We’ve all experienced it. Shop online and desperately search for a promo code so you can save some money on a purchase.
Well, at least I’ve been there.
The startup wants to make those days of promo/discount/coupon code hunting a thing of the past. And it just raised another $15 million in Series A funding to make that happen.
A few things about this increase caught our eye. First, Checkmate announced a $5 million seed raise last September. The days of raising capital so soon after a new round are not nearly as common as they used to be. Second, the apparent rapid growth of the company.
It reached No. 1 on the Apple App Store at the end of last year and today announces that it has surpassed 400,000 users, including 60,000 daily active users. Checkmate also has 600,000 followers on his TikTok and Instagram accounts.
And third, the breadth of the investor base is striking. Google Ventures (GV) led the final round, which also included participation from Mantis VC (the company of The Chainsmokers), Wischoff Ventures, BDuck Capital and Saurabh Gupta, partner at DST Global. Angel investors include Paris Hilton, as well as CEOs, current and former founders and executives of Honey, Pinterest, Ancestry.com, Rakuten, Google, Grindr, Amazon, Linktree and Brex.
So what exactly does Checkmate do that so many people pay attention to?
It built a free iPhone app – which says “collects all your groceries in one place, tracks your packages and saves you money on 40,000 online stores. The company is betting on the fact that most of us ignore marketing emails because many end up being filtered into a “promotions” folder. It also aims to rid buyers of frequent promotional text messages that can be tuned out or unsubscribed.
Once you have installed the app, you can shop online and Checkmate will apply all available discounts. It claims find codes online, get codes from email, and also collaborate “exclusively” with some brands on new codes – claiming to save users “2x more than the competition”.
The app uses the Safari mobile browser through an extension. The company says this is essential as not only are more people shopping online, but they are also using their phones to do so. It takes it a step further by offering live order updates, package tracking, and new sales notifications and is also available on desktop.
GV partner Frederique Dame believes Checkmate’s “viral growth over the past eight months demonstrates early product-market fit.”
She said in a statement: “Ecommerce has boomed over the past decade, but our shopping experience hasn’t changed until now. We strongly believe in Checkmate’s technology, team and approach to reaching new consumer audiences.”
Australian-born Harry Dixon, Rory Garton-Smith and Elliot Rampono started Checkmate in late 2021, combining an interesting mix of backgrounds. Dixon (CEO) once worked with famed architect Frank Geary, and Garton-Smith (CTO) spent two years as a technical project manager at Apple on the iPhone.
Looking ahead, the trio has big plans. They say they want to create “a personalized end-to-end shopping experience” or a personalized shopping assistant.
They say: “As we evolve, we believe the entire shopping experience should be personalized based on shopping habits and interests so that customers feel that recommendations are useful rather than the endless spam they are familiar with.”
The company makes money through an affiliate model. It takes a percentage of the purchase after driving traffic to a particular retailer, which can range from 1% to 7% depending on the retailer and item.
Garton-Smith says: “We fundamentally think there’s an opportunity to reinvent online store marketing… We’d like to see that in two years time – if you want to run a marketing campaign and you’re a large online store, you go through Checkmate We want to be the marketing platform, rather than just help them advance their existing efforts.