Andrew Bank and Gregg Hammerman are serial entrepreneurs who met at the University of Michigan and went on to found Techstreet, which was later bought by Thomson Reuters. Now, Bank says, they’ve “gotten the band back together” to launch Larky, a website and mobile app that aggregates various perks and discounts from membership organizations, such as AARP or an alumni group, and sends users alerts online or at the point of sale whenever they’re eligible for a discount.
In the current, recession-driven era of extreme couponing, bargain hunting has become a serious sport, and Bank and Hammerman thought the time was ripe for an online, mobile solution to tracking the perks offered by membership organizations. ”We’re shooting for something that aggregates hard-to-find information and integrates it seamlessly,” Bank explains. “Members of AAA, alumni associations, AARP—lots of these kinds of places give perks and discounts. It’s hard to keep track of them all or remember to use them. Larky brings all of that information together in one easy space.”
Larky’s platform currently tracks perks and discounts from close to 2,000 organizations, and the groups’ interest in being part of Larky indicates that what the startup offers doesn’t just benefit consumers. “We also found [consumers not taking advantage of their discounts] was a problem for membership organizations,” Banks points out. “They offer the discounts with the goal of adding value, but if members aren’t using the discounts then they aren’t very effective.”
Larky is free for consumers, who sign up and indicate which organizations they belong to—no passwords or member ID numbers required. Each user then gets a customized perks dashboard that Bank says is searchable by organization or location. Mobile users get a push notification when they’re near a discount that tells them to click for redemption information. Although the free mobile app is only available for iOS at the moment, an Android version is coming soon and Bank says that, in the meantime, the mobile view of the site works well on Android phones.
Ultimately, what Bank and Hammerman hope to do with Larky is work with leaders in the mobile wallet space, so a discount would automatically be applied to qualifying members’ purchases. Larky is monetizing its platform by tracking member behavior and selling the actionable data back to membership organizations. The company also earns a small commission when customers use their discounts.
Larky is based in Ann Arbor, MI, and currently has three full-time employees, though Bank says he’s hiring for a number of positions, including Chief Technology Officer and someone to run marketing and business development. And why did Bank and Hammerman decide to call their company Larky? “We’re showing you things you didn’t expect,” Bank says. “It’s a hidden bounty, like a lark. We call is serendipitous delight. It’s fun to find free money.”
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