Daniel Code-McNeil is looking for 10,000 Haligonians who want free stuff.
Code-McNeil is a co-founder of Antigonish-based Lootbag, one of the finalists in the recent I-3 Technology Startup Competition. The company is developing a data-driven app that helps corporations — mainly those in the consumer products space — send free samples to consumers and then assess the feedback. Now it is looking for 10,000 people in one city to receive the samples and is hoping Halifax will be that city.
Lootbag already has 7,000 followers from a range of locations, even though its app is not yet on the market. They signed up on its site (iwantloot.com) but the company is now trying to increase the geographic concentration in Halifax.
“We would love to have a product on the market in September because we feel it will be something that will be popular with students,” said Code-McNeil in an interview last week. “We think they will give us our best bang for our buck.”
Companies now send out free samples to people, including people with whom the corporation has an online relationship, either through a website or social media. However, these companies have no way of tracking the consumer reaction to the product.
What Lootbag is proposing is to assemble a list of followers who can browse through a range of products and choose the one that they’d like to have shipped free to their home. To receive another product, the consumers have to submit feedback on the one they just received. Lootbag then tabulates and assesses the feedback for the corporate client. Lootbag can even be used with existing campaigns run by corporations.
“There are product giveaways now — but the brands don’t get feedback and it’s an outdated system,” said Code-McNeil. “Lootbag is, we think, the better decision. Our goal is helping companies understand what consumers want.”
Code-McNeil and his co-founders Jason Young and Neil Grewal are now developing their consumer list and working on the latter stages of the app, which will be available on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems.
As the winner for the northern Nova Scotia region in the I-3 competition, the team received $100,000 in cash and in-kind services. They have hired a data analyst and are now finalizing a deal to hire a developer to help build out the back-end of their app — that is, the part that will help with the analytics and interface with the corporate customers.
Lootbag has identified about 10 consumer products companies with a strong web-based presence, and it hopes to work with some of them to target Halifax’s student population in the autumn.
With a list of 10,000 people in one area, Code-McNeil said Lootbag assumes that about half would request samples, and half of those would become active users. That would constitute a solid base of about 2,500 in one city that could give corporate clients and solid sounding board. And it would provide Lootbag a base from which to grow.