Most of us have a wallet or purse full of credit and membership cards, all with their own list of perks and discounts.
With the list of perks, let alone the possible combinations, up into the hundreds, who can keep track?
Enter Larky, the new Ann Arbor-based Web business that keeps track of all your possible perks, and a smartphone app that reminds you wherever you go.
Gregg Hammerman – a serial Internet entrepreneur whose first venture, while still a student at the University of Michigan in the 1990s, was a pioneering effort at putting professional standards online — got the idea for Larky on a family visit to Miami, Fla.
Hammerman walked into the Miami Children’s Museum with his family and quite by accident learned that his family membership in the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum made his Miami admission free.
“So instead of a $60 trip to the museum it was a free trip to the museum,” he said, which became really valuable “after my 3-year-old decided after half an hour that she didn’t want anything more to do with the place.”
Based on that experience, Hammerman started meeting with various institutions and affinity groups in Ann Arbor, from the hands-on museum to the University of Michigan alumni association, and Larky was born.
There are thousands of examples of deals people don’t know they can get, and that’s what Larky is about, Hammerman said.
“In Michigan we have all these people on Blue Cross,” he said. “Well, they have all these great deals worked out with everything from grocery stores to yogurt shops. People tend to forget they have these discounts.”
And some discount sources are more obscure: “We just did a deal with the Ann Arbor Transit Authority,” he said. “The AATA did deals at 45 restaurants downtown. Some of them are really good, like two for one. They want people to use those discounts so they will renew their bus pass.”
And then there’s the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which began offering a heck of a deal for state park visits a few years ago: Instead of a $25 park sticker for your windshield, park admission became just $10 added to your license plate renewal.
“They decided they should add perks behind that program, and they did a great job, but nobody knows about it,” Hammerman said. “There are like 900 merchants in Michigan where you can get perks if you are part of that program — hunting and fishing supplies, camping gear — but people never remember them.”
Well, Larky will, with the foolproof precision of a computer. And if you have the smartphone app, all you have to do is enter a store or ZIP code and you’ll get a reminder.
Larky has an office in downtown Ann Arbor. It has three full-time employees, three part-timers, “and we’re looking to hire,” Hammerman said.
The company has had local venture capital support from North Coast Investors L.P. and the First Step Fund, along with the state’s Michigan Pre-Seed Fund and private angel investors.
Go see what discounts you can get at www.larky.com.