Featured Startup Pitch: Started by two former Morgan Stanley execs, CoupTessa targets daily deals specifically to women looking for high-end products and services

By Editor January 5, 2012

CoupTessa_logoCompany: CoupTessa

Website: www.couptessa.com

Founders: David Horn and Francisco Gonzalez

Headquarters: Miami

Year Founded: 2010

Employees: 40

Twitter: @CoupTessa

Brief Company Description: Unique daily deal site specifically for women, delivering discounts of 50 to 90 percent off high-end merchant services and products.


David_Horn-CoupTessaBy David Horn, co-CEO

Website Overview

CoupTessa is a daily deal site specifically tailored for women. Our site offers significant discounts for higher-end products and services that are in demand by discriminating female consumers. With percentage discounts typically ranging from 50 to 90 percent, we provide consumers with enticing offers, and merchants with a steady supply of sophisticated repeat customers. We are currently offering deals in five major United States cities, and our users can choose from merchants including spa/salon providers, dance and exercise classes, and dining at popular restaurants.

Founders’ Story

CoupTessa was created by myself and another former executive at Morgan Stanley, Francisco Gonzalez. I enjoyed a successful tenure at Morgan Stanley, and ended my career as the global leader of sales and marketing for some of the firm’s wealthiest clients. During a walk near my home in the Dominican Republic I encountered Francisco, and we began discussing possible business ventures. We were intrigued by the daily deal website model and decided to focus our business efforts on a certain population segment. We chose women consumers due to their considerable buying power and brand allegiance. From this chance meeting on the beach, CoupTessa was formed.

My 40-year career included work as a private financial advisor to wealthy international clients and management firms. I also co-founded Graystone Partners, a $4.4 billion consulting firm purchased by Morgan Stanley. In addition to my duties with CoupTessa, I also hold several executive-level positions with capital management-related firms. I’m a graduate of Stanford University and earned my law degree at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

After his work at Morgan Stanley, Francisco founded and continues to run SeatMaestro.com, a travel-focused content site. After his studies in the U.S., he moved to Romania where he built a real estate holding company to build or acquire developments throughout the country. He holds a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in manufacturing engineering from Boston University and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Much of our success can be attributed to strong word-of-mouth marketing among satisfied customers and merchants. The entire buzz and consumer base we have created was built organically, mainly through our popular referral program that allows consumers to easily email or Tweet deals to friends and then receive substantial credits towards future purchases. We have also promoted subscriber acquisition through strong advertising on Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, and Pandora, focused on very upscale women in those demographics where we chose to do business.

Our service is mobile enabled, and features a free app for use by iPhone, Android, and Blackberry platform users. The app allows the purchasing of spur-of-the-moment local services without the hassle of printing coupons. Consumers simply need to show the deal on their smartphone to the partner merchant upon redemption of the services.

Another aspect of our promotion strategy is the considerable media exposure we have generated, with write-ups appearing in publications including the Boston Globe, Time Magazine, The New York Times, and Forbes.

Competitive Differentiators

I believe CoupTessa boasts several key differentiators that set it apart from an increasingly crowded “daily deal” space. Our customer service is better structured, with a regional sales staff that meets with partners in person, instead of simply using an impersonal call center. This arrangement allows CoupTessa to build longer-term partnerships with the very best local merchants. We are also focused on quality, not quantity, so the female customers are not inundated with offers. We average around 60 deals a month per city and our staff works diligently to find the right merchants and the perfect deal. Our business is more of a “boutique” style, compared to the mass market operation of other competitive sites.

Customer loyalty and satisfaction with every individual deal is enhanced by the extra research our team performs. We offer detailed information about every merchant and service, so customers can quickly determine if a given deal is right for their specific needs. I know competitive daily deal sites take a much more mass-market approach, and simply cannot match our more tailored service.

Business Model

We employ a daily deal business model where consumers pay a certain amount for a service that is a substantial discount compared to normal pricing. We have a wonderful regional sales force that works with select local merchants to arrange deals and develop the optimal discount and offer details. We have earned multiple millions of dollars in revenue for 2011, and the company is completely self-funded.

I attribute the long-term growth of CoupTessa to the satisfaction of customers who receive a great deal at a quality merchant that is geographically close to their location. Growth is also boosted by our partner businesses’ ability to attract new customers who are very likely to become repeat purchasers. Merchants are eager to present CoupTessa offers as they know our deals attract a perfect demographic audience with substantial disposable income.

Current Needs

We’re on the lookout for top talent to help expand operations throughout the United States. Regionally-located sales representatives are currently needed in Atlanta, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Philadelphia, with more cities coming on line every month.

CoupTessa – www.couptessa.com