Like most guys, Coby Dilling loves a good deal. But when his wife signed him up for Groupon last November, the 34-year-old high school English teacher wasn’t too impressed. “After a couple of weeks of the spa treatments and bikini waxes and whatnot, I actually went back to her and said, ‘Hey, honey, where are the man deals?’”
From that dinner conversation, ManDeals.com was born. The new daily deal site is launching Thursday, with a discount for the Iron Bull sports bar in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. (For $10, buyers of the coupon get $20 worth of food and drink). Over time, Dilling hopes to offer discounts on other things guys love: golf, white water rafting, sporting events and, of course, beer.
ManDeals joins a long list of other companies — commonly known as “Groupon clones” — that are attempting to draft off the success of the big daily deal sites.
“Groupon, for a certain audience, is fantastic. They’ve absolutely killed it,” Dilling tells GeekWire. But it wasn’t quite filling his needs as a man.
And even though Groupon is the top dog right now, Dilling also thinks the heavily funded Chicago company is vulnerable since many of the people who use the service never return to the local merchants for repeat business.
“It is a one-and-done, and, quite frankly, I don’t think that benefits those businesses that offer those deals,” he said. To address the problem, ManDeals.com plans to offer ongoing promotions for local merchants.
Right now, the company is comprised of seven part-time workers, including one other teacher, who pooled about $50,000 to get the idea off the ground. Dilling hasn’t quit his day job at Woodinville High School, north of Seattle. He’s hoping to juggle the hectic days until the summer vacation hits in June.
“The 20 hour days are starting to add up, but it has been a lot of fun,” he says.
But the summer won’t provide much of a break. Following up on the Seattle launch, Dilling plans to roll out sites in Boston, Denver, L.A. and San Francisco. Six other city sites also are in the works, and the startup is considering looking for additional capital from angel investors or venture capitalists.
If the startup meets with success, Dilling said he’s prepared to give up a teaching career that he loves.
ManDeals.com isn’t the only daily deal startup targeting guys. Dealometry launched a daily deal service last month, offering “smart deals for smart guys.” While ManDeals.com plans to focus on local neighborhood or regional spots, Dealometry initially has focused on discounts with retailers like American Athletics, which recently offered a 49 percent discount on Converse sneakers.