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What it takes to secure $400k pre-revenue seed funding

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Phil Tran, founder of DealzTap, and his small but mighty team of six employees have large ambitions. They succeeded in raising over $400,000 from investors in Australia and the US before DealzTap had even made one dollar of revenue.

This shows that the team’s ambition is not misplaced. Their vision is to reach one million downloads by 2018 and be the world’s number one shopping app by 2020.

To do this, he has created a digital platform where consumers and retailers can connect with much more efficiency and accurately.

DealzTap is the “Uber of coupons”. It uses location technology to push deals from nearby businesses to potential customers via their mobile device.

“Before joining The Entourage my biggest struggle was knowing where to start”

Transitioning from brochures, vouchers and coupons to a paperless option for distribution of deals means cutting the cost of producing these materials, and cutting the cost to the environment as well.

Phil saw an opportunity for businesses to connect with customers with greater efficiency and accuracy. What better customers to market to, than those who are right outside your door? Less than two months from when he was struck with the initial idea, DealzTap was launched on iTunes.



What inspired you to start DealzTap?
We identified a personal need for which we felt was a gap in the market: the ability for retailers to market directly to consumers in the area, and for customers to look for nearby deals when they are ready to spend.

I would often ask the question, “What are we having for dinner tonight?”, and wished that there was a service that told me where the nearest deals were. I knew that would solve my dinner dilemma whenever I didn’t want to cook.

Imagine you are out in the city, and it’s time to head home. You open DealzTap on your mobile and find a deal at The Hilton: one night for $100 … with late checkout. Would that solve your ‘getting home’ dilemma? So DealzTap was born from real life problems.

There are a number of deal apps already on the market, what makes DealzTap different?
Most deal apps are just traditionally paper-based coupon businesses moving to a digital format. It’s a digital version of a paper coupon with no additional benefits.

They are often still heavily dependent on the paper-based side of their business, and still have the distribution and printing costs associated; increase in distribution means an increase in cost.

DealzTap is a purely digital platform so we do not have the overheads that these traditional paper-based businesses have. We let retailers create and manage their own promotions, and view analytics on each deal in order to make better business decisions.

For users, as soon as you load the app, it immediately shows you the nearest deals based on your location; there’s no sign-up, no registration, no barriers. Just load the app, redeem the deal and enjoy the savings.

We have helped thousand of entrepreneurs like Phil build their businesses. If you want to learn about how we can help you, secure a free exploration session here and start the conversation with us. 

What has been your biggest win?
Forming an A TEAM that works extremely well together while giving each other space to fully explore our talents.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received since starting?
Having an A grade team with a B grade idea is better than having an A grade idea with a B grade team.

What has been one of your biggest challenges in business so far? 
The biggest challenge has been looking for pre-revenue investors. Never turn down an opportunity to meet like-minded people as it’s always a door that leads to another door… and you never know if there is a potential investor behind that door.

In your initial dealings with investors, did you receive any critique or criticism that ultimately lead you to improve your product?
Yes, we had a huge plan of all these functions that we wanted to incorporate into our app, that we thought were cool, but would have cost us a lot of money to build.

We were advised to create a 12 month product roadmap and break it down into bite-size chunks: get market feedback, tweak, iterate, improve based on that feedback and continue to do that for the entire 12 months, chopping and changing where it make sense.

This saved us a lot of money that we would have otherwise burned through developing functions that may not be the right fit during the early stages, but better off implementing during growth and scale stages of business.

It also shortens our development lifecycle, which allows us to prioritise the most important functions for implementation first, and really scrutinise every dollar we spent on development.

What books have inspired you the most?
1. UnProfessional by Jack Delosa
2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
3. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

In one word, how would you describe your life as an entrepreneur?

If you were to start your entrepreneurial venture again from the start, what would you do differently?
I would start with investing in my self-development much earlier.

What impact has The Entourage and our community had on your business and your life?
Before joining The Entourage, my biggest struggle was knowing where to start. Simple as that. As entrepreneurs, there was nothing out there to prepare us for the challenges ahead and what entrepreneurship really means.  

Being involved with The Entourage has totally changed my mindset and outlook on life, as well as preparing me well for the battles ahead. Jack touches on several key points during the program that really resonated with me, and now my mission, vision and values are infused in everything that I do.

Here are more recommended articles for you:
Smashing Their Crowdfunding Target by $8,000 With Complete Confidence
Aleisha Doubles Her Media Empire in 5 Months
People Who Dream: Megan Arnaudon


About The Entourage

The Entourage is Australia’s largest educator and community of entrepreneurs with over 100,000 members around the world.

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