Launch: Getting the word out
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Marketing startups aim to streamline workflow for businesses.
Technology has unleashed an infinite number of ways for marketers to engage with consumers. Customer.io, a Portland-based startup, found its niche by creating a tool that interacts and influences customer behavior in real time. Existing tools monitoring consumer behavior don’t go far enough, says founder Colin Nederkoorn.
“That was our eureka moment.”
Officially launched in 2012, Customer.io consists of a messaging platform that enables businesses to send customized, automated messages based on consumer purchase activity and engagement with the company.
Major brands like Handy, Shutterstock and The Knot have jumped onboard. The 24-person team is motivated by the chance to solve complex problems, Nederkoorn says.
“There’s a challenge to doing something well and providing value to people, rather than just making money.”
Brian Hennessy’s five-year gig as Adidas’ head writer inspired him to found Hood River-based Talkoot, a cloud-based digital content management system.
[At Adidas] “I realized a brand is a complex system of nested stories — from a company’s reason for being, to its product categories, collections and collaborations, to its individual products and technologies,” Hennessy says. “All those stories need to stay consistent and cohesive, one building upon another.”
Talkoot has another root in Thread, a writing studio Hennessy founded in 2009. “Tired of holding on by our fingernails” when copy season began, the team decided they needed a platform to write, edit, translate and approve large-amounts of text, Hennessy says.
Talkoot launched internally in 2014 and signed Adidas in 2015. The software resembles a Google Doc but is tailored for storing and editing copy company-wide.
So far the startup “is a blue ocean” with no direct competition, Hennessy says. “But that also means there is no line item in the budget.”
The team hopes to take on investors by the end of the year to ramp up sales.
Allie Magyar was working for Dynamic Events, a company dedicated to simplifying event management, when she realized planning events internally was a drag. So she came up with the idea of Hubb, a software program aimed at further streamlining the event-planning and management process.
“You know what? I’m planning tech events. I should bite the bullet and do this,” she says of her founder’s story.
Hubb uses a single platform to publish track speakers, venues, ticketing and other event content. The program launched internally in 2012, and by 2015 Magyar was bootstrapping the company for outside use.
“I wanted validation there was an actual need in the market,” she says. Hubb ended the year with 21 clients, including Microsoft and Intel.
Magyar says now that the Vancouver-based company is growing, she loves telling meeting managers about the product and seeing their eyes light up.
“It’s like I’m an evangelist in this industry,” she says.
Magyar’s pitch won first place at the 2016 Seattle Angel Conference, and later broke fundraising records at the 2016 Bend Venture Conference.