Entrepreneur Looks To Data To Make Her Mark

By David Nicklaus
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Karen Frame runs a company providing coupons and information to folks interested in natural products. Instead of hoping shoppers will visit in-store kiosks, her company, “Makeena”, reaches them through their mobile phones and the internet.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Karen Frame has essentially built the same company twice using different technology.

In the 1990s, she designed information kiosks for natural-food stores. On the verge of a national rollout for Wild Oats (a chain that was later acquired by Whole Foods), her company fell victim to a financial scam and had to be dissolved.

Two decades later, Frame runs another company providing coupons and information to folks interested in natural products.

Instead of hoping shoppers will visit in-store kiosks, her new company, Makeena, reaches them through their mobile phones and the internet.

To achieve a better result than she did the first time, Frame is relying on her experience as an attorney and officer at several technology companies. She’s also relying on an accelerator program run by Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, a St. Louis group dedicated to helping women launch successful businesses.

Makeena is based in Boulder, Colo., but Frame has rented an apartment here during the program. She grew up in Champaign, Ill., so she liked the idea of working with down-to-earth Midwesterners for three months. She’s soaking up business wisdom from people such as Tina Klocke, a Prosper mentor and former chief financial officer at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Early this month, Makeena took a bold step by acquiring CommonKindness, a natural-products coupon site based in Sausalito, Calif. The firm says the deal makes it the No. 2 online platform for grocery coupons behind industry leader coupons.com.

Frame emphasizes, however, that Makeena is a data business, not a coupon company. It expects to make money by selling information about shoppers — which stores they visit, how much they spend and what they buy — to retailers and consumer-products companies.

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