These startups generated plenty of buzz last year, but get ready to hear more in the coming months, according a list posted on Inc.com.
Pawngo: This business is basically an online pawn shop. You get an offer from Pawngo, and if you accept, you FedEx your item to them in exchange for a (usually pretty modest) loan. Based in Denver, this startup has already loaned more than $2 million in less than 6 months. Given the state of the economy now and (let’s face it) in the foreseeable near future, Pawngo is one to watch. People increasingly use the internet to do practically everything, and since most banks aren’t lending, Pawngo may be the way to go.
Pinterest: While you can browse Pinterest without an account, this invite-only online social platform creates an environment where you can “pin” and share things that you love, usually through images. Pinterest has something for everyone, including (but certainly not limited to) cute pictures of sleeping puppies, recipes for apple pie, do-it-yourself fashion tips, nature photography, work-out tips, and more. According to Inc.com, Pinterest has quadrupled its number of visitors since August.
TaskRabbit: Their tagline says it all: “Get just about anything done by safe, reliable, awesome people.” Originally called “RunMyErrand”, this San Francisco-based startup has received increased financing and attention. Need help with house cleaning? Moving help? Dry-cleaning? Groceries? For a fee, there’s probably someone nearby who’s willing to help you out. All “TaskRabbits” are background-checked, with reviews from community members.
Slice: This online service is free, and helps you organize and track everything you buy online. You can track orders, save money receiving alerts about things you buy, and manage purchases by backing up receipts. You can review your purchases and keep track of your spending. With the shift to e-commerce, services like Slice are businesses to watch.
BlackLocus: BlackLocus is an online service that helps you track your competitors’ pricing. You can assess your competitors’ pricing strategies, while increasing your own sales and margins by discovering how to price your products in a competitive market. This summer, BlackLocus received a $2.5 million equity investment.
Expensify: Yet another online service (seeing a trend?), Expensify streamlines expense reports so you don’t have to. Just like using a spreadsheet, you can rename categories and track spending. You can also access Expensify on your smartphone.
Birchbox: For $10 a month, customers (primarily women) receive a hand-selected package of beauty product samples, including skincare, hair, makeup, and other products. Birchbox is less than a year old, but has 45,000 users and is gaining investors fast.
These online services showcase the vast potential and lucrative market of the internet. People are more than willing to shell out cash to have services or products delivered to them, and because we spend so much time (and money) online, we are increasingly likely to rely on services that help us organize and manage our online activity. Expect to see more online startups gain momentum this year and beyond.
John Bradley Jackson
The BirdDog Group