“Bolder” Startup Revamps Groupon Model to Do Some Good


By Dinesh Thirupuvanam

With Groupon copycats now a dime a dozen it’s refreshing to see someone take their billion dollar model and put it to work for some good.

Bolder, a San Francisco based startup, is challenging you to “create more good in your community, one action at a time.” So what happens if you rise to the occasion? Well, as with all good challenges, there’s a tasty reward.

This week, Bolder is challenging its community to “Buy Local” and the challenge is sponsored by Charles Chocolates and SF Made. When consumers complete the challenge (and hopefully pick up some of the fresh white peaches that are in season), they can then head over to www.ActBolder.com, create an account, and write a tweet-like blurb that shares their story with the Bolder community. Once a customer shares an “action”, they get a reward.

Happy customer comments from this week include: “Bought 2 cups of lemonade from the local kids lemonade stand! Wish I took pics!” – Kevin W., and “I always buy Jersey Fresh produce. Today I bought some corn at the corner farmstand. Will be grilling later tonight!” – Ankur P.

Bolder has been issuing challenges for almost 3 months now — the focus varies from supporting community (“Buy Local”) to reducing environmental footprints (“Stay out of your car today”) to just stopping to smell the roses (“Share a moment with someone special”). Users can also vote on the “boldness” of a particular action. At the end of the week, the boldest action is written up on the Bolder blog, and in some cases the do-er receives an extra reward — the boldest action from the “share a moment” challenge earned a free box of truffles.

The rewards aren’t the hefty 50-90% off deals we’ve come to expect from Groupon, but they’re not bad and they appear to be getting better over time. My hunch, however, is that the real reward with Bolder is much simpler — the experience of doing some good and sharing it with others. Is it enough to tip the scale and attract the following that Groupon now boasts? Only time will tell. But in a world of BP oil spills and Lindsay Lohans, it’s still inspiring to remember (and read about) all the good that’s being done out there.

Here’s hoping all of us become a little bit bolder.


Dinesh Thirupuvanam runs an Eco Buying Group for small businesses called the Viv Biz Club. Viv helps businesses pool their purchasing power to save up to 80% on sustainable products, including compostable cups, biodegradable food packaging, and recycled office supplies.

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2 responses

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Luke! I actually met one of the co-founders, Matt, earlier this week as well. Cool guy and clearly quite bright.

      PS – looks like we're connecting left and right online these days :-)

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