With all the new websites popping up here and there, it’s tough to compete and make it today, unless you have a unique and new idea.
For four local men, they launched a new website called Kungphoo and so far, it’s catching on. Co-founders Jarrett Wold, Robert Manea and John Russo are Rockland residents and Westchester’s Jazon Mazzaro was originally from Rockland.
They’ve teamed up and created Kungphoo, which has incorporated discount, ecommerce, classified and search into one self-serve, ease-of-use socially induced platform. Kungphoo is Google+ meets Craigslist meets Groupon. There are no fees, bidding nor memberships.
“John (Russo) and I have known each other since elementary,” said Mazzaro.
Russo has dabbled in internet site start ups but they never came to fruition. Manea came into the picture because he and Mazzaro have a technology company together.
“We were sitting around one day and John (Russo) came up with the idea,” said Manea.
“We saw a void for a self-serve medium,” said Russo.
Mazzaro added that this has been an ongoing idea for about a year now. "We looked at other startups like Groupon and eBay and saw they fell down a bit,” said Mazzaro.
As for the name, it took a while to come up with Kungphoo.
“We were trying to think of something catchy which is tough because a lot of names were taken. We went back to Yahoo and wanted something that had strong ties to a theme,” said Mazzaro, adding that Kungphoo is spelled similar to Yahoo and the theme of kung fu “can be really cool for icons.”
“Kung fu is fast and dynamic and you can do anything you want fast, which ties into the openness of the site,” said Russo, adding that Kungphoo caters to anything that is local, national or global.
The site launched on Oct. 4.
“The build is ongoing. The site is just version one. We may take out features and put some in depending on what the public leans toward,” said Mazzaro. “As we’re building it in-house, we’re looking for funding. Marketing is going to drive the site.”
“We’re looking for venture capital,” said Manea. “We’re looking for users, small businesses and traction on the site."
As of Oct. 18, their reach was 15,000 people and by Oct 24, they “currently reach 120,000 people globally, and climbing,” said Manea. “We hit Australia.”
Everything on the site is organized by circles. At the site, you can browse the circles for what you need or create a circle to buy, sell or ask for something. Anyone can create a circle in seconds, promote it to the social media world in less than two minutes, and reach thousands of people in no time. Inside circles people can communicate with the creator or each other, purchase items, take advantage of offerings, team up for discounts or just hang out and have a discussion, such as the Obamacare Forum.
Those who join circles can also promote it, by sharing it out to their social networks, thus hitting thousands of more people.
Russo’s reasoning behind the name ties into the fact that kung fu is fast, dynamic and open to any possibility. That diversity is present behind everything on the site.
“You can use any type of payment platform—such as Paypal, Amazon, etc …,” said Manea. “We’ve also stepped up Craigslist—you can pay someone ahead of time,” which gives an added security to sellers. The site is also open socially; users may log in through Facebook, Pinterest, etc …
Those looking to buy or sell will find that it’s very versatile.
“It’s so diverse. It’s not just product based, it’s services, anything,” said Manea, listing off potential examples: Healthcare, eye doctors, purses, charities or even host a nationwide book club.
For example, there’s currently a circle with a coupon for Modell’s.
In keeping with the theme of kung fu, the sign-up process is very fast. “Our process is less than two minutes to sign up.”
The site is constantly getting tweaked and improved. For the future, they’re looking at offering group bulk buying.
“We’re still working on it,” said Manea. “It’s a feature for down the road—bringing the vendor to the consumer. Vendors can also do bulk selling.”
For example, if a consumer wants a certain item, Kungphoo will seek out a vendor who is willing to sell the item at a price lower than retail if enough people are committed to buy it. Then, a circle will be created for that item, and once it reaches the right number of committed buyers, the vendor will sell that product at the lower cost. The same can be said for health insurance or other goods and services.
“We’re very excited about the launch and we think it’s going to change the landscape of social commerce,” said Manea.
Their slogan: Buy, sell, search, promote, Follow the PHOO—Start your Circle today.