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May 03, 2012

Cool Startups You Want to Know about, Trust Me

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Today in New York City at the New World Stages, Startup 2012 took place. This event is a full-day affair and brought together thought leaders from all over the country and world to discuss real-life experiences learned from kicking off a start-up company.

At a really fun session called “Eight Cool Startups Pitch the Audience (News - Alert) with Judges,” which closely mimics a favorite television show of mine called Shark Tank; I got the chance to hear about some incredible companies in their initial stages.

LocalVox is a local online social market platform for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that was designed to assist companies who have no time to continuously update their organizations’ websites or reach out to new customers using social media. With a single partner that can do all of this, businesses can easily make an announcement or upload an event only once, and everything they manage is then automatically updated and distributed to new customers, allowing firms to optimize on search sites with ease. Offering simple yet extremely powerful metrics including calls to action to move numbers, a personal account representative, as well as writers available when you need them for only $349 a month, the business has touched 1.8 million unique visitors via its publisher network. Boasting a retention rate of 95 percent with a value of over $2,500 per client, the firm currently has a profitable unit that is worth 5:1 in lifetime value vs. cost of acquisition. Only launched one year ago, LocalVox already has 500 clients and has recently reported $1 million in revenue.

Omada is a brand new organization using Web technology to address the healthcare crisis that is crippling our country. With around 80 percent of healthcare costs directly related to avoidable conditions, diabetes prevention is a huge problem that needs to looked at much more closely. Luckily, this start-up takes people who have been categorized with suffering from pre-diabetes, a situation in which their blood sugar levels are abnormal but not yet high enough to be considered full diabetes, and helps them make changes which can reduce healthcare costs overall. By giving participants a designated health coach and allowing them to monitor their hopefully improving results with a scale on their phones, this organization is dedicated to long term risk reduction that will appeal to many industries including self insurance employees such as Walmart and major healthcare plans like United.

On the other hand, Plink has been created to provide Facebook (News - Alert) credits for eating at popular eateries a majority of Americans already frequently attend including Arby’s, Outback, and Red Robin. By powering a risk free model due to the fact that the advertiser don’t get paid unless people eat in these restaurants, this business also benefits restaurant owners as they aren’t required to change their point of sale infrastructure at all. Right now, this firm is focused on targeting social gamers, as recent statistics show that 70 million Facebook users play games at least one hour a day.

Plink is link between social gamers and offline purchases and essentially how it works is a user can sign up for $5 to join the company who will then track their transactions via PayPal (News - Alert). Partners then pay Plink a 10 percent commission and then in turn the business gives half of that to the consumer in Facebook credits and keeps half as revenue.  As the days pass, this company is continuing to grow as frequency of visits is dramatically increasing, spend per visit is up, and loyalty is being ramped up for these national chains.

Additionally, Subuno is a next-generation fraud prevention SaaS (News - Alert) platform that helps merchants prevent fraud. When fraud usually occurs, merchants are 100 percent liable and in 2011 alone, $7 billion was lost due to online credit card fraud which is a huge problem for merchants. So to help merchants save money,   this comprehensive fraud prevention program encompasses different tools to fight fraud from one single point—in the form of an app store for fraud prevention. Users have the ability to turn the apps on and off on demand, as well as only pay for the technology they need.

According to company officials, “Subuno takes the best offerings to combat fraud, combines them and offers it in one seamless solution.” The company now is working with 50 merchants, has 12 pending channel partnerships, has raised 500,000 in seed money, and completes around 800 transactions a month. “

Last but not least, Tigertrade connects suppliers, buyers and service providers by acting as an end-to-end solution that makes processes more efficient. This startup began in Southeast Asia, a region that is now booming and has 160 million trading companies doing 140 billion dollars in transactions. With over 2,600 customers, a 48 percent conversion rate to premium memberships, and 3,000 customers in the pipeline, this firm gets customers with zero dollars spent. How, you ask? With a strategic partner approach via partnering with trade associations, trade publications, and trade shows and market directly to members.

If you didn’t know, now you do!

Edited by Juliana Kenny
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