By Riley Kaminer
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, employing half of the US workforce, leading innovation, and creating new jobs at a rapid pace.
For all that to work though, simply put, small businesses need to sell stuff. But increasingly, small businesses find themselves competing against some of the world’s mammoth corporations.
That’s why Jenna Hage-Hassan is on a mission to empower small businesses to grow on their terms. “Around 25% of small businesses don’t even have a fully fleshed out web presence,” she told Refresh Miami.
Meanwhile, online lead generation can cost businesses as much as $100 per lead, “not even a conversion,” she notes – emphasizing the tough spot small businesses often find themselves in.
So in 2016, Hage-Hassan launched Kee. For $35 per month, local small businesses can glean real-time insights into how many customers are in a competitor’s shop at a given time or day.
“If there’s a business that is particularly popular, you can issue a competitive offer on the fly to bring people into yours,” explained Hage-Hassan [pictured above].
The inspiration for Kee came to Hage-Hassan when she noticed a longtime Pizzeria-Brewery in her hometown of Detroit struggle to retain customers when a new competitor moved in nearby.
“It was really sad to see this community establishment, an older business, empty at lunchtime with a line literally wrapped around the corner for the one across the street.”
But that didn’t last for long. “One day I walked outside during peak lunch hours and saw that the bartender at the older business had taken a piece of plywood and spray painted ‘dollar off beers for the next 30 minutes.’ And when he put the sign up, everybody ran across the street. So essentially what we do is we digitize that experience.”
Customers can hear about offers such as this either through Kee’s consumer-facing app or through social media ads that Kee helps the business set up.
Pre-covid, Kee had grown to serve 3,000 businesses across Michigan, plus about 1,500 consumer users. The pandemic hit Kee hard, but the company has been able to retain the majority of those users.
In late 2021, Hage-Hassan relocated to Miami and brought Kee with her. “We could have chosen any city, but we chose Miami because of our tech ecosystem. I have nothing but positive things to say – everyone is so willing to lend a hand.”
Since then, the business has gone through the Techstars Founder Catalyst Program for female founders in Miami and inked a partnership agreement with Mastercard. Kee has also entered a strategic partnership with Qatar-based Spendwisor, which will enable both platforms to expand geographically while leveraging each other’s resources.
Kee has six full-time employees. Currently, the app is open to businesses in Miami but is not yet open to consumers.
Looking forward, Hage-Hassan has one goal on her mind: “driving down those lead gen costs for small businesses.”
READ MORE IN REFRESH MIAMI:
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- Finally raises $95M to automate back-office functions for small businesses
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