Huntsville online shopping resource DealNews is about to turn 20 on March 31.
The company was founded in Huntsville in 1997, and it has since grown to one of the largest Alabama websites. DealNews now has offices in Huntsville, Dublin, Ireland and New York City, along with a few employees in Las Vegas. Their goal is to work around the clock letting customers know where they can find great deals on consumer products.
WAAY 31 spoke with co-founder and CEO Daniel de Grandpre about the company's two-decade growth and its recent move to its new headquarters in Downtown Huntsville.
How many people were around when the company was founded?
Two. There were just two. Myself and Richard Moss. Richard Moss is the owner of Pints & Pixels above U.G. White in downtown. Between the two of us we were able to build a nice little tiny company, and then over the years it became $1 million business and then a much larger business. We started with two employees and got to ten employees after a few years. We managed to scale it up continuously to get to 50 employees, and we finished 2016 with 105.
You're among some of the top websites in the world right now as far as how many people traffic your website. Can you talk about that?
There's a lot of people who use our products. The website alone is very large. Tens of millions of people use our website. We have a 25 million-long email address list of which 3 million people receive our news every month. Hundreds of thousands of people use our app. What's most interesting is the amount of things that they're buying. You use us to find something to buy that's on sale, and we generate about a half-a-billion dollars of e-commerce revenues for our clients.
Is that where DealNews get to bulk of its business? Is it advertising? What's been the key source of revenue that was such a success for your company?
When we started we would just display advertising just like almost every media property, and over time we realized we could service our clients better by working with them, actually figuring out what offers they have, and being able to take commission cost-per-click. One of the key things about what we do is you do not have to pay if you have a great deal. We will list it regardless of the seller. It's part of our editorial promise.
Why did you stay in Huntsville?
We stay in Huntsville because the engineering talent is fantastic. Now I grew up here and so did the co-founder, and that may be how we started here, but we're still here because of the engineering talent. You can get a Huntsville engineer for, let's face it, half the cost of a Bay Area or New York City engineer, and at least the same quality, if not better.
You just moved downtown. How do you like the space?
We love it. We are in the old downtown YMCA building. We have three floors of it, and I actually played basketball there a few times as a kid. All of us have these great offices that are quite epic. It's early 1900s architecture, and we are a modern e-commerce company taking up the space in there. It has this great feel because it has all these communal areas where we can meet and chat, have random interactions and be able to talk about the problems that we're going to solve.