Local startups are everywhere these days, as entrepreneurs attempt to gain a foothold in the growing market. At the Street Fight Summit on Tuesday afternoon, startup investor and mentor Laurel Touby quizzed five founders about their plans for world domination and developing a viable business model to support it. Here’s what we learned:
Cups, Gilad Rotem, CEO
While Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts dominate the U.S. coffee market, there are over 30,000 independent coffee stops with over $12 billion in revenue. But those independent shops can’t battle the Starbucks app. Cups unites the independent coffee shops with prepaid unlimited monthly subscriptions across networks of stores. A pilot in Tel Aviv sold 100,000 cups of coffee across 80 shops. The company works with 120 shops in New York and have sold 50,000 cups since May. Rotem says it’s right now the third-biggest “chain” in New York.
Mind My Business/Vizalytics, Aileen Gemma Smith, CEO
Gemma Smith had an epiphany after Hurricane Sandy. Many businesses had no idea how any of the rules and regulations changed, what might be shut down, or how any of the construction would affect them. For $40 a month, Mind My Business solves that problem. It sends out business-specific alerts for things like construction, regulation changes, and rats. “Rats are our most shared alert,” Gemma Smith said. The company sent out 60,000 customized business-specific customized alerts last month to the hundreds of businesses it works with in New York. 42 percent of owners check the app once a week and 15 percent do so daily. Across the country there are 700,000 businesses that are in 15 metros that have open data.
Uplette, Amanda Parker, CEO
Uplette fills the space between ad exchanges and DSP and consumers. It’s fully automated and claims to increase conversion rates 3x. The company works with a number of big consumer brands including Pepsi, which came to the agency where Parker worked, and Samsung. Uplette delivered 40 million smart user experiences since launching earlier this year, and it’s growing 50 percent month over month.
Requested, Sonny Mayugba, CEO
The goal of Requested is to give people the ability to name their price for anything they want at a local restaurant or club. Mayugba calls it a mix of Priceline and Open Table. A user inputs how much they want pay, when they want to come, if they want extras (like “meet the chef”), and anything else for any number of participating restaurants. The merchant receives the request and responds accordingly. Mayugba expects that Requested will be live in the next 15 days.
Alignable, Eric Groves, CEO
Groves says Alignable is a social network for local business owners to share information and collaborate. It seeks to capitalize on the potential trust between local businesses that are all invested in similar goals. Small, local businesses can send customers to each other, alert one another about shoplifters, work together on events, and more. Alignable exists in 3,500 active communities across all 50 states and Canada.
Noah Davis is a senior editor at Street Fight.