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May 2, 2007
Modern Day Mobile Technology

Question: What is it that 95 percent of consumers refuse to leave home without?

Answer: Their cell phones.

Cell phone technology is transforming consumer habits. Ninety-five percent of cell phone users take their cell phones wherever they go, and they are ready and eager to put them to use in new ways. Consumers are always looking for a deal, and now coupons are available on cell phones, allowing advertisers to reach the 220 million cell phone users in the U.S. any time, any place.

Retailers spend $7 billion annually printing and distributing coupons, with dismal results. Only .63 percent of coupons are redeemed. Mobile technology is poised to win a significant portion of those advertising dollars because of its ease of use. The convenience of "instant" coupons on a cell phone has an ROI far surpassing advertising dollars spent on paper coupons. And, on a cell phone, coupons can't be lost, thrown out or forgotten.

Cellfire is a new technology that enables savvy shoppers and budget-conscious consumers to save money when they are dining out, shopping, or just having fun. It's a one-of-a-kind program designed to be fast and intuitive, allowing users to have their own set of discounts and offers specific to their geographic locations. And, the redemption rate is averaging 20 percent, blowing away the paper coupon rate.

Mobile technology needs to be fast and easy to use. Consumers don't have the patience for a 30-second download of anything. We have found at Cellfire that consumers respond to speed, accessibility and value. Anything that can be put on a cell phone offering those attributes will change consumer habits.

Cellfire's application sits on the cell phone like any other easy-to-find application. A user can program smart keys so that Cellfire is prominently placed on the screen. Users simply click on the coupon they want and show the coupon code to the store employee. Cellfire users never need to clip paper coupons.

Cellfire users can find deals offered by Domino's Pizza, Hardee's, Hollywood Video, T.G.I. Friday's, 1-800-Flowers, Condé Nast Publications, Omaha Steaks, North Beach Pizza, Pizz'a Chicago, Red Rock Coffee and more.

Already, we have seen huge numbers in downloadable cell phone products. Ring tones are now a $4.4 billion global business. Music is played on cell phones, and it won’t be long before credit cards will be integrated into them as well. In short, consumers are becoming increasingly dependent on their phones for a variety of their needs. Putting coupons on cell phones and having those deals available any time, anywhere for the consumer is yet another application that will add value to a “must-have-at-all-times” piece of equipment.

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Brent Dusing is co-founder and CEO of Cellfire, the first-ever nationwide service that provides mobile phone users with free coupons from top merchants, specific to their geographic locations. Before co-founding Cellfire, Dusing was at Menlo Ventures, responsible for generating new investments including KeyEye, Invidi, Centrality, MailFrontier, newScale, and Entone. Dusing worked with senior management at many of these companies, focusing on product strategy, sales, fundraising, and financial planning. Brent has a BA from Harvard University.

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