An Interview with ShopAround CEO Kevin Gibbon

ShopAround just completed the 2012 spring cohort of FounderFuel in Montreal. The startup is an iOS app allowing shoppers to quickly and easily browse great prices on products from favorite local stores, all from one place. ShopAround brings offline products online so consumers can find exactly what they want, then go in-store to try out and take home in the same day.

Consumers buy 95% of items in-store versus online. ShopAround provides consumers one place to search and browse before they go in-store. Instead of wandering around from store to store, the mobile app helps you find exactly what you want in seconds. ShopAround is also able to find the lowest priced and highest discounted items from your favorite stores.

The company has already partnered with 180,000 stores across the US in major retailers such as Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Sephora, and Best Buy. ShopAround was previously named Smart Aisles and reached over 160,000 downloads in less than two months. The firm reached the top 100 apps in the iPhone charts. It is still in the process of re-branding.

The market of researching online then purchasing offline is estimated to be one trillion dollars in the US alone. Through recent partnerships made at FounderFuel, ShopAround is now the leader of in-store product research with over 12 million products in the US. ShopAround has up to 250,000 searches per day.

Due to the fact ShopAround is only in the United States (for now), CEO Kevin Gibbon is moving to Silicon Valley in the fall. He was part of the C100’s 48 Hours in the Valley program and met with over 25 investors and entrepreneurs within one week during FounderFuel.

We had a chat with Kevin Gibbon, the CEO of ShopAround.

LOUIS: What did you learn that helped you most at FounderFuel?

KEVIN: I was able to take a look at our business through other people’s perspectives, allowing us to gain insights we never would have seen. Being able to talk with and learn from extremely accomplished mentors is such an invaluable trait of FounderFuel. Their mentor network is amazing.

LOUIS: Have you made profound changes to your business model?

KEVIN:  We completely changed our entire user interface and re-branded our product. We were focused purely on in-store deals. During FounderFuel we were taught to look to a much broader vision. We are now focused on in-store product search and discovery. Not only on-sale items, but everything! Before anyone purchases from a physical store, we want them to use ShopAround.

LOUIS: How do you monetize your activities?

KEVIN: Advertising. We are helping consumers make purchasing decisions. We offer a way for advertisers to influence shopping decisions right before point of purchase. This is a huge opportunity.

LOUIS: Do you want to raise funding?

KEVIN: Yes, we are currently raising a seed round from a combination of VCs and Angel investors. Stay tuned.

LOUIS: What are your objectives in one year?

KEVIN: We want to reach two million users and to expand to Android platform and the web. We hope to hire four or five engineers in Vancouver (I’m the only one moving to San Francisco). We just got back to Vancouver and are currently working out of the GrowLab office.

LOUIS:  Do you have plans for the Canadian market in the near future?

KEVIN: Absolutely! We will launch in Canada as soon as possible.