If you have ever anxiously waited for an item to go on sale, new shopping widget Savy can save the stress. Touting, ‘Your style, your price,’ the name your own price tool alerts customers when an item reaches their preferred dollar amount.
At just 20 years old, Savy Founder & CEO Disha Shidham has seen her self-coded shopping widget Savy skyrocket to the top of pitch competitions in Silicon Valley and beyond.
Inspiration came at the most unlikely of times – in the middle of an AP history class when she was a junior in high school. During a particularly lengthy rant, she watched as a classmate did a little online shopping. She’d find an item, copy the link, and drop it into a Google Doc. A curious Shidham asked her classmate the method to her madness.
“She told me she checks up on those items,” she says. The Doc contained links to various retailers alongside the student shopper’s ideal price.
Shidham quickly realized her classmate wasn’t the only one with this methodology. Her mom did the same thing, and subconsciously, she did as well.
Between junior and senior year of high school, Shidham took her idea to the MIT Launch Summer Program. The intensive, four-week business building bootcamp was her first exposure to entrepreneurship.
“After that program I was kind of left with this idea which involved prices being a really important factor when it comes to people shopping online,” she says.
Shidham took the seed and ran with it, next putting the idea to the test at Catapult, a business incubator for high school students. At the program’s demo day in spring of 2015, Shidham’s startup, then known as TacBoard, earned first place in the pitch competition. It also got her a spot in yet another program – Silicon Valley-based Draper University. Shidham’s pricing idea once again piqued judges’ interests, placing her second in the competition of non-revenue generating companies, and fifth out of 70 companies overall. She also earned another distinction: the youngest business owner to pitch.
It was a pivotal time that made Shidham re-think what was next.
“I was surrounded by people that were just like me,” she says. “There were all young and excited to pursue their own thing.” Coupled with the fact that a billionaire like Tim Draper was showing interest in her concept, Shidham decided to forego college and pursue what has become Savy.
In its original iteration and namesake, “TacBoard was basically a shoppable Pinterest,” Shidham says. It joined a burgeoning marketplace of aggregated shopping sites like Polyvore, but with a name your price differentiator. Shoppers could enter a price they would pay for an item and be alerted when it came down to that level. While the price piece remained a constant, getting eyes on another shopping site in a crowded market was hard to do.
“I decided to switch to a B2B2C model,” Shidham says. “Savy, it provides the same value for the end customer, that you can enter a price for an item you like, but it involves the businesses.”
Now, businesses install the Savy widget which adds a “Price I Pay” button beside a site’s existing “Add to Cart” button. That pricing data is shared with businesses, providing a host of insights. For most small operations, it’s expensive and difficult to get pricing data. The Savy details can help a retailer see how they are doing related to the market, and also determine sale price points to move inventory quickly.
“If a customer’s price is actually met, there’s about an 87 percent chance they will end up buying,” Shidham says. “That willingness to pay data is an incredible indicator of willing to buy.”
While any retailer can technically install the widget, Savy is primarily working with small businesses that use Shopify as their e-commerce platform. Still in the pre-revenue stage, Savy is currently cost-free for retailers. Up next is a paid version with more automated features that can handle a larger retailer’s needs.
Leaving her teens behind, Shidham says the last few years have been a crazy ride that have included overcoming challenges of being a young, female entrepreneur.
During the MIT program, Shidham was on a team with four to five male peers. At the end of the program when she championed for herself to be CEO of the company because of the amount of work that she put in, one of her teammates responded that she was too small and too soft spoken to be CEO.
“It was a wakeup call,” Shidham says. “I’d never really faced that kind of blatant sexism.”
She says that overcoming those expectations or preconceived notions of what a CEO should be has been a subtle but prominent challenge. She’s carved her own path to success by finding a management style that works for her.
Shidham leads through one-on-one meetings and investing in each team member individually. Savy values clear and concise communication and setting goals. She says, especially for other young female entrepreneurs, don’t feel pressure to have rousing team meetings and make Wolf of Wall Street-esque speeches, “It doesn’t have to be like that, find your own way to do it and do it well.”
For more information, visit staysavy.com.