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“With returnGuru, we remind people to never miss that return deadline!”

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Everyone has done it! They have missed a deadline to return an item. After that, they are stuck with an unwanted product and out money. With returnGuru, we remind people to never miss that return deadline!

returnGuru is a mobile app that consumers can use by simply taking a picture of their receipt. returnGuru will take over from there and save/process the receipts on behalf of the customer. The customer will be reminded (via an email or App alert) 5-7 days before the last date to return the item. This reminder will also include an online copy of the receipt to enable the customer to make a wise buy/return decision.

MO: Where did the idea for returnGuru come from?

Erica: My co-founder, Balki Kodarapu, created returnGuru after missing the return date for a pair of shoes his wife had bought. He felt like this is a common problem for people. After winning Portland start-up weekend in October 2011, he decided to create the company. We formed our partnership in January.

I was looking for a new opportunity and this was the perfect fit! We both are shoppers and have been frustrated with missing returns over the years. I am creative and he is technical. We make a very unique and great team!

MO: How long did it take from initially having the idea to actually getting it to market? What were some of the challenges you encountered along the way?

Erica: We incorporated in December 2011. Shortly after that, we provided a beta form on our website. We have since created the apps for all 3 platforms – Iphone, Android and Windows. There are always challenges when submitting items to big companies.

MO: How does returnGuru work?

Erica: returnGuru is a very simple concept that can save people money! People waste so much money on items they never returned. The process is simple. Pull up the returnGuru app. You then scan your receipt and you are done! You will get an email reminding you 5 days before the return expiring date.

MO: What’s been some of your favorite feedback so far?

Erica: We love hearing successful return stories. One customer was able to make her returns just using the app and impressed the sales person with her app!

MO: Currently the app is free. What does your business model look like?

Erica: We plan on having a premium model down the road that would allow for price alerts, price adjustments, groupons and coupon expirations.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for returnGuru?

Erica: As more and more people use returnGuru, we expect the excitement level to spread! We all want to make successful returns! We will be keeping our apps up to date and adding any features after receiving feedback.


About us:

Erica Oesterreich, the co-founder & Director of Marketing was instantly attracted to the concept of returnGuru. She herself ran a very successful online scrapbooking company for a decade and is intimately aware of the problems facing women shoppers. Erica is a brilliant marketer and a pioneer in building beautiful products for the female consumers. She built one of the first web-based scrapbooking kit companies more than 10 years ago and grew it many-fold. In the process, she created and nurtured a community of over 60,000 users on the company’s online discussion forum.

Balki Kodarapu, co-founder & CEO of returnGuru, brainstormed returnGuru during Portland Startup weekend in October 2011. He was destined to be a business owner after over a decade of software development, team building and leadership experience that is essential to building a cutting-edge technology company like returnGuru. He is a hands-on technologist known for identifying, recruiting, and retaining high-caliber team members in fast-paced software companies.

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