Comments Off on Got A Truck? Make A Buck! With Seattle Startup CraigsTruck0LikeLike 2,350
We’re not sure how Craig Newmark is going to feel about the name of this new Seattle startup CraigsTruck, but undoubtedly hundreds of folks are going to love the service that CraigsTruck is offering.
On weekends my step father likes to make extra money. He takes his big dually pick up truck over to Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowes and offers to deliver people’s purchases to their homes for a nominal fee. Bruce makes a decent amount of money every weekend but the marketing isn’t effective and even though he’s a nice enough guy, and an honest guy, there are always people skeptical of hiring the guy in the parking lot with the truck.
That’s where Mike Hanson comes in. Hanson, the founder of CraigsTruck, has designed a service that is perfect for all the people out there like Bruce. Truck owners sign up for an account on the CraigsTruck website, and people that need a truck and a driver, can find one, just as easily as you could with Craigslist.
Whether you’re looking for someone to bring that furniture back from Ikea, or a bunch of lumber from Home Depot, CraigsTruck makes it easy.
CraigsTruck is just a platform to facilitate the peer to peer negotiation for the delivery or as Hanson refers to it Consumer to Consumer delivery.
We got a chance to talk to Hanson. Check out the interview below.
Comments Off on Seattle Startup: WompMobile Promises Easy Web To Mobile Conversion0LikeLike 3,581
One of the most frustrating things for some web publishers is exactly how they’re going to get their sites onto mobile devices. Some choose to go with a native mobile app, meaning that a mobile app is created for each smartphone platform from scratch for the site. Others choose to use WordPress plugins or other competing platforms. We’re fortunate that our site scales to mobile nicely.
Seattle startup WompMobile is hoping to make the process much easier for their web publishing clients. WompMobile uses their own proprietary design engine to scale a desktop website to mobile maintaining the integrity of the desktop design. They promise to make “going mobile easy”.
While their process takes just under ten days, once the WompMobile team has run your website through their engine, every update the publisher makes to their website is instantly updated on the mobile version.
Madison Miner the company’s founder, says that their secret sauce is in their conversion engine. Things like fonts, styles, and branding remain consistent from web to mobile and the publisher doesn’t need to sacrifice their web presence by using a generic mobile format.
We got a chance to talk to Miner about WompMobile and the Seattle startup scene in the interview below.
Each one of these startups addresses social drinking in a different way. A few of them are about buying a buddy a drink either in person and charging it to your phone, or from afar. Some are about taking pictures of drinks and sharing them, while others are more like mobile based wine lists.
Seattle startup Bibo is hoping to become the social discovery platform for drinks. Their new iPhone app allows users to rate, and share beverages socially. It also allows you to search for drinks based on your physical location. Now you don’t have to walk into a strange bar or restaurant just to find out if they have your favorite craft beer or mixed drink. Bibo solves that for you in the palm of your hand.
Similarly to Drynk.me, Bibo wants to become the largest location based picture database of drinks in the world. The platform works in reverse as well. Say you go into a bar that you like for ambience and atmosphere but the bartender there doesn’t do your favorite cocktail. Well with Bibo you can show the bartender how to make that drink that will keep you coming back.
The co-founders of Bibo are no strangers to discovery. Natan Antolin, Mac McClian, Steve Jacobson met in late 2011 while working for a job search platform.
Bibo works with local bars, lounges, night clubs and restaurants to procure all of their drink data. From there restaurants and bars can be featured based on the drinks they serve.
At this point in time the drink space is anyones game. We’ll see if Bibo can bring it.
In this day and age personal safety is a very important issue to many people. There are a million different factors that play into a persons personal safety. Did you just get attacked by someone? Are you feeling unsafe because someone is following you? Are you diabetic and feeling light headed? Are you allergic to bees and just got stung?
Any of these situations, and countless others, could result in the need to make a distress call to someone, and time is almost always of the essence. Well Robb Monkman and Grant Wallace, two Seattle based entrepreneurs with backgrounds in safety and communication have created a startup called React Mobile. React Mobile functions as a distress or SOS signal right in your pocket.
With React Mobile both Monkman and Wallace figured out that the best safety device, and distress signal device was already in most people’s pockets. Of course that device is their smartphone. React Mobile is an iOS and Android app with three distinct safety abilities; alerting via email, text and social networks; GPS location sharing; and emergency reporting.
We got a chance to talk with Monkman. Check out our interview below:
Comments Off on Seattle Startup: Zulily, Daily Deals For Kids INTERVIEW0LikeLike 3,351
So what do two men who have entrepreneurial and technology backgrounds do when they become dads? Create a startup of course. That’s what Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon have done with Zulily. Zulily is an online marketplace that offers daily deals on stuff for kids.
Zulily offers a variety of products for any kid ages 0-8 and of course starts off with maternity needs for expectant mothers. With their daily deals, parents can save up to 90% on things that they really need for their kids.
A site like Zulily is a recipe for success. Just how successful? Zulily grew so fast last year that Cavens told Xconomy back in May that their backlog of orders was over 300,000 units deep “So we sat down in August of last year and said, `Oh shit—we’re in a world of hurt,’” Cavens told Xconomy. In June Zulily topped Seattle’s list of hottest startups, edging out StartupWeekend, Big Fish Games and even SEOmoz, which powers Zulily.
Zulily already has over 5 million email subscribers that get their deals everyday. They employ over 300 people and add 5,000 products to their private sale site daily. Zulily keeps stock of products in house, which is a definite change from the way that most daily deals sites work. Those sites, when dealing in hard goods, drop ship merchandise via the manufacturer or vendor.
This ride for Cavens and Vadon is so wild that it’s hard to believe we were able to get a chance to talk with a spokesperson from Zulily. Check out our interview below:
Comments Off on Seattle Startup: TangoCard Announces Salesforce Integration0LikeLike 898
Imagine if you could integrate actual gift giving into your Salesforce CRM system. Go beyond birthday and anniversary reminders and actually send a gift. That’s now a reality thanks to Seattle based startup TangoCard.
Salesforce integration for the Eric Schmidt, Innovation Endeavors, backed startup is just one on the features TangoCard has been working on this summer.
Once the user installs the TangoCard for Salesforce app, giving a contact a gift is as easy as finding that contacts name and hitting a button.
After installing the free app, just look up a contact or lead, choose a card, write a message, and hit send. Gift card options include the Tango Card as well as digitally delivered gift cards from major retail brands including Starbucks and Fandango. Through a partnership with Treat, sending a beautiful physical greeting card also becomes as simple as sending an email. Additionally there is “zero-click” integration with Concur Technologies. For any purchase made with a linked Concur® account, a receipt image for any purchase is posted directly to an open Concur expense report. This integration finally creates a simple way to properly expense and account for enterprise gift card purchases.
Now there’s no excuse to miss a present or for forgetting a follow up gift.
“Sales teams, customer service teams, recruiters, and others spend over $10 billion annually on gift cards, and many of these teams also use huge SaaS platforms like Salesforce,” says David Leeds, CEO and Founder of Tango Card. “We created this dedicated Salesforce app to dramatically simplify the process of buying a gift card. Perhaps more importantly, doing this through Salesforce empowers teams with great business intelligence and real power to follow-up on cards they have sent. It also provides a slick way to complete holiday gift card purchases.”
TangoCard announced a partnership with Denver startup Plink, to widen the reward choices for their platform which prior to that, dealt only in Facebook credits. Both companies announced that partnership in June.
Last month, TangoCard announced a partnership with Portland startup Hively to reward employees for great customer service.
While the SalesForce announcement is quite exciting we’ve got it from a good source that TangoCard will have even more news between now and the end of the year.
Comments Off on Seattle Startup: Hark Is The World’s Repository For Pop Culture Sound Bytes0LikeLike 1,095
Do you remember back in the day, the plethora of .wav based geocities sound bite repositories. We’re talking low budget, bad wav file audio from a handful of movies. No? Good because that’s not Hark.
Hark is the world’s repository for pop culture soundbytes. The best movies in the world, and even the hard to find treasures, have sound bites on Hark’s platform at hark.com. Everyone loves a great movie quote from “You can’t handle the truth” to the recent “You didn’t build that” quote from Obama, to “Do you want to play a game” the War Games sound bite that started it all. Hark is the one place to go to hear those soundbytes, embed those sound bites and download those sound bites.
All of this is legal as well. Rather than trying to dodge the movie studios, producers, and tv producers, Hark went with their best foot forward and showed how their website can promote movies, tv shows and other places where great sound bites originate. Through Hark, some of the best sound bites in pop culture and current events have quickly been able to go viral, and what movie studio doesn’t want a viral movie quote.
Hark has partnered with 5 major film studios including Paramount, Universal,Lionsgate and Warner Brothers, to offer over 3 million sound bites from popular movies, tv shows,video games, sporting events,and political speeches.
We got a chance to interview Hark. Check out the interview below:
If you’re wondering about the headline Seattle Startup: PlayMySurvey Makes Napalm Smell Better In The Morning, and you’re thinking that PlayMySurvey has to do with survey’s you’re actually right. However, in a light hearted interview with the Seattle based startup that was their first answer to what their company does.
Naturally, their real mission is clearly identified in the name. They make important survey’s more fun to complete by gamifying the survey system.
If Seattle makes you think of Mike Arrington, rain and metal and grunge music, then you’re not too far off. Derek, the co-founder of PlayMySurvey used to play bass for a pretty established regional heavy metal band called Hirmsa. Now he works a day job and has 99 other jobs (but the b*tch ain’t one, oh wait that’s problems), in running PlayMySurvey. He assures us though, like any good company, he has an Indian man doing all the grunt work for half the pay, but his man is actually in Washington State and not coding PlayMySurvey in between customer service calls for some big wireless company out of a Mumbai call center.
If you can tell from our lead in PlayMySurvey takes very important work and makes it a lot more fun. Not just by the duo’s great attitude in building a startup but by adding games and engaging designs into the questions themselves. According to Derek, there are a lot of survey companies and a lot of casual game companies in the Seattle and Redmond area. There’s a huge company in Redmond that not many take seriously these days. Roll that all into one and you have PlayMySurvey.
Comments Off on Portland Startup Hively Teams Up With TangoCard To Reward Great Customer Service0LikeLike 1,350
Last week when we brought you our interview with Hively co-founder Jason Lander, we knew we were going to hear an announcement regarding a partner for customer service rewards. Now we hear about rewards startups all the time and loyalty and rewards programs. Hively is a little different, they’re taking the responsibility for a great customer service interaction back into the providers hands. Quite frankly, the way it should be.
Customer service is the number one driver of loyalty. It’s what turned Sprint around when Dan Hesse took over. It’s why I stayed with T-Mobile for years (not anymore as their customer service slid), it’s why I try to stay at Drury when I can. All of these companies have had superior customer service. In fact, several studies have shown that customers will pay a premium, or maybe a little more for a product or meal from a place where they know they are going to receive great service, than go for a deal with places that have bad customer service.
Customer service and rewards for good customer service are the foundation for Hively.
In our interview Lander told us that they were soon going to unveil a way for customer service people to redeem points from good one click reviews. Now we’ve found out what the customer service people can do with the points. They can get “stuff” from TangoCard’s network of retailers.
Three things happen in the Hively model:
A customer service agent focuses on their quality of service using the incentivized program. This way, even in non commissioned sales environments, agents and sales people can earn something “more”,and it’s not even based on a sale. With the improved customer service the sales will flow in, just ask Sptrint.
A customer service agent/sales rep will encourage customers to use the one click method of rating their service. They obviously want their points and the establishment wants the feedback.
Sales are driven by better customer service.
We love startups that turn an industry on it’s head.
“We believe that the right rewards given at the right time will drive significant and valuable results,” said David Leeds, CEO and founder of Tango Card. “We’re excited to partner with Hively to source and fulfill their program requirement for digital rewards.”
“Hively has always been about gathering and measuring customer happiness,” said Jason Lander, co-founder of Hively. “Since virtual rewards can quickly lose their appeal, our customers have asked for a way to more tangibly recognize colleagues and top performers. Our partnership with Tango Card is the perfect solution.”
Comments Off on Skip The Grocery Checkout Lines & More With Seattle Startup: Qthru0LikeLike 1,161
If you thought the self serve lines at grocery store checkouts were convenient, you ain’t seen nothing yet. A new Seattle startup called Qthru is developing a mobile app system that integrates with a grocery store checkout kiosk to let you scan, pay and go,skipping the traditional checkout line altogether.
The startup’s founder, Aaron Roberts, grew tired of waiting in checkout lines, so he developed an app for that. Qthru allows the user to scan the barcodes of their grocery items with their smartphone creating a “shopping cart” while they go. As the user scans and puts the groceries into their cart, the app keeps a running tally for the total.
Roberts even figured in the necessity of the scale, so at their beta testing store in The Seattle area, they integrated a barcode printer for weighable items.
When the user is finished shopping they scan their phone at a kiosk and then enter their pin into the app which initiates the payment with the card tied to Qthru. A store employee looks over the groceries and the customer is ready to go.
Qthru is being tested at the Snoqualmie IGA store which is owned by Tyler Myers. Myers owns four more IGA store and a hardware store as well.
At first Myers was concerned about theft but quickly found out that with the employee checking through the groceries when the customer leaves, shoplifting is nearly impossible. Myers has been a big proponent of the Qthru system and has even offered Roberts feature ideas for the app.
Myers has suggested that Qthru could offer customers suggestions for wines and other things that would compliment the items already in their carts and offer a discount with them. He also suggested that the system could let a customer know if there is a cheaper alternative to the item they just bought, for example if the customer scanned Coke products and it was Pepsi week.
The beta test is near completion and the app is just about ready to upload to the iTunes store. Roberts promises and Android version and Windows Phone version as well.
Comments Off on Seattle Startup: MoxTree The Social Network For Moms INTERVIEW0LikeLike 1,195
Whether you’re a brand new mom or a veteran mom, you can always use the camaraderie and advice of other likeminded mothers. If you’ve just had your first child and you have a problem or a question it’s great to have experienced moms to help you out. It’s also great to have new moms to buddy up with and go through the goods and the bads of raising children together.
These are the basic principles around connecting moms to each other, and Mox Tree a social network for moms.
The Seattle startup was founded by 33 year old Victoria Oldridge who is the mom to two children under two and a a half. She was attending different mom groups for play dates and book clubs and found that for some reason or another most of these groups don’t stay together. Obviously the internet and a social network just for moms would be a great place to start.
MoxTree is still prelaunch and they have a sign up bar at the top of the page but Oldridge is very optimistic about meeting the general need to connect for moms.
Sure you can meet moms in the neighborhood or at the park,but we’ve all seen at least one episode of Desperate Housewives. Of course school can be a great place to meet other moms, and it can also turn into a competitive war zone.
Using MoxTree mothers can learn more and more about each other while connecting and forming friendships without these other issues in the way.
We got a chance to talk with Oldridge about MoxTree in this interview:
Comments Off on Seattle Startup: iHear Network Is Like Your Own Personal News Radio Station INTERVIEW0LikeLike 1,335
A Seattle startup is revolutionizing the way you consume news. The startup is called iHear Network and their first product takes your news, tweets and other information and reads them aloud for you. It’s a text-to-speech app that focuses on the news, information and social items you want to hear.
Their first app launched ahead of SXSW 2011 and was designed to read tweets aloud to you. The Seattle based startup, founded by Matt Fitzsimmons, Matthew Markus and Geoff Simons has gone beyond Twitter to news and information.
We got a chance to talk with iHear Network CEO Paul Simons. Check out the interview below the break.
Seattle startup TangoCard continues to make news. Just last week we reported that Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, had participated in a $1.8M round of funding for TangoCard through his Innovation Endeavors investment arm.
Today loyalty and rewards startup Plink has announced a partnership with TangoCard that will take their 35,000 merchant rewards network from Facebook credits, to a plethora of great opportunities for redemption. Now in addition to earning Facebook credits that can be used for hundreds of Facebook apps and games, customers in the Plink reward network can also earn credit towards top merchants like Amazon,Home Depot, Target,iTunes,The Gap, Nike and many more.
“Our members have asked for more choices and we’re excited to expand the innovative ways they can earn rewards for eating and shopping offline,” Peter Vogel, Plink’s co-founder and President said in a statement. “Plink’s goal is to bridge the gap between online consumers and their offline purchases and partnering with Tango Card makes that vision more rewarding for our current members and attractive to new ones. We still believe in Facebook and Facebook credits; we wanted to increase our reach and exposure.”
Tango will also handle all of the work involved in the gift card part of the program.
“Plink and Tango Card are rethinking how consumers want to earn and use rewards,” David Leeds, CEO and founder of Tango Card said in a prepared statement. “Tango Card carefully curates digital rewards to deliver a complete program in a card. This approach allows Plink to focus on their core business: creating an innovative online-to-offline loyalty program. We are huge fans of what Plink is doing and are delighted that Plink selected our easy SDK [software development kit] to integrate the Tango Card.”
“We were looking for new ways to advertise all over the Internet and through Facebook, not just to people that are playing games on Facebook,” Vogel added. “We had seen Tango out in the marketplace. They have a lot of the biggest and most popular brands that our members want. Tango Card provides our members with a one-stop stop shop with an easy entry point. Tango also has a mobile application that enables our members to pick the [electronic] card they want on the go. It’s a very appealing model. For us, it’s all about choice.”
Just last week Tango received a $1.8 million dollar series A round. They said at that time they would use the fund for expansion, hiring more developers and expanding their proprietary software applications. Obviously they are moving quickly toward that goal.
Seattle startup Tango Card is looking to continue to bring innovation to the gift card and rewards space. They are focused on enterprise customers and incorporate digital goods into gift cards and loyalty programs. Tango Card already powers solutions for Bing Rewarsd, FedEx, Extole and Shutterfly.
Those are just some of the factors by two big announcements the company had last week. First of which was that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors has participated in a $1.8 million dollar Series A round, alongside Western Technology Investment. Tango Card plans to use those funds to hire more software developers and expand their proprietary software applications.
Tango Card also announced that Westpac GM Technology and Boeing Joint Strike Fighter IT director Randy Fennel is joining the company in an expanded CTO role.
“As a company we’re focused on launching innovative and proprietary software applications in huge and unexplored verticals, execution, and strong brand and partner curation. With Innovation Endeavors and WTI as our first institutional investors we have access to incredible industry thought leaders, mentors and innovators from the Innovation Community. Both investors also bring very deep pockets and long-term focus to Tango Card,” said David Leeds, CEO and Founder of Tango Card. “Additionally, our ability to attract someone with the pedigree, capabilities, and respect that Randy Fennel brings to the company underscores the exciting things we have already done and the mission we are on. Ultimately, this additional capital and the hire of Randy positions us to scale rapidly – a good thing since we have grown 30X already year-over-year,” Leeds concludes.
“We were attracted to Tango Card’s vision of bringing gift cards and digital goods to huge and unexplored areas, and doing this primarily through efficient and scalable software and proprietary applications,” said Dror Berman, Founding Managing Partner at Innovation Endeavors. “We believe we can add significant value as partners and advisors and look forward to working with this exceptionally talented team.” Maurice Werdegar, CEO of WTI stated, “We love David’s track record of success and clear results-based leadership. I’ve known him since his FiberTower days, just before he and his co-founders took that company public, and we see similar opportunities here.”
Tango Card works like no other gift card program out there. A purchaser can buy a Tango Card and give it to the recipient via email. The recipient can then exchange the value of the card for a variety of retailers cards like Amazon, iTunes, Target etc. Or they can elect to donate all or a portion of the cards value to charity.
Not only that but Tango Card makes their card program more social. They call it the “What I got” card, and they allow the recipient to take a picture of what they got with the card and post it for the giver to see via a mobile app available for both Android and iOS.
Tango Card allows more variety for the recipient and a better chance they’ll get what they actually want, no matter what the retailer.