Roozt Makes Forbes’ “Names You Need To Know In 2011”

Roozt, the daily deal site for socially conscious shoppers co-founded by current Tulane JD/MBA student Nick Reder, was selected to Forbes’ “Names You Need To Know in 2011 List. ”

Forbes’ list seeks to identify the people, places, ideas, products and companies that are poised to become central to the global conversation over the next six to nine months.

Roozt offers its members a daily deals of up to 80% off retail price exclusively from brands using their business model to make a positive impact on the world.  Much  like Groupon and Living Social, Roozt deals are  featured in for 24-48 hours only.  Unlike  Groupon and Living Social, however, the deals are offered in limited quantities, so the deals actually sell out at some point.

Roozt launched in the Fall, 2010.   The deals it offers are exclusively from brands which use their business model to make a positive impact on the world. Less than a year after launch, it’s secured a user-base of more than 70,000 members.

The full article from Forbes is posted below:

Roozt CEO Brent Freeman 

In 2006, at 22 years old, a senior at University of Southern California, Brent Freeman started an international commodities business. He was on the verge of becoming a millionaire with offices in Los Angeles and Dubai, but then almost overnight, the rug was pulled out from underneath him as the economic crash of 2008 hit.

“It was almost a blessing as it gave me an opportunity to think about what I was truly passionate about,” explains Freeman, as he thinks back to the lessons he learned from his first entrepreneurial failure.

His passion certainly wasn’t in commodities, especially as the wealthy people he met along his journey, didn’t seem happy or fulfilled. To be fulfilled, Freeman knew he needed to have a positive impact on the community. But, he also knew he needed to make money to be happy and pay the rent. It almost seemed like a contradiction at the time as he was more inclined to create a for-profit business vs. a charity.  Then he met Blake Mycoskie, Founder and CEO of Tom’s Shoes, which for every pair sold, a pair is given to a child in need.

“His business model always resonated with me,” exclaims Freeman. He adds, “That you can take a for-profit biz model and scale it to make a difference that not only has a tangible impact on the world but also a tangible impact on the balance sheet is inspiring”.

He realized at that point there were thousands of business such as Tom’s Shoes, with cause-oriented brands. So, he and his business partners, Norma LaRosa and Nick Reder, decided to aggregate them, creating a platform which allows socially conscious consumers to have a one-stop-shop for ‘feel-good’ buying.

Roozt launched in the Fall, 2010. It’s evolved into a deal site, much like Groupon, except that the daily deals are exclusively from brands which use their business model to make a positive impact on the world. A year after launch, it’s secured a user-base of more than 70,000 members.  But Roozt is more than a company, it’s statement just like Tom’s Shoes. It represents the future of business — a future that’s not so far away.

“Within the next five years social entrepreneurship will be the new standard,” says Freeman.

The movement is about entrepreneurs creating a cause-oriented business model from the start, versus tying in philanthropy as an afterthought. It’s a business model, however, that critics argue is deceitful. They call it green-washing or cause-washing.

“That’s why it’s important to make sure they’re sincere about the cause,” explains Freeman. He goes on to say, “It can’t just be about getting customers.”

Freeman is so passionate about creating a movement of social entrepreneurs who create for-profit businesses with a cause in mind, that he’s volunteering his time to teach students at a magnate high school in East Los Angeles, California, about creating cause-oriented businesses. He developed a pilot social entrepreneurship program for a national organization, “Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship,” which he hopes to extend across the country.