Thanks to an extra-long grocery store cash register receipt, Humber graduates Vincent Panepinto and Nicholas Wiktorczyk are changing the way merchants connect with their customers.
“It was, like, two feet long,” laughs Wiktorczyk. “We thought we could do better.”
The Global Business Management graduates are two of the co-founders of Spently, a newly launched web application that allows merchants to send customized email receipts – saving paper and costs, and providing marketing opportunities.
“Spently turns a passive transaction with a boring, wasteful paper receipt into an opportunity for merchants to build relationships with their customers,” says Panepinto. “Merchants can customize the receipts to include offers, news about events and promotions, and social media links. It’s a paper-free, sustainable solution that will increase customer engagement and reduce customer frustration over multiple or lost paper receipts."
Spently.com began as a first-year project. The pair, now 25, met while they were both studying at the University of Western Ontario, and came to Humber after their undergrad degrees specifically to learn about starting their own business.
Through the encouragement of a professor, they applied for $8,000 in seed funding through Humber’s New Venture Fund.
Since graduating in April 2011, the young entrepreneurs have turned that $8,000 grant into more than $150,000 from investors which has helped them to launch with merchants and hire full-time staff. The application is now being used at yoga and fitness studios across Canada, as well as on the e-commerce platform Shopify.
“Without Humber’s investment and belief in our plan, the project wouldn’t exist today. Our goal was to create a business that could be used by any merchant anywhere in the world. The Global Business Management program taught us how to do it,” says Panepinto. “Our professors were fully supportive and helped us to refine our business model. And even though we graduated more than a year ago, we still meet with them regularly for advice – and coffee.”