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When All Else Fails, Make a Sweet Foursquare Hack: Freespeech Superpivots From Group Texting to Instant Deals

Mr. Fertel, founder of Dealburner.com.

Freespeech was serving half a million texts a day. But in a crowded market of group texting apps, some of which have received millions of dollars in funding and hired fancy PR teams, the three-engineer start-up wasn’t getting enough traction. About three weeks ago, former financial services coder-turned start-up entrepreneur Jason Fertel decided to throw in the towel. “It was hard to be seen amongst the 20 other applications that did the same thing,” he said. “On top of that, with Apple and Google and whoever else about to jump in that ring, it just didn’t make sense to continue with it.”

Bummer, Mr. Fertel and his team were shooting around some ideas at the keg at WeWork Labs in Soho when WeWork manager Matt Shampine started complaining about he kept checking in to a certain establishment where Fourquare was offering a free margarita, unaware that Scoutmob was offering a more hefty discount of half-off everything.

“It would be awesome if when I check in I get a text with those Scoutmob deals,” Mr. Fertel thought. He started building it right away, and a few days later dealburner.com took its first steps on the world wide web, serving up deals instantly to users who check in on Foursquare and Facebook Places. Read More