With the ever present view of celebrity lifestyle in the forefront, whether it is on television, radio or in the magazines, we get somewhat of an insiders look on their spending habits and boy are they big. Many of them have the AMEX Black Card, which loosely translates to that you are ballin and probably in the top 0.1% But what happens when you are a hard working young professional but still want to be a part of that lifestyle? Let me introduce you to SELECT.
SELECT‘s goal is simple- to connect the world’s foremost and aspiring professionals with elevated experiences that enhance their everyday lives. They find the best of dining, nightlife, entertainment, travel, events & activities in your city and the world and work with them to provide their members exclusive access to the best benefits (For more credit card options, including buying high quality sound equipment check out Best Amps). Some of the SELECT partner venues include New York hotspots like Spice Market, Bouley, Brushstroke, LAVO, Ganesvoort Park, Mister H, Cherry, Isola, and The Palm just to name a few and work with brands like Hyatt, Andaz, Morgans Hotel Group, Brooks Brothers, Blue Star Jets, Birchbox and many, many more. Ready for this? The per year rate for all of this is only $150! Incredible, right? I recently sat down with founder Carlo Cisco to learn more about how SELECT operates, why it’s beneficial for today’s world and what their hopeful future is. Take a look.
Hi Carlo! How did you come up with the concept behind SELECT?
I saw the opportunity to disrupt two industries with one game-changing program. On one side you have antiquated plastic credit cards with insignificant benefits even at the most premium levels. On the other you have daily deal companies who have good deals, but also have a less than stellar user experience – not to mention a rapidly decaying deal quality as business owners realize they produce a terrible ROI. SELECT provides top tier businesses and brands with a sustainable and profitable way to attract and retain the clientele they want to reach. For members, SELECT provides powerful ROI and VIP experience with each and every use.
You have a big entrepreneurial background from what I have read up on you. Was creating Select something that came easy to you both idea wise and execution wise?
Every business is different when it comes to execution but my entire career uniquely positioned me for building SELECT. I’ve gained valuable experience running a nightlife promotion company in Miami, I’ve seen the flaws of Groupon’s model firsthand and I’ve learned how to quickly build and scale a web and mobile platform. While execution is never easy, my entire career gave me the exact skills I needed to create this business and that has played a big role in our early success.
The idea for SELECT felt like a natural evolution of broken and antiquated systems I was very familiar with. Merchants were sick of deals and discounts and consumers were sick of bad experiences caused by the deal process and decreasing merchant quality. I wanted to dramatically improve the user experience and make the solution sustainable for businesses.
Linking to any existing credit card is so powerful. It turns a previously clunky and even shameful process into one that’s seamless, sexy and cool. Generic cards are replaced with something sleek and powerful that provides relevant and significant benefits to our members’ daily lives. Benefits can be redeemed anytime and an infinite number of times, providing extraordinary ROI and a seamless experience. Many members recoup the full annual price of membership in just a few uses.
Why the name SELECT?
The name SELECT evokes sentiments of prestige, exclusivity, and high quality, all accurate descriptors of the program we’ve created. Partners are carefully chosen, members apply to join, and experience of using SELECT makes members feel like a VIP.
The price point for this program is fantastic at $150 a year. What’s the target market for SELECT?
SELECT members are typically young professionals in urban areas, ~23-45, median income north of 100K. (we expect median income to decrease slightly as we continue to scale). The $150 price point is just enough to invoke commitment, then once members begin to use SELECT they see the value of their membership come back many times over as they spread the word. Our main cities are NYC and DC but there are SELECT members across the country and even a handful in Europe.
As the program continues to expand, it is likely the price of membership will increase. All existing members will be forever grandfathered in at the rate they joined.
When the customer receives the card, what are the benefits that they can get from using it?
The SELECT card is the most powerful card in your wallet. It can be linked to any existing credit or debit card, replacing a generic piece of plastic with a sleek and stylish black metal card accepted anywhere. The card is packed with powerful perks at thousands of premier locations across the globe.
Members receive insider pricing (15-40% off their full tab) and/or experiential perks like a free round of drinks or appetizers at the best restaurants and nightlife venues in their city. To redeem their benefits members simply use their card or book through our member concierge depending on the venue.
Through the SELECT travel program, members receive unpublished rates through premier travel partners including Morgans Hotel Group, Hyatt, Andaz, Carlson Rezidor (Radisson Blu, Park Plaza), Priceline and more. Members can save on car rentals, black car services and other options that make traveling a breeze. Members can even save $1000 off private jet flights through Blue Star Jets, the largest private jet broker in the US with planes available globally.
Members also receive exclusive savings on gyms, retailers like Brooks Brothers and Bond and Bari, 1-800 Flowers, Birchbox, Handy and many more. While dining and travel are the most popular categories, the most widely used benefit is discounted movie tickets. Members receive up to 50% off at any AMC, Bow Tie, Cinemark, or Landmark Theatres locations.
Members also receive access to monthly member mixers, large experiential events as well as early access and preferred pricing for partner events.
Do you plan on adding more vendors as the site grows?
Definitely. We add partners based on member recommendations, trusted critic reviews, and filtered inbound inquiries.
Now that 2014 has pretty much wrapped up, what are you hopeful thoughts for SELECT in 2015?
2015 is going to be a very busy year for SELECT. We expect the rapid growth we’ve seen since launch this Summer to continue to accelerate. We expect to have over 10,000 members by the end of Q2 2015, just over triple what we have today and more than 30X growth year over year.
We’re going to be aggressive with geographic expansion, with NYC and DC fully launched in 2014, you can expect to at least 4-5 more cities join that list in 2015. Of course, benefits in the travel, lifestyle, shopping and entertainment portions of the program are already national or global.
Members can also expect large, game-changing events, coast-to-coast.
To learn more about SELECT, log on to their official site and check out the video below-