Pouch: Interview with the founders

This week we caught up with innovative money-saving plugin, Pouch. The company offers a simple Google Chrome extension that will pop up with a discount code when you visit over 3,000 online retailers, including Topshop and Boots.

The Founders and their background

There are 3 co-founders. Our CTO, Vikram Simha, oversees the technical direction, production and development of Pouch. He has 11 years experience as a full stack engineer and enterprise solutions architect with companies like Cisco, Bank of New York and Brilliant Basics. The guy can build just about anything.
Jonny Plein is our Finance and Operations Director, and he makes the wheels turn and manages a lot of the business logistics, investor introductions and legal documentation etc. He is a qualified Charted Accountant with 2 years experience in M&A and Corporate Finance at one of the ‘Big 4’ firms after studying Economics and Mandarin from the University of Nottingham (where he was also Head of Project Development at Enactus). Smart kid!
Ben Corrigan is the Sales and Marketing Director. His role is focused primarily on user acquisition and in building and maintaining strong relationships with key industry stakeholders such as Affiliate Networks, Agencies, Retailers and various other third parties. Before co-founding Pouch, Ben was Head of the Nordic markets at the performance marketing and onsite optimisation firm SaleCycle.
We have also made 3 key hires. Josh Haokip looks after much of our digital marketing and partnerships with student groups/bodies (students are a key demographic). Chema Mora looks after a lot of our front-end development, and Timnit Mengesha works on the back-end and database maintenance.

What makes Pouch different?

The main thing that makes us different from traditional voucher code websites is the fact that we are not a website. We are a browser extension. This means we are able to automatically find and display the best voucher codes as you shop online, on over 3000 UK stores, so you never need to visit a voucher code website again.
Google, in all it’s infinite wisdom, still cannot determine the validity or redeem-ability of voucher codes on voucher code websites. Therefore, it’s search rankings rewards the voucher code sites with the most ‘meta data’ which is why there are so many invalid, expired or irredeemable voucher codes on these voucher code websites. Because we are a browser extension, we are not incentivised to retain useless voucher codes and can therefore offer a more seamless solution which saves far more time and money for users.
It is simply too hard and frustrating to find and redeem valid voucher codes when shopping online. Additionally, retailers spend millions of pounds driving users to their websites, and millions more optimising those sites for conversions, yet 75% of users abandon the checkout page. One of the most common causes of this is due to users leaving to search for voucher codes. Thanks to Pouch, retailers no longer need to rescind control of their user journey; the user stays on the website and enjoys a seamless experience, while retailers see a direct increase in sales as a result.

How it works

Pouch is a free tool that saves you time and money. We automatically find and display the best voucher codes as you shop online, on over 3000 UK stores. You never need to visit a voucher code website again. Below is an outline of the entire user journey:
1) User downloads Pouch for free from our website www.joinpouch.com or the Chrome store.
2) Once downloaded, you will see our icon in the top right hand corner of your browser
3) When we have voucher codes for an eCommerce store you are on, you will notice a small green box in our icon which indicates the number of voucher codes that we have for that store
4) Click on the icon and a drop-down list of the discounts for that store will appear
5) Click on the deal that you want, and the voucher code will be revealed and automatically copied. Then paste the voucher code at the checkout page

What are your plans for growth, and where do you want the business to be in 2 years?

We have some very ambitious user acquisition objectives over the coming months. Some immediate quick wins will be expanding to new browsers (we are currently only on Google Chrome) and, eventually, launching a mobile proposition and moving into new international markets.
Our user acquisition strategy is a rather mixed bag of different paid and organic marketing initiatives including, but not limited to, social media (predominantly Facebook), display, email, blogging/guest blogging, press, PPC and Affiliates. We have also launched an interesting partnership with Student Money Saver because students (and recent graduates) are a key demographic for us. Our other main target markets are young parents, and people with an interest in technology and start-ups. We will continue to iterate our strategy and analyse our results so we can improve our messaging to these different user groups.
At Pouch, we hope to have approximately 13-18 employees by this time next year and to be cash-flow positive. We will have launched our mobile proposition, and will be focused on consolidating our UK market position. By Year 2, we would like to have strong market penetration in key markets such as Germany, France and, of course, the US, and be a highly recognisable brand. Our aim would be for Pouch to be used as a ‘verb’ in everyday vernacular much like how you ‘Skype’ somebody or ‘Whatsapp’ a friend. To hear somebody say “I Pouched it” would be nice. Further down line,  we will be a large multi-faceted technology business with a total focus on innovation. VR, AR and AI are where I expect to see most of the rapid advancements taking place in technology over the next 5 years, so I expect Pouch will be working heavily on these platforms, and probably moving away from Desktop altogether. We are already a very data-driven company, so it would be exciting to really help drive the new wave of machine learning in the retail/commerce sector.

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