Blissmo's founder, Sundeep Ahuja, says he doesn't want to be a green version of Groupon. He wants to stop climate change. "We're on a mission to shift consumption patterns," he says.
"This site was founded with the philosophy to have macro impact on micro actions," he says, comparing it to Kiva, the microfinance platform—another organization he helped get off the ground.
Kiva made lending to poor entrepreneurs accessible, easy and addictive to everyday Americans. That's what he wants to do for environmentally friendly consumption.
"People don't care about climate change," he says provocatively. "The people who say they care, they don't act. It's effectively a psychology problem. So we're out to find amazing products that are better for people, better for their families and for their world, and shine a spotlight on these products." But not a "green" spotlight, just a regular old 60 percent off email spotlight.
Early on, Ahuja cultivated partnerships with environmental groups with massive email lists like the Nature Conservancy and the Care2 consumer community. Blissmo now serves the daily deals to those groups, a savvy business move that bodes well for the young startup. Through these kinds of partners who have memberships in the millions,
Blissmo reaches several million people, with Blissmo reaches over 100,000 subscribers.
Right now the products are similar to what you'd find on the mainstream daily deal sites—beauty products, food, clothing—but Blissmo vets the companies for environmental impact. Ahuja says he turns to third party verifications like organic, Fair Trade, or B-Corporation certifications. And when that's not available, it's a gut check by Blissmo staff who have backgrounds in the social change space.
It doesn't mean all the Blissmo deals are do-no-harm models of perfection, in fact, that might not be the best strategy for impact. If consumption habits switch toward the best in industry companies, even within bad industries, then, Ahuja says, he's succeeding.
For instance, good luck finding an environmentally friendly airline, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fly the best of the bunch when you travel. Ahuja says he's reached out to Virgin Atlantic because he thinks they're better than the rest. (For the record, flying is usually more environmentally friendly than driving your car.)
Look for new kinds of incentives for better consumerism out of this site as they scale.