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Make sure that you’re really passionate and love the idea behind your startup, before you actually go into business

GreenJinn cash back app that aims at helping people afford healthier lifestyle

Please introduce yourself and your startup GreenJinn to our readers!
I am Giuseppe Licari, CEO and co-founder of GreenJinn together with Roberto Amerighi, the CFO. We are from Italy and we moved to London to start GreenJinn, where the coupon market is experiencing a steady growth. The Team are also from all around Europe, with members from Italy, Poland and of course, the UK.

GreenJinn makes saving money quick and easy. Our mission is to help people afford everyday groceries, whilst inspiring them to live healthier. Our app offers users coupons tailored to their tastes, so that they can save money and time, without compromising on quality. After buying products at the supermarket, the genie gives users cash back straight into their PayPal or bank account. Customers can save more than £100 monthly!

How did you get the idea of GreenJinn?
We were looking for an easy way to cut our grocery bills, without starving ourselves or having to buy junk food. So, we decided to start our own service: GreenJinn. For us, traditional paper coupons are too time and effort consuming, whilst most of other cashback apps don’t seem very user-friendly and offer the same products to everyone – many on junk food or obscure products. Also, from our experience, supermarkets’ loyalty cards have become less and less rewarding and often lead us to buy products we don’t need.

That’s why we set out to create a simple and quick cashback app, rewarding shoppers for being loyal to their favourite brands, buying everyday, quality products and trying new ones. We believe we can empower consumers, and together, we can stimulate brands and supermarkets to offer healthier and more affordable products.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Creating a business from the ground up can be costly. We didn’t start out with a ton or resources (or money!) and so building a stable team has been challenging at times. Similarly, developing efficient software hasn’t been an easy feat.

After developing the iOS app and our B2B platform for the coupon suppliers, we released the app on the AppStore at the beginning of October 2016. Following the first launch, we were met with a huge demand for an Android version, and so we released a limited beta version of the Android app last December. On the first day of the release, we reached Google’s 1,000 download limit for beta apps!

To build our active community, without a huge budget, we constantly engage with them via social media (active Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest profiles and a closed Facebook group), through competitions, polls, surveys etc. We also write regularly on our blog and send a newsletter, keeping our users updated with al all our developments and asking them for feedback and advice at every major step we take. We’ve had a few collaborations with money saving, food bloggers and other influencers who helped us spread the word and gave us invaluable insights about our users.

Now, 9 months on, we have over 40,000 users of which more than 3,000 are active on a weekly basis and a user-friendly app on both iOS and Android. Due to the high demand from our community, spreading awareness about the app, we’re working on adding more shops, brands and improving the app.

Who is your target audience?
In the UK, GreenJinn seeks to help minimise the grocery bills for the estimated 11.5 million individuals aged between 20-40 and earning £16-80k. This includes smartphone users: mainly Millennials, mums and families – often foodies, who want to save money but also care about their health and wellbeing. We noticed that for most of them, loyalty cards and traditional paper coupons are not convenient or rewarding enough. They expect a fast, easy and personalised user experience..

What is the USP (Unique selling point) of your startup?
We offer a unique service that customises offers to users’ needs: users can select their preferences and, every week, they receive coupons on the kind of products they like. We’re also the only cash back app that aims at helping people afford healthier lifestyle.

Can you describe a typical workday?
Being true Italians, our typical workday usually starts with an espresso, followed by a catch up with our team of developers. We’re always working to add more features to the app and get everything to work as smoothly as possible.

Communication between team members is a key element of the company, to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal. Once all the team have arrived, we have a quick meeting to inform each other about the developments of each project, to convey ideas, generate discussion and coordinate activities. Then, while I discuss with our developers the improvement of the app and work towards increasing the brands in our portfolio, Roberto takes care of our network of investors and handles data analysis. The rest of the team, managed by Agnieszka Krawczyk, the CMO, manages offline and online marketing activities, customer care and app user experience.

Where do you see yourself and your startup GreenJinn in five years?
We’re currently preparing a crowdfunding campaign, which will allow us to raise funds for multiple initiatives. We’re redesigning our app and planning to add new supermarkets and brands to our portfolio. By next year, we want to grow the user base to 200K. Moreover, the “phase 2” of our project includes an international expansion in the US, where the coupon market is flourishing.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Always take a customer-centric approach. Customers are the bread and butter of any business: no customers, no business. Try walking in your customer’s shoes and understanding their needs. Don’t just solve their problems, but go above and beyond to give them that ‘WOW factor’, you’re sure to be remembered that way. Also, make sure to collect feedback, involve customers in the decision making process and work with them to find solutions to problems. If one customer is having trouble, chances are they’re not the only one.

Make sure that you’re really passionate and love the idea behind your startup, before you actually go into business. You will often work nights, you won’t have time for yourself, you’ll be extremely stressed and exhausted and possibly without money and prospects. You’ve got to be ready to put it all on the line! Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons and that you’re not just doing it for your ego. Your startup will be there 24/7 and you need to be completely committed, so that you don’t shy away when things get tough. Your love and fascination for your area of business will keep you going through thick and thin.

Know your numbers. Numbers aren’t always the most exciting part of business. But they’re what it all boils down to. Whilst you don’t need to be a number crunching machine, it definitely helps to have a few of the most important figures memorised in case you need to reel them off at short notice… trust us, this will happen. Once you’ve got your numbers down, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and show them to the world!

More information you will find here

Thank you Giuseppe Licari for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsaesser is an experienced entrepreneur and media/startup expert. Since 2016, she has served as the Chief Editor and CEO of StartupValley Media & Publishing. In this role, she is responsible for managing the company and providing strategic direction for its media and publishing activities. Sabine Elsaesser takes great pleasure in assisting individuals and businesses in reaching their full potential. Her expertise in establishing sales organizations and her passion for innovation make her a valuable advocate for startups and entrepreneurs.
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