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Coups d'etat

Photo by Haylee Schiavo.
Photo by Haylee Schiavo.

Still completing business matters at 8 p.m., Louis Fu says it’s a typical night for him in the office. As the head of marketing for CampusCred, Fu says he enjoys working hard for this startup company that him and a few other colleagues nurtured over the strenuous summer.

CampusCred is a campus coupon provider headed by students from the University of California, Berkley and launched at ASU the week of Labor Day, by giving students a chance to get eight ounces of yogurt at Mojo for free.

Before popular coupon providers like Groupon and Living Social embarked on the social scene, CampusCred first launched at UC Berkley last summer after a few students saw a need and wished to fulfill that need through research and support.

“A lot of students wanted to try new things around the area but did not have the income or budget to support these costly demands,” Fu says.

Fu says that the purpose of CampusCred is to provide college students discounted prices for places they regularly visit and things they commonly buy. He says the company has aimed to offer more deals and has always had a vision to expand to other colleges across the country.

CampusCred has found success at the University of Texas Austin, which is the first school the business tackled outside California, after 1,200 deals for a free drink at a local coffee house were granted in a one-week campaign.

While it seems that businesses are losing out on profits, Fu says that businesses are willing to offer free deals because of the benefits that come from the exposure.

“Businesses really find the value in offering these deals and know that students will bolster the volume of business,” Fu says.

For the founders of CampusCred, their motivation does not concern profitability at the time.

“We are willing to take a smaller cut in order to develop relationships with vendors, and we are focused on making a great opportunity for students,” Fu says. “We will worry about profits later.”

It might seem foolish to put so much effort into building a business that has so many risks for so few benefits to start, but Fu says their focus keeps them highly motivated and widely competitive.

However, Fu says that CampusCred doesn’t always see itself as a competitor because of its drastically different approach to finding success and its goal of providing deals exceeding 40 percent savings.

“We focus on our quality and target places that students actually want to go to,” Fu says. “It’s easy to find stores, but it’s the interest of students and our interaction with them, in which we are gaining popularity.”

Fu says that every now and then other coupon providers will try and get in touch with them, and they are open to talking to companies and organizations that are doing the same thing they are.

But now other campus coupon providers are gaining leads through similar campus involvement and student interaction.

Founder of College Discount Cards Bruce Twersky says their presence at ASU has been well established for 11 years, totaling 22 semesters, lending some credibility to their business.

What differentiates College Discount Cards from other campus coupon providers is the actual product, which is not a one-time offer you access online. Students gain unlimited access to the deals on the card that can easily slip into your back pocket or wallet.

Twersky says the combination of their penetration on campus and their offers, which give students deals up to 100 percent in savings, has given them a sustainable competitive advantage.

College Discount Cards also has great visibility with cards located at the Memorial Union, and every freshman has received a card through RHA while The Vue distributes cards to all new residents.

With CampusCred and College Discount Cards working to achieve high standards granted through student feedback, it seems as if both companies have the student budget in mind.

“If a student is getting a really good deal, we end as winners,” Fu says. “We encourage students to use other deals if it’s saving them money, which is ultimately what we want, too.”

Whichever company crosses the finish line first with the best deal, it can be assured that students are going to be waiting at the end to raise the gold medal.


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