Guest Columnist

Column: Get your startup listed, noticed

June 24, 2013 

Joe Procopio

No matter how fantastically disruptive your startup’s product or service happens to be, no one will use it, let alone invest in it, if they don’t know it exists.

Discoverability, the process of getting your company into the minds of potential customers and investors, is a problem not just for early-stage startups, but all startups.

Here are seven places to consider listing your startup.

AngelList: If you’re raising money at any level, whether now or down the road, you should create an AngelList profile. Started as a digital way to democratize capital investment, AngelList is allegedly pushing to facilitate more investment activity outside of Silicon Valley. Durham payments startup Spreedly was part of that push, and recently closed a $300,000 seed round in 10 days from an introduction they got via AngelList.

“As an Angel investor,” said Aaron Houghton, co-founder of BoostSuite, a Durham web marketing company. “I get (AngelList’s) weekly emails showing me top activity among startups that meet my filters, which is very cool. I check out every company in every email.”

CrunchBase: Started by TechCrunch, this global directory of startups, entrepreneurs, investors and deals launched a venture program last month with over 100 venture firms, angel groups and incubators.

But beware.

“I have received somewhat spammy emails from people finding us there,” said Adam Covati, CEO of Argyle Social, a Durham marketing software company.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn has picked up momentum lately, becoming a powerful tool for hiring, research and leads, but it isn’t a silver bullet for any one task.

“We haven’t had as much success in recruiting people through searches, but it’s great for getting background on customers before sales calls,” said Andrew McConnell, founder of recent Startup Factory graduate Vacation Futures.

“I would note,” Covati said. “That we can identify people who are interested in a subject, but it is often hard to find people who have intent to buy.”

Twitter: Twitter is a must. It’s the 2013 equivalent of having a website.

Most people think about Twitter for marketing and customer service, but that’s evolving as well.

“I do a lot of sourcing of contacts for partners via Twitter,” Covati said. “It’s also a very good tool for watching competitors.”

Facebook: While Facebook can be a customer-facing marketing machine, it seems to be waning in popularity for businesses.

“We’re pretty active on Facebook as a business and it feels pretty lonely,” said Houghton. “I think paid ads are the way to go on Facebook.”

Google+: G+ is begrudgingly earning respect.

“The safest bet is that it never goes away because it’s now so integrated in just about everything else that Google does,” Houghton said. “I think it will continue to be more effective for business as Google ties it into their existing business products.”

Joe Procopio is a serial entrepreneur, writer and speaker. Follow him on Twitter @jproco or joeprocopio.com

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