Hukkster Brings Its Bookmarklets for Finding Discounts to E-commerce

8/28/12Follow @jpruth

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is preparing for the coming Christmas holiday season. Thus far Hukkster does not have any special agreements or arrangements with retailers, however Finnegan says some merchants have had tentative talks with the company.

Bell and Finnegan are familiar with navigating the needs of the retail sector. They met in 2007, when both worked as merchandisers for apparel and accessories retailer J. Crew. The pair worked together again at management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, both focusing again on retail.

Eager to get back in the retail racks, at least figuratively, Finnegan and Bell formed the plans for what would become Hukkster. Bell says as they structured their ideas in part by answering the questions asked on the applications to Y Combinator and TechStars. Hukkster has not participated in either accelerator program, but she says the questions helped them focus on the problems their company sought to solve. The pair founded Hukkster last December.

Finnegan and Bell tried out a manual version of the platform in February with a group of women they recruited. They used the web scraping tool Mozenda to scour retail sites for relevant product information, then handled other tasks themselves to serve the test group. “We literally acted as their personal shopping concierge,” Bell says. After they saw the concept gain traction—as sale alerts converted into purchases—they brought a programmer on board who developed the platform for the private beta.

Hukkster raised a seed round of $250,000 in May from backers that include Jerome Griffith, CEO of suitcase and luggage maker Tumi in South Plainfield, NJ, and Chris Fiore, president of Henri Bendel, a seller of handbags and accessories and subsidiary of Limited Brands. Finnegan says her company hopes to close another seed round in the next two months.

Finnegan says Hukkster’s invite-only private beta will continue through September, but with a more robust portal. Ultimately, she believes Hukkster will be embraced by retailers as a tool for better understanding and targeting the discounts they offer an increasingly deals-weary public. “There is an opportunity to provide [retailers] analytics through the data we’re collecting,” she says.

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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