A few weeks ago we started a series here on nibletz.com of startups from everywhere else that appear on the Angel List (angel.co). We get a weekly email from angel.co, and while they’ve been getting better, typically they are dominated by startups from Silicon Valley and New York. In our series we feature a handful of startups that appear on the list, that aren’t necessarily trending by angel list standards, but are growing as startups from “everywhere else”.
So for this installment we’re exploring five startups from Minnesota.
Mashalot is a social shopping website. It combines the power and influence of Facebook, daily deals, group buying, and the “negotiator” concept from price line.
Late last year Mashalot co-founder John Marino told Minnesota’s Fox 9 that the more influence you have the better your negotiation will be. Marino explained that if you saw a great deal on something like a Black Friday deal or a Cyber Monday deal, you could take it to the merchant (if they are a member of Mashalot) and see if they’ll give you the product for that price. It’s up to the merchant to honor that price or not.
This is where your social influence comes in via Facebook. Naturally if you’re one of those people with thousands of friends on Facebook, the merchant may respond favorably because of your influence, and the fact that Mashalot will post your deal (with your permission) to Facebook.
Along the way you can earn badges and more influence the more you use the service.
They launched Mashalot on 11/11/11 and have since taken down the 1.0 site while they retweak it for a 2.0 launch.
Follow them on the Angel List here
This Minneapolis startup has been hailed as the “E-harmony of home services” by local tech publication tech.mn basically it’s a mobile app and website to help you find the best person for that in home job.
Think Craigslist vs Angies List vs Zaarly vs a date or recommendation site.
The Heroic engine combines recommendations and referrals from a service providers previous clients along with friend recommendations to serve up the top list of people for a job. Things like painting, cutting the grass, gutter cleaning, basic carpentry and most in home jobs are all featured on Heroic.
Co-Founders Justin Barrett and Dan Linstroth know that people nowadays don’t have the time, to interview and weed through hundreds of possible people to do a job. They also know that if you bid a job out on Craigslist half of the respondents are in Nigeria.
With Heroic you can find service providers in your neighborhood that have good ratings and can get your job done on your time line.
Tech.mn reports that Heroic received a $600k seed round from a network of angels in the Minneapolis area. They are rolling out the service in Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago to start and hope to raise a Series A round in the not so distant future to expand into another five markets.
Nothing is more effective for a business than word of mouth. When you combine word of mouth with the power of social media and the internet you’ve got a force to be reckoned with, if you execute correctly. Enter in Hypespark.
Hyperspark is a Minneapolis based startup that incubated at Project Skyway. The idea behind HypeSpark is phenomenal. Local businesses get great advertisement by social endorsement from loyal customers. The local businesses get an endorsement every time the customer shares anything on the web. The customer gets big deals and discounts for being the businesses personal advertising vehicle.
On the surface HypeSpark is a short link service with a micro ad in front of it. Say Lori loved her local bike shop and her local bike shop was on HypeSpark. If Lori agrees to be their endorser, every time she shares a web site link, youtube video or any other url with her friends or social network a real quick micro ad for the bike shop shoes up saying that Lori endorses that company.
It’s kind of like bread with most of the work already done.
I’m always looking for things to replace the pure bull crap that is Klout. I’ve found a really great social media filter in Friendsignia, and now I’ve found Minneapolis based Proliphiq, which offers incredible social media analytics, recommendations and information on social media, influence and content. I’m not sure if it’s free because they are still in beta but right now I can say that with all the social media dashboards I’ve checked out in the last two years, this one offers the most information I’ve ever seen for free.
When you go to Proliphiq’s website at Proliphiq.com you can search for a person by their name, social media identity or a topic.
Searching a name or social media identity will show you their recent posts across networks, content, and their influence on the topics they know the most about. From there you can even add topics that you find that person is a valuable source on. Or, conversely you can give them a thumbs down. This crowd sourced rating is 10x better and more effective than the pulling numbers out of ones posterior end that Klout uses.
For topics you can find the most influential people for your topic and from there you can follow them and keep them in your feed to stay on top of information that’s relevant to you.
Finally you can tweak your own profile and tell the Proliphiq community what you’re all about.
Women owned startup RockYourBlock is the LinkedIn spot for teens. Teens in the twin cities can create a RockYourBlock profile via their Facebook account for the purpose of sourcing jobs for teens. These jobs can be odd jobs, paper routes, internships and other teen type jobs.
The site also allows the teens to create a resume based on the work experience they have along with any accolades that they’ve scored in the RockYourBlock network.
In regards to the creation of RockYourBlock, Founder Sarah Young told TechCocktail:
“Teen unemployment is at an all-time high right now across the nation, three times the national rate. The majority of people and companies want to help the next generation learn the value of hard work and responsibility in addition to create job opportunities for them but don’t know where to begin.”