.
Weird Coupons to the Rescue
One morning in mid-April, we met Austin entrepreneur Eric Knittel. Eric is the mastermind behind local startup Weird Coupons.
Weird Coupons is a deals website and mobile app. But before you get up on your soapbox and start chanting about how there are 96,006 too many deals apps on the planet, stop. Hear me out.
If you open up your Groupon or Living Social, you’ll see deals specific to your city. But the companies offering the deals aren’t all local, and some of them are Internet companies with no local connection whatsoever.
The deals apps aren’t local either. If an Austin business uses Groupon to run a deal, it’s ultimately sending a huge commission out of the Austin area, never to be seen again. (Not to mention the number of small businesses that have been put out of business because of Groupon deals gone bad – but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)
Eric Knittel looked at all this money flowing out of Austin, and he saw a problem he could solve. His solution is Weird Apps.
“If you want or need something, chances are there’s an Austinite who makes it, provides it, carries it, or creates it.” -WeirdCoupons.com
The solution is simple: keep it local. I can dig that.
How Businesses Can Get Involved
If you’re a local business owner who would like to offer a coupon through Weird Coupons, I have good news for you. Making a coupon for your customers or clients to use is completely free to do.
Yes, I said free. So why in the world wouldn’t you try it out?
Weird Coupons empowers businesses to decide what deals they want to offer. And there’s no long-term commitment whatsoever.
Here is a small sampling of some of the businesses who are currently offering coupons:
- Thrive Fitness
- Cinnaman Cheesecakes
- MaryEllenFine Massage Therapy
- As You Wish Photography
- Glass Monkey Art Studio
- My Saucy Mustache
How Consumers Can Get Involved
Did you read the list above? You may have noticed that there are no large corporations or chains listed. In fact, you may have never heard of these local Austin businesses until now.
But isn’t that what Austin is all about? Keeping it weird and keeping it local? Let’s throw our money down, so it’s not just talk. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Download Weird Coupons on your mobile phone. It’s available for iPhones and Android.
- Give these local businesses a chance! Instead of automatically going to the familiar brand, take a risk and check out a local establishment. You’ll find satisfaction in uncovering a gem, and fulfillment in knowing your cash is fueling the local economy.
Thanks to Weird Coupons
Weird Coupons is serious about its mission. On its page in the App Store, you’ll read,
“We don’t allow any business that isn’t based in Austin to participate in Weird Coupons. That means no big box retailers. No locally-owned franchises. Just the weird ones who want to send Austinites a little love.”
This is not an easy road to walk. By sticking to this line, Weird Coupons is sacrificing revenue that could be made. But Eric Knittel is serious about his mission, and we totally respect that.
Thanks to Weird Coupons for the trailblazing route you’re taking through the deals app space. We look forward to your continued expansion and hope Austinites will rally to the cause of keeping it local.
Which local Austin business would you like to see a coupon for on Weird Coupons?
Photos courtesy of Eric Knittel and Weird Coupons.
Disclosure: Weird Coupons is currently a sponsor of Austinot.com. What did we say? They’re into keeping it local.