For the last three years, the team at SnipSnap has been focused squarely on one task: helping their 5 million mobile app users find coupons. They worked on perfecting that one functionality and building a userbase.
But this week, nearly a year after being acquired by Toronto-based visual search company Slyce for $6.5 million, the company launched its first major feature in years.
“We had been making incremental progress,” said SnipSnap founder Ted Mann. “We started to feel like we needed to do something exciting and new.”
It’s a look at how a local company is evolving post-acquisition. Called “Scout,” the feature is a concierge service for deals that looks beyond coupons. Snap a photo of a product you want to buy, answer some questions and the free service will tell you how to save money on it — through coupons or other techniques, like price matching and rebates.
Scout uses Slyce’s image recognition technology and taps several databases to find deals, including SnipSnap’s coupon database and a price-matching system SnipSnap built to scrape ecommerce websites and find the cheapest versions of products, Mann said.
The new feature follows a trend of concierge-style services, like Apple’s Siri, Facebook M and Magic.
SnipSnap uses a team of 50 part-time staffers based in Nova Scotia who work as quality assurance for Scout’s responses. They’re training the tool’s artificial intelligence, Mann said, but the hope is for the service to eventually be completely automated.
Facebook does the same thing, according to this TechCrunch report. That manpower is a perk of getting acquired by a larger corporation: SnipSnap shares that team with Slyce, Mann said.
The SnipSnap team of 10 still works out of its Center City office.
The other big changes post-acquisition were hiring-related: SnipSnap’s CTO Kostas Nasis left the company (he’s CTO at mobile company Amphetamobile, according to his LinkedIn) and developers Audrey Troutt (director of mobile development) and Chris Baglieri (VP of Engineering) joined the team from Artisan Mobile, which got sold to Tune this summer.