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Celebrities fund consumer savings startup Checkmate

Everybody has. Shopping online and desperate for a promo code to save money.
I was there.
Enter Checkmate.
The startup wants to end promo/discount/coupon code hunting. For that, it raised $15 million in Series A funding.

This raise had some interesting features. Checkmate recently raised $5 million. Raising capital soon after another round is rarer now. Second, its rapid growth.

Today, it announced over 400,000 users, including 60,000 daily active users, after reaching No. 1 in the Apple App Store last year. Checkmate has 600,000 TikTok and Instagram followers.

Third, its investors are diverse. Mantis VC, Wischoff Ventures, BDuck Capital, and DST Global partner Saurabh Gupta participated in its latest round, led by Google Ventures (GV). Paris Hilton, Honey, Pinterest, Ancestry.com, Rakuten, Google, Grindr, Amazon, Linktree, and Brex CEOs and executives are angel investors.

What makes Checkmate so popular?

Its free iPhone app “pulls all your shopping into one place, tracks your packages and saves you money on 40,000 online stores.” The company bets that most people ignore marketing emails because they end up in a “promotions” folder. It also wants to stop sending shoppers promotional texts they can ignore.

After installing the app, Checkmate will apply all discounts to online purchases. It finds codes online, extracts codes from email, and partners “exclusively” with some brands on new codes to save users “2x more than the competition.”

Safari extensions power the app. The company says this is important because more people are shopping online and using their phones. Live order updates, package tracking, and sales notifications are available on desktop.

GV partner Frederique Dame believes Checkmate’s “viral growth over the past eight months demonstrates early product-market fit.”

She said, “The last decade has seen a boom in e-commerce, but our shopping experience hasn’t changed until now. We trust Checkmate’s technology, team, and approach to reaching new consumer audiences.”

Harry Dixon, Rory Garton-Smith, and Elliot Rampono founded Checkmate in late 2021. Dixon (CEO) worked with famed architect Frank Geary, and Garton-Smith (CTO) managed iPhone engineering projects at Apple for two years.

The three have big plans. They want “a personalized end-to-end shopping experience” or a personal shopping assistant.

“As we evolve, we believe the entire shopper experience should be personalized based on shopping habits and interests, so that shoppers feel like recommendations are helpful rather than the endless spam they’re familiar with.”

Affiliates make the company money. After driving traffic to a retailer, it takes 1% to 7% of purchases, depending on the retailer and item.

Garton-Smith: “We fundamentally think there’s an opportunity to reinvent online store marketing.”In two years, we want big online stores to use Checkmate for marketing campaigns. We want to be the marketing platform, not just promote their efforts.”

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