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Tjoos - Compare Prices For Better Choice While Shopping

In our ongoing coverage of startups coming out of Australia and interviews with CEOs, Media Personalities, Philanthropists, and VCs, today we showcase a startup in the eCommerce segment from Manly, Tjoos.com - Compare Prices For Better Choice While Shopping. It is co-founded by Kim Chen and Bart Jellema.

Let us explore how Bart, co-founder of Tjoos.com, is progressing with his venture. This is what he has to say:

• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
Back in July 2007 my partner and I were looking to purchase contact lenses online. Having done comparison shopping a few times I expected it to be easy to find the lowest price using one of the price comparison sites. We spent all day looking at every comparison site we could find and got some upsetting results. Shopping comparison engines rarely list the lowest price, and if they do it's merely a coincidence. Shopping comparison sites only list stores that pay them, making most sites nothing more than PPC product search sites. Basically, the current function of comparison shopping engines is to give consumers the 'perception' of finding the lowest price and thereby facilitating the buying process. We believed there was a market for a quality online shopping portal and started plans for Tjoos.com (pronounced choose).

• How long it took before it was up and running?
In October 2007 we launched the site with the world's first real price comparison engine. The only category we listed was contact lenses, and to calculate the 'store to door' price we took into account volume discounts, shipping costs, hidden handling costs, taxes and available discount coupons. After successfully launching the contact lens price comparison feature we experimented for a few months and created an online store directory listing over 90,000 online stores, a clothing recommendation engine, some widgets and an extensive coupon code listing.

• What is the main mission behind your venture?
We have narrowed our focus to online coupon codes. Coupon codes are the online equivalent of grocery coupons. Many online stores such as Old Navy, Dell and Amazon issue coupon codes that give you instant discounts during checkout. This is a huge market with over 25 million users looking for coupon codes each month, however, there is no dominant player. This is
because the quality of coupon sites is so low that none of these sites can give consumers the confidence that they list all available coupons and that their coupons work. At Tjoos.com we are setting up a team of people who work 24/7 around the globe to collect, enter, organize and test coupon codes to provide the most comprehensive and highest-quality coupon site on the
web. It's free to use and we don't display advertising.

• How many people are using your services?
More than a million people have already used our site and visitor numbers keep growing.

• What is the revenue model?
A number of the stores we list on our site provide us compensation for referrals. This means that if we refer a user to one of these stores and the user makes a purchase, we receive a percentage of the sale. Currently, the sales we make through our partners are over US$100.000 per month. In line with our mission we naturally also list many stores that do not provide any
compensation for the referrals.

• How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up?
Over the last few months we've met many like-minded people and we try to go to at least one event every week. To help others find out what's happening around Australia I set up an open wiki where everyone can share their knowledge on starting up in Australia.

• What are your thoughts on being an entrepreneur?
We absolutely love it! We live and work in Manly, close to the beach and though we work long hours, we work when we feel like it. For me, it is like doing what I would do as a hobby anyway, but now I get to do it full-time. When running your own business, there is none of the big company rubbish, no red tape, no politics. We get to decide what to do and just do it. It's also very exciting to create a successful company out of nothing. Less than a year ago we just had an idea and some crayon drawings. Now we have a website with thousands of visitors every day.

• Any external funding?
We are a self-funded company.

• Which City are you based in?
We are in the heart of Silicon Beach: Manly, NSW

• Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
Start! Just get it out there as soon as you can. Don't be afraid someone will steal your idea and stuff like that. As long as you're small nobody will notice, when you're big you're already ahead of the pack. On top of that people tend to not believe in what you do until it works, so just get out there and do it, talk about it, get feedback, go to social events such as OpenCoffee, BarCamp, Friday night drinks, and many of the other regular meetups happening around Australia.


Thanks, Bart for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for the future.

For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, and tech trends check this out our coverage on interviews can be found here


Comments

Anonymous said…
Tjoos scrape/steal their content from retailmenot.com:
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Atjoos.com+retailmenot

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