Local buying club startup seeing growth
Momentum is building for Manage My Co-op, a Eugene startup and maker of a software platform for cooperatives and buying clubs. The company helps users save money, time and effort on online grocery and retail group purchases.
Founded by Nathan and Kimmy Gustafson, the software allows users to place, modify and order bulk purchases through a single platform. Charging an optional 2 percent transaction fee, the duo believes their company will help lower the price one would have to pay for bulk orders by putting their clients in charge of how much they pay.
“We tell the members that our fee is optional, they can delete it if they’re having (financial) trouble. We don’t want to put anyone in the position where they can’t buy food. We trust them, we know them, this is our way of saying, ‘We care about you, too.’ The members do pay it. We’re offering value, and they see that,” said Kimmy Gustafson in an interview with the Register Guard.
Recent graduates of the RAIN Eugene Accelerator, a 12-week course providing mentorship, training, networking opportunities and coworking space for early-stage companies, Manage My Co-op says the program positioned them to accurately modify their working model in order to gain traction. Since February, the company says they are shifting their focus from just development to include both development and an aggressive sales and marketing plan.
“RAIN gave us the direction and focus we needed to know and what the next steps we needed to take were,” says Kimmy Gustafson. “RAIN helped us carefully interview our customers and build a program that is incredibly useful and powerful. Now we are shifting to sales as it is ready for mass deployment.”
In February, Manage My Co-op hit 800 registered users since closing their first order in April of last year. Over the next three months the company hopes to double the number of co-ops and users they have from 5 to 10 groups with over 1500 users. They also plan to implement a balance tracking system and develop a clear onboarding process for new groups and users seeking to join.
“A year ago we hadn’t even run an order. The software was still being developed,” said Nathan Gustafson. “[Now] we are finally gaining traction. We’ve been working with a small cohort of beta testers, but now we are actively onboarding new groups and users.”
Six months from now the company hopes to have successfully implemented the first stages of Manage My Co-op for Vendors as well as increase to over 30 actively registered groups.