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Venture Notes, March 26, 2010
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Claritas Capital Managing Partner John Chadwick (left) told PEHub earlier this week that "mobile couponing" has caught his eye. Chadwick told the online newsletter, in part, "One of the hottest trends I've seen is in mobile couponing. Mobile advertising is securing a premium due to its interactivity, personalization and on-the-go features, but it looks like mobile coupon transactions are poised for one of the largest jumps. Analysts predict that the number of mobile coupons redeemed in North America is set to increase more than 10 times in 2010. And, about $2.37 billion worth of mobile coupon transactions will take place in North America in 2013, up from just $5 million this year. The mobile channel is also a natural fit for hyper-local advertising and direct-response advertising. One innovator to watch in this space," Chadwick said, "is edo Interactive [backed by Claritas, with First Avenue Partners and Clayton Associates] which is using SMS and smart-phone applications to alert consumers that discounts have been loaded to their credit or debit cards. Edo's platform requires no technology integration for retailers since the discount is automatically applied when consumers use their payment cards for a purchase. Solutions like edo's do not involve a significant change in behavior by either consumers or merchants, and early campaigns are showing up to a 12% redemption rate, which is more than 20 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons."

Nashville's 'MoonPie' on the horizon?
The entrepreneurs licensed to market "Moon Pies" from Chattanooga Bakery Company are considering opening MoonPie General Stores in Nashville and other cities. Tom Coker, co-owner of Charlotte, N.C.-based General Store Ventures LLC, told VNC that his MoonPie store-within-a-store in Chattanooga and his free-standing MoonPie General Store in Charleston, S.C., are doing "just fine," less than a year after their launch. So, Coker said he and co-founder John Shoffner are exploring franchising the store concept. Coker said he recently visited Gatlinburg, which he considers a target market, and has Nashville on his radar, as well. (It's not a new model: The Wood Group, which used to market MoonPies, markets Standard Candy's Goo Goo Clusters.)

Entrepreneur Geoffe Greene's water turbine technology got a close look
from the VCs at Innova Memphis, according to the Commercial Appeal, but apparently the parties couldn't agree on who would own the technology, inventor Greene or a new company propelled by outside investors. Greene was looking for about $50K, he told the CA. After publication of the CA story, Innova Fund President Ken Woody (left) confirmed for VNC that talks ended fruitlessly. Woody explained, however, "...Our practice is to invest in companies that own the intellectual property so we have invested in a real asset as opposed to just leasing or buying a product and taking service revenue off that product. We're seeing a lot of entrepreneurs now with incinerators, alternative energy generators and other devices that don't want to create a company that will generate jobs. They just want to sell a device and have people make money off that device. That's not our business." ♦

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Tags: Chattanooga Bakery Company, Clayton Associates, couponing, edo Interactive, First Avenue Partners, Geoffe Greene, Goo Goo Clusters, Innova Fund, Innova Memphis, intellectual property, John Chadwick, John Shoffner, Ken Woody, marketing, MoonPie, patents, PEHub, Standard Candy, Tom Coker, venture capital, Venture Notes

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