Startup Ottawa points out a Canadian company at the TechCrunch50 conference that I missed. Gazaro, incubated under Apption in Ottawa, had a spot in the DemoPit. Still in closed beta, Gazaro describes itself as a "personalized sales flyer", that crawls online stores and flyers for sales based on your location and interests. The sales are then delivered to you by email or RSS.
"The Gazaro platform is focused entirely on sales, not regularly priced items. We classify, personalize and deliver only the sales that fit your shopping interests so you don't have to scour flyers, websites, and forums each day to sniff out the good deals in your own city," explains Sam Zaid, Gazaro's CEO. "It's really about helping solve the information overload problem, particularly with the Facebook generation that rarely ever take the time to browse through newspapers or flyers."
That's for sure: any flyers I get go directly to recycle, and the environmental impact of receiving them week after week bothers me. I'm looking forward to trying it.
It seems that there was some interesting drama surrounding Gazaro and a People's Choice contest that was being run in the TechCrunch50 DemoPit. Attendees were given poker chips to award to their favorite startups, and the startup with the most chips would win honour and stage time. Apparently other startups disapproved of Gazaro's use of "booth babes". A first hand report via XpertLane:
With the RULES not being clearly defined, there was heck of a confusion as to understand what the ethics is around collecting votes (chips). Companies like GAZARO went on a hard core marketing campaign (popularly refered as “the red girls”) backfired with the company being blacklisted for unethical chip manipulation. Wednesday saw PeoplesBrowsr coming up as a strong contender, but also disqualified for collecting chips the earlier day (source: rumour). Several Demo Pit participants helped PeoplesBrowsr since they did not quite appreciate GAZARO’s marketing. Not all companies had “girls” like gazaro did. However, without clear guidelines from TechCrunch as to how you should get votes - it was a chaos among Demo Pit participants. Michael and his team hopefully learned a few tips from this.
I could only track down one picture of said girls. Cheap tactic? Sure. Unethical? These things are dependent on the tone of the event. No such thing as bad publicity though, and there's worse things than disqualification because your marketing is too effective.
You can site up for a beta invite on the Gazaro front page.