Karma! brings the storefront to the phone screen

How a new company plans to connect to consumers

People walking down a laneway field with artisans selling products
Tm Mahdi was at Sept. 9's artisan market event NookFEST to promote his new business Karma! It will allow consumers to tap their phones on storefronts that have a company sticker to instantly receive information about the location. Alice Chen/Toronto Observer

Tm Mahdi has started a lot of unique businesses in his time as an entrepreneur.

His latest endeavour, Karma!, is no different.

Karma! is a way for consumers to learn more about the stores and small businesses they walk by, says Mahdi (who really does spell his first name without a vowel).

The company will partner with interested clients to place Karma! stickers and signs around storefronts. People interested in the location then will be able to tap their unlocked phones on the signs and be sent information about the store.

“The beauty behind it [is] it doesn’t require an app specifically. It just requires someone to have a smartphone and the ability to walk by a store,” said Mahdi, explaining that it uses the smart device’s built-in NFC functionality.

He came up with the idea after repeatedly passing by stores he was interested in, but didn’t have time to visit or learn more about.

“I see a store that I like but I just don’t have the time for it, so I rush to the subway and by the time I come back they’re closed,” Mahdi said. “I thought,  why not find a way to come up with a better solution…everybody nowadays has a smartphone and no one likes apps, not as much.”

Benefitting from experience

Mahdi was at the local artisan market and East York community event NookFEST on Sept. 9, promoting his product and trying to create a “habit to tap.”

He’s had a lot of experience turning his ideas into reality.

Mahdi has been an entrepreneur for close to 20 years. Karma!, he said, is the “sixth or seventh” company he’s started.

“I started out literally since high school. I was a dot-com-er,” he said. Aside from starting companies, Mahdi also has been an event producer.

“I’ve built a lot of connections and resources, and all actually has helped in the creativity and ingenuity behind [Karma!].”

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Karma! will launch in November. It is expected to come to 300 stores in  areas such as East York, Old Town, Midtown, and Yonge and Dundas.

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Posted: Oct 13 2017 2:59 pm
Filed under: Business Features Profiles