App helps business and buyers
By MARY L. GRADY
Mercer Island Reporter Editor
September 4, 2012 · 1:57 PM
Islander Tony Mandarano recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in marketing and real estate. He has another job, but his real energy and interest lie elsewhere. He has been busy launching a technology company called PaidPunch. PaidPunch is a mobile app that helps you save money with every visit at local businesses, and even offers the element of surprise to its users.
The way it works is simple. You download the free PaidPunch app (www.PaidPunch.com/GetApp). Then, you purchase Punches, which are digital credits that are sold to you at up to 90 percent off. Every time you visit a business you use one of the Punches towards your purchase saving you money.
PaidPunch has launched on Mercer Island with five locations. They include Einstein’s Bagels (formerly Noah’s Bagels), YoMercer!, Sushi Joa, Freshy’s Seafood Market and Phobulous, as well as others in Bellevue.
So, how does it work? For example, Freshy’s Seafood Market offers 5 x $2 punches (a $10 value) for just $2.
So instead of paying $10 for an order of fish and chips, you use a $2 Punch toward your purchase; bringing your total down to $8.
The startup aims to make existing incentive programs such as loyalty cards obsolete, its founders say.
PaidPunch is unlike existing incentive programs because you don’t need to accumulate points, stamps or punches in order to get a something at some point in the distant future, Mandarano explained.
“Instead, consumers save instantly on every purchase they make,” he said.
Mandarano said that many merchants have become disillusioned with Groupon.
“The vast majority of customers that use a Groupon never return,” he said.
PaidPunch also shares information with businesses by giving them access to data on their customers. Business owners and managers can log into a special section of the PaidPunch website to access real-time data.
As an incentive to users, there is what is called a Mystery Punch: a special prize that is revealed after all of your punches are used. It can be anything from a free meal to a round of drinks. Each business decides the prize.
As PaidPunch was formed, Mandarano called upon his old Islander classmate and friend Elliott McNary. The two have known each other since middle school.
McNary is the head of merchant relations at the start-up. He also just graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in finance.
For information on how to sign up your business, visit www.PaidPunch.com. The free app can be found at www.PaidPunch.com/getapp or contact Tony Mandarano, CEO/Co-Founder, at email@example.com.
Contact Mercer Island Reporter Editor Mary L. Grady at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 232-1215 ext. 1050.