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The Download: Cost comparison app PriceSpotting makes its debut at CES 2014

PriceSpotting, an app that allows consumers to compare the cost of everyday goods at local stores, will make its public debut this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The app has been under development at District-based Blue Tiger Labs since this summer, and became available to download for Apple and Android devices Jan. 1, founder Neil Kataria said.

A companion app called Mobile Merchant, which launched the same day, allows shopkeepers large and small to track their inventory digitally, rather than using the pen-and-paper method that’s still commonplace, Kataria said.

Kataria is the co-founder and chairman of District-based NewBrandAnalytics, a company that monitors customer feedback on social media.

In launching the apps together, Blue Tiger Labs aims to create a business that appeals to, and generates revenue from, both consumers and merchants. District-based LivingSocial began with a similar approach when it started its online deals company.

“My approach has always been business first,” Kataria said. “We had to have consumers help us build our platform, to test us out. That’s the only way you can do what we’re doing. But we’ve always in the back of our mind had the business front and center.”

The consumer app, PriceSpotting, is more likely to resonate with the crowd of tech enthusiasts at CES 2014. The goal of PriceSpotting, Kataria said, is for consumers to know about in-store promotions and sale prices before they leave the house. That way, they can shop at stores where they’ll save the most money.

PriceSpotting rewards users who input the price of items with points that can be redeemed for cash. Scanning about 50 items will generate $3 to $5, Kataria said.

“People want to save time and money, which we’re giving them through this app we’ve built, and then when they contribute a price, we reward them,” he said.

CES, hosted by Arlington-based Consumer Electronics Association, attracts thousands to gawk at the latest software and gadgets, from in-car technology to kitchen appliances to heart monitors and televisions.

“There are just huge, massive pavilions of anyone you’ve ever heard of and their gadgets,” Kataria said. “You get a major global audience there and I think it’s natural for them to be inclusive of everything in the tech world, not just hardware.”

To read about other local companies headed to CES 2014, check out On I.T. in Monday’s Washington Post.

Steven Overly is a national reporter covering federal technology and energy policy with a focus on Capitol Hill. He previously covered the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital.
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