Meet Dan White, whose year with Groupon inspired his company Localvore Today, a service that connects consumers with highly local deals for everything from restaurants to haircuts to yoga. The company started in 2012 in Burlington, Vermont, and is now coming to Portland.

WHY PORTLAND? They’ve been talking about the expansion for a year, White said. It’s a natural next step from Burlington. The consumer base isn’t much different from that in Vermont, he said, with similar interests. And the Localvore crew has plenty of connections here. But “really it is because of the brand of Portland,” White, 29, said. “It represents buying local.”

INCEPTION: White is from Evanston, Illinois. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he took a job at Groupon, the Chicago-based company. That was 2010, pre-IPO days. “It was a really crazy, fast-paced growth period for that company,” he said. He came with an interest in sustainability and promoting local businesses. “What dawned on me about nine months into my time there was that daily deals are really ‘buy local’ purchases,” he said. “They just take place online.” A lightbulb went off when “I realized I could take a really great revenue model to the ‘buy local’ movement and expand on it.”

WHAT’S DIFFERENT? White thinks a lot of true local businesses don’t want to be associated with discounting or a big corporation that uses generic stock photos and content to describe a business they’ve lovingly built from scratch to be distinctly Vermont. Or Maine. “We’re trying to create a more community-centric approach to marketing,” he said. “An authentic shopping experience where we can drive more dollars to the local economy.” By way of example, he says a company like Groupon doesn’t waste the time getting to know a true local company. “They wouldn’t go to Urban Farm Fermentory and help them without out-of-pocket costs.” Or run photos in the deal of the actual products, like hard cider or kombucha, that Urban Farm Fermentory is known for.

FIRST STEPS: White said he’s raised close to $1 million and has already hired local staff, including a salesperson and a digital marketing content producer. One of Localvore Today’s employees, Ted Kenney, has Maine connections; his sister lives in Cape Elizabeth. They’ve got a three-month lease on a furnished apartment/office they’ll run the business from and use as a crash pad (“we’ve got the nicest landlords ever”). They’ve been schmoozing at Eventide and sampling the dumplings at Bao Bao, all in the name of getting to know the community. And they are building a mobile app.

THE WAY IT WORKS: The Web-based company gathers local emails and then distributes regular updates on what’s available. They make deals with local companies, promoting deals where consumers get double their money’s worth for vouchers to use at restaurants or retail establishments. “We don’t charge anything out of pocket,” White said. “So there is really no risk, no downside.”

SUCCESS STORY: Localvore Today has 20,000 email addresses on its Vermont mailing list. White said they sold 500 vouchers for The Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond, Vermont, and helped Tomgirl Juice Co. in Burlington grow from a street vendor to a brick-and-mortar retail store.

But not everyone warms to the idea right away. Chiuho Duval, the owner of the acclaimed Chinese restaurant A Single Pebble in Burlington, turned Localvore Today down initially. “She said, ‘I don’t like the discount,’ ” White remembered. “We explained the benefits and she still said, ‘We don’t like the discount.’ ” So they suggested a campaign to raise money for a nonprofit Duval liked, Vermont Works for Women. They sold 600 vouchers. “We each made money. She got 600-plus customers coming in, and we also collectively raised $3,600 in one day for the nonprofit,” White said. “She was probably going to write the check anyway, but we helped her to it through marketing her restaurant.”

FIRST DEAL: White said Localvore Today’s first Maine deal will be with Vinland, Portland’s all-local restaurant, just entering its second year in business. It will be a “spend $25 to get $50 worth of food” deal. How many people will get the deal? “We’ll probably set some kind of cap,” White said. “We’re really excited. I can’t imagine a better first impression.” And the goal is to do it in a way that works with Vinland’s style. “What Groupon and Living Social did is, they started running e-commerce deals for iPad covers and,” White said. “David at Vinland doesn’t want to be next to gold chains with your name on it for half-off, you know?” We know.