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Chinoki: local, customizable deals platform launches mobile app built by AppRenaissance

Chinoki is a marketing platform that offers deals and specials, but founder Matt Balin promises it’s not like the others. Users get to pick and choose what local retailers they want to hear from (the name is Japanese for “cherry picker”), Balin says, while retailers also get to choose what demographic they want to target. […]

Chinoki is a marketing platform that offers deals and specials, but founder Matt Balin promises it’s not like the others.

Users get to pick and choose what local retailers they want to hear from (the name is Japanese for “cherry picker”), Balin says, while retailers also get to choose what demographic they want to target. That way, dudes aren’t getting offers for Brazilian bikini waxes. [Updated for clarity, see below]

Chinoki recently launched a mobile app, built by Old City mobile development shop AppRenaissance. The startup works with more than 120 local retailers like the Prime Rib, Primo Hoagies and Charlie’s Jeans. It hopes to expand into eight other cities by the end of next year.

AppRenaissance founder and CTO Scott Wasserman gave Chinoki a shoutout on Geekadelphia earlier this year, saying, “There’s some pretty innovative consumer loyalty stuff that is coming out of our labs and Chinoki is the first place that you’ll see it.”

(The app was the extent of Chinoki’s relationship with AppRenaissance, adds Balin.)

The company is a slight pivot from a previous iteration called MyChinoki.com that was more focused on text-message communications between retailers and consumers.

Chinoki, whose team is composed of four full-timers and three part-time employees, used to be based in Old City but recently moved into a bigger space at the Bellevue on South Broad Street.

Balin, 37, founded MyChinoki in 2010. A Temple University grad and longtime entrepreneur, he lives in Old City with his wife and child.

Updated 7/24/2012: Chinoki does not identify itself as a “daily deals site,” says spokeswoman Rebecca Morley, but, rather, a “marketing platform” that offers deals and specials.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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