Google Ventures-Backed Signpost Brings Repeat Business to Daily Deals

4/12/12Follow @jpruth

The daily deals sector may be overcrowded and highly competitive, but New York’s Signpost is leveraging a different approach to help attract customers to small merchants.

The two-year-old startup operates as an advertising platform that gets deals published online on behalf of cafés, spas, restaurants, and other retailers. On the surface that sounds like the same pitch as Groupon and Living Social. What makes Signpost different is it serves as a marketing middleman between small retailers and more than 1,200 Web publishers such as Yellow Pages, Dealster, AOL, Yipit, and Patch, where deals are offered. Now Signpost is rapidly widening its coverage by collaborating with another growing daily deals site.

Last month, Signpost entered a partnership with Google Offers to post deals from its clients. The partnership comes at a time when Google Offers is expanding into new markets such as Philadelphia, Miami, Austin, and Houston. The agreement also deepens Signpost’s relationship with Google, which backs the startup through Google Ventures.

Other investors in Signpost include Spark Capital and angel investors such as Thomas Lehrman, co-founder of Gerson Lehrman Group; entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calacanis, and Jack Herrick, founder of wikiHow. Stuart Wall, the CEO and founder of Signpost, says his company has raised more than $1 million thus far but would not disclose the total amount of its current funding. If the company’s revenue growth continues, he says Signpost may not need to raise more capital—at least in the near term—to fuel its expansion.

Wall says daily deals offer merchants measurable results from their marketing efforts, as compared with gauging impressions from online ads. However, it can be tough for small businesses to get attention in the crowded field of daily deals. Signpost offers merchants a way to quickly increase their exposure. “We think the big innovation for us is we allow them to access every platform,” Wall says. “We want to play the access role for every market.”

Signpost charges clients $99 per month and offers access to a network of … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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