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Columbus, Ohio

Adam Goldberg of OffersBy.Me

Meet Adam Goldberg, founder of OffersBy.Me, a mobile app sending customers offers on items they want.

What is OffersBy.Me?

OffersBy.Me is a platform that connects in-market consumers with local businesses in real time via custom mobile offers. Here’s how it works. A consumer uses our website or our app and fills in the blanks to this statement: “I am looking to spend X dollars on X product.” For example, they may say, “I am looking to spend $50 on a restaurant.” Once we know what the consumer wants right now and what they want to spend, we deliver them offers from local restaurants that want their business. 

Today there are over 250 businesses making offers on OffersBy.Me. Half of them are restaurants, and the others are in various categories.

How did you come up with the idea?

About two years ago I was discussing the issues I had with Groupon. For me, the daily deals were fun at first. I like the randomness of the deal each day. However, after about a month of opening these emails I realized I never bought one and they started to repeat. I then thought it would be much better if somehow Groupon knew what I wanted to buy that day and sent me offers for that. And that is when it struck me. What if I was able to let the marketplace know what I wanted to buy and the businesses that have what I want could send me an offer good for that day.

What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?

This is my second startup so I didn’t have any of the first startup surprises like, “this costs a lot of money,” or “this takes a ton of time.” I guess the biggest surprise was how well the businesses received this idea. And how we are able to get tier one business to use OffersBy.Me when they would never use Groupon.

Where did you find your first employee?

My first employee is a friend of mine who had a lot of connections with local business owners or general managers in the restaurant and bar space. So he was able to open a lot of doors for me to pitch the value of OffersBy.Me.

What does a typical day in your business look like?

Signing businesses up is the most critical piece to our success. So I do everything I can to keep the selling hours for selling. That means I have early calls with my marketing team or my engineering team. I meet with my designers after 5pm usually. I then use my weekends to do things that aren’t as time sensitive, like doing financial reports, paying invoices, planning the next week, responding to interview requests etcetera.

What are some of the advantages to doing business in Columbus?

Number one has to be the cost of doing things here versus in New York City or in Silicon Valley. It takes about half the cost to get things done here as it does in other places. I also like the smaller community here. There is a network of tech entrepreneurs and great groups that get us together, like TechColumbus, 10-xelerator, Wakeup Startup, and Ohio State (OSU). I also like how you can get anywhere in this town in about 20-minutes. That includes getting from door to the gate at the airport.

What resources or organizations in Columbus did you take advantage of and how did they help?

I received investment from TechColumbus. I also rent an office in their space at 2122 Kinnear Rd. TechColumbus provides me access to a lot of free or discounted resources, such as in-kind legal services, accounting, design and PR. I have also taken advantage of a program through Ohio State called the Wheeler Intern Program. Through this program, I get an OSU intern for the summer, and the Wheeler program pays a good portion of their salary. Most of the interns I used through this program have gone on to work with me after the program ended.

Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?

It was May of 2007 and my last startup, ClearSaleing, needed a marquee customer. If we didn’t land a marquee customer soon we would have been out of money and out of business. Luckily we received a lead from American Greetings. They were looking to replace their current digital advertising agency and they really liked our technology.  However, technology cannot replace what an agency does. They needed a new agency and technology like ours. They wanted to get both from their new agency.

Now, we didn’t provide agency services. We only sold technology. But at that time we needed American Greetings, so I told them we have agency services as well. In fact, I told them that we have two ex-Google campaign managers on the team in addition to myself that was an ex-Googler. So they would be getting three ex-Googlers and killer technology.  The two other ex-Google people I knew ran a digital agency. We made a deal with them that they would white-label themselves as ClearSaleing employees, and do the agency work for American Greetings. This vaporware sale spring boarded ClearSaleing to the next level. Not only did we land a marquee customer that we could use to lure in other big names, but they paid us enough money to keep the business going and to allow us to grow. Sometime you have to sell what you don’t have to keep the lights on. 

What inspires you?

Being right. A lot of people have great ideas, yet very few ever follow through on them. I love turning a good idea into a reality. Better yet, it’s proving that your idea has legs and generates a profit, which means your intuition was right.

What founders do you admire and why?

I admire all founders. Anyone that takes that chance and puts their balls on the line is someone I admire. I don’t care if they succeed or not. I admire them for taking that chance and going for it.

Interview by Joe Baur

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