How Kris Petersen Created A Successful Daily Deals Company From His Kitchen Counter

by Tim Jahn on September 10, 2010

Kris Petersen was simultaneously training for the Chicago marathon and buying tons of Groupons.  He couldn’t use all the Groupons he was buying and ended up losing the money he spent on them.  He thought there had to be a secondary market to sell his unused deals.

But there wasn’t.  So Kris created one.  Every night after his full time job, he sat at the kitchen counter and coded away at his idea.

The fruit of Kris’ labor is DealsGoRound.com, a site where people can sell their unused daily deals from sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, YouSwoop, and many more.

How did Kris successfully launch a secondary market for daily deals from his kitchen counter?  Watch my video interview with Kris Petersen to find out!

Transcript

Kris Petersen:
My name is Kris Petersen and I’m the founder of DealsGoRound, which is the first secondary marketplace for the daily deal industry.

Everyone’s buying into these daily deals, daily, weekly, and accumulates this inventory of them, and for one reason or another, decides they either can’t make it to that massage six miles away or are never going to be able to use this restaurant certificate before it expires in two days.

Now they have a place to go unload those or resell those to the rest of the community so they can basically not be lost to that restaurant or to whatever merchant sold those deals.

My background as an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for things to make my personal life easier. I’m not ever really searching out that billion dollar idea that’s just going to come right away. It’s something to make my life easier and that’s really where DealsGoRound was launched.

I took the technical skills I had from previous startups and built DealsGoRound basically from the ground up on my own. So that was launched in very early March, and I launched on a Sunday night. By the time I woke up Monday, I already had my first deal posted by a complete stranger.

It was pretty surreal to wake up and see that, and then less than three weeks after that it was on the front page of the New York Times technology section. It just exploded very quickly. I think at that time, anything related to the daily deal industry was hot news, so it was a twist on something that was already hot, so I think that’s kind of what really propelled it into the mainstream media for a quick blip of time.

And then it kind of ceased back a little bit, but since then it’s been gaining steam and growing and growing, so it’s kind of taken on a life of its own, so it’s very exciting.

Tim Jahn:
How did the stranger who bought the first deal and the New York Times – how did they both find you, and find the site?

Kris Petersen:
I was just wondering that, before you came in, so I could explain this part of the story, and I honestly can’t recall. I may have put a post on Craigslist saying hey come check out my new website, but literally, it was twelve hours later that there was somebody there that had posted something.

There was no SEO going on, no PPC…it was very – no, no press release. Very grassroots. Launched in the stands of a basketball game at a gym, so this was nothing that I was in an incubator with a bunch of funding to launch this thing.

It was really something I built to put out there to serve my own needs and that I thought was a good idea that other people could benefit from.

Tim Jahn:
What were your hopes on that Sunday night, for waking up Monday morning? What were you hoping would happen?

Kris Petersen:
I think my hopes were, I was going to get ready to send out that email to all my friends and my Facebook friends to say hey, look what I created. It was very satisfying to wake up and see that, prior to even sending that out, someone saw the value in what I was doing.

Tim Jahn:
They say it’s all in the execution, but how do you actually say, alright, here’s my idea, let’s do it?

Kris Petersen:
Right. For me, that’s just a natural part of my personality. I like doing those kind of things. I like taking an idea and bringing it up to be something useful, and again, make my life more simple.

The execution of it was really a lot of thanks that has to go out to my wife, who sat and watched me sit at the kitchen counter and code this thing for months at a time, in the evenings after my full time day job.

But that’s my personality. I got this idea – I probably sat on this idea a month or two before I really thought, you know, if someone’s going to do this, it’s got to be done now, if I want to be the first person out there.

It’s got to be done right away. And I need to do it right. So, I went into that full speed ahead as much as I could part time. So in the evening s after work from 6pm to 2am coding at the kitchen counter was really what it took for me to get this launched.

It was something that I knew would be valuable to folks and it was motivating enough for me to go home every night and jump on this and keep it going. It was really my personal drive that wanted to get this up and running. As opposed to maybe a blog or something that I’ve talked about starting for four or five years and I kind of do a piece here, a piece there, but I never really see the personally, the success in that, compared to something like this where I realize, no one is doing this.

This is a huge area of opportunity and I think I can do it right.

Tim Jahn:
Have you had other ideas like this in the past? Not this specifically but have you had ideas where you just – the ideas were so important in your mind you had to spend 6pm to 2am every night on the kitchen counter?

Kris Petersen:
Yeah, this is really number two in the startups that I had launched. The original startup that I launched is called NeighborHuddle.com, which is basically a CMS for condo and homeowner associations. I’m a condo president, good or bad, wrong place wrong time, ended up as the guy who needed to tell everyone in the building…

Tim Jahn:
It always sounds like nobody wants to be the condo president!

Kris Petersen:
It’s a volunteer job that you don’t get paid for and it’s nothing but problems. Nobody ever comes to you and says hey, great job for being president! Actually, I shouldn’t say that – once in a while I get an email.

In general, it’s something that takes time away from everything else in your life. So I needed a way to stop going door to door and passing out flyers, and trying to figure out who was in this parking spot when they should have been in that parking spot.

So I built an online platform for all the residents to really have a sense of community, and it’s the go to source for all of the information from the legal side all the way down to the community, meet my neighbor I’m having a barbeque perspective.

That was really my sandbox for teaching myself the technical skills to what ultimately turned into DealsGoRound and some of the other projects I’m working on. I have a business degree in school but I’m self taught technically. All of that information that I took here was that 6 to 2am time slots sitting at the kitchen counter learning PHP and learning MySQL and A/B testing of what works and what doesn’t work.

So all those concepts I’ve played around with with NeighborHuddle, which still is running today, but basically, with DealsGoRound, took all those various bits and pieces and smashed them into one.

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