Centzy Raises $1.6M in Seed Funding


So where do you go if you need a quick wash and blow dry in Washington? A haircut in Houston? A massage in Manhattan or to get a backrub in Boston for beans? Good question! 90% of local services’ prices are currently not posted online anywhere, so it’s difficult to find and compare everyday local services. Centzy, a New York-based local convenience comparison shopping engine, helps you find those services you need, where and when you need them. They combine data on proprietary pricing and store hours with existing online local business ratings and reviews, and maps the data to give you all the information you need in one place. That includes haircuts, massages, manicures, oil changes and yoga classes, in ten cities: New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, L.A., Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Boston.

They’ve just raised $1.6 million in seed funding from ff Venture Capital, Cowboy Ventures, Lightbank, Founder Collective and strategic AngelList angels, to expand geographically, and categorically. Centzy does not cover restaurants and bars, or complex services like contractors.

An ER Accelerator company that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2012 with 30,000 local businesses in 3 major cities, Centzy currently covers 400,000 local businesses, and consumer traffic is growing 25% per month. 60% of their traffic comes from mobile, despite the fact that they don’t yet have a mobile app.

“Pretty soon, consumers will be able to pick up their phone and immediately see prices and availability for every local service around them, anywhere in the United States, through Centzy,” said Jay Shek, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “This will be a huge step towards enabling online-to-offline local commerce on a large scale.”

Centzy is also a tool for merchants to acquire high-quality new customers.

“Consumers and merchants are frustrated with daily deal sites, which ‘push’ an offer to a mailing list of deal seekers,” Shek continued. “Centzy ‘pulls’ consumers right when they are ready to buy by offering very useful unique data like comprehensive pricing, hours and more. And because we skew mobile, we know exactly when and where they are looking for that service. We make money by driving these high-intent consumers to local businesses without extreme deals or discounts.”

Centzy started off covering just prices, but based on consumer feedback, they started posting store hours. Now they’re working on collecting offline specials. “15% of businesses on Centzy are running specials at any given time,” Shrek pointed out, “so we can build a richer set of local specials than daily deal sites. Centzy can be a true hyperlocal search and deals platform.”

The company will be using their latest round of funding to expand data coverage to more cities and business categories, and build out paid merchant tools. And considering that 60% of their traffic comes from smartphones currently, to build out their mobile app.

Which makes perfect Centzy.

About the author: Bonnie Halper

Bonnie Halper curates the StartupOneStop.com newsletter, which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs, and is currently being read in 50+ countries around the world.

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