Student-founded CampusCred sells vouchers to local businesses
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Category: News > University > Student Life
Last August, UC Berkeley junior Sagar Shah did not expect much from the new business he had founded and launched with several other students last semester.
CampusCred started by selling discount vouchers to students for Berkeley businesses through tabling, fliering and online advertising. They also gave the businesses the opportunity to raise students' awareness of their presence beyond their storefront and have since expanded to six other universities, Shah said.
"Berkeley was our pilot project to see if (the idea) worked at Cal and at college," Shah said. "We thought we'd sell 20 to 30 vouchers per deal, but our success was surprising."
Instead, 235 vouchers were sold for CampusCred's first deal with the Cal Student Store, and for the first time in its history, the organization reached 1,000 sales for a deal offered in conjunction with La Burrita - launched March 13, according to Shah.
"We wanted to explore the new media of Internet advertising and marketing, and they seemed to have a good following," said Izat Eliyan, manager and partner at La Burrita. "In the beginning, I thought maybe about 500 (tickets would be sold), as it was close to spring break. That was my estimation, but when it got to 1,000, I was like 'wow.'"
Eliyan said he had worked with CampusCred in the past to promote D'Yar on Durant Avenue, a business he co-owns, and received a good response.
Offering students a $10 voucher for La Burrita for a $5 payment seemed to be a good way to give back to students to show his customers that he appreciated their business, Eliyan said.
The organization's previous success in providing exposure for businesses also appealed to Sam Nassar, a partner at Northside Cafe. CampusCred will offer a $10 voucher for the cafe for a $5 payment.
"A couple of my fellow business friends had used them before - I know the people at CREAM and Urban Turban, and I wanted to give it a shot and see how it works," Nassar said. "A lot of people who live on Southside don't know us and we wanted to increase that exposure."
After operating on campus for only seven months, the organization has saved students over $125,000, providing deals for students on rock climbing, at CREAM, at Green Choice Moto and at the Cal Student Store, according to Shah. Since January, it has also expanded its operations to six other colleges - UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, USC, UC San Diego and San Diego State University.
"Students really love it," said Joy Siao, director of UC Santa Cruz's CampusCred. "It gives them a chance to explore their campus more."
Not all students are convinced, though. Jonathan Dahan, a sophomore psychology major said the price difference is too little to use the service.
"It's cool if you're interested in something they're showing, but usually things aren't that much cheaper," he said.
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