Postling, a New York-based startup co-founded by David Lifson (CEO), Chris Maguire (VP of Engineering) and Haim Schoppik (CTO) — all ex-Etsy folks — has raised $350,000 in seed funding from angel investors including Dave McClure, Chris Yeh, Gary Vaynerchuk and Thomas McInereny.
The company has developed a web-based dashboard that can be used by small- and medium-sized businesses to manage tools and web services. From Twitter to reviews on Yelp and CitySearch to who’s checking into their retail locations to what deals are being made available on sites such as Groupon, Postling will essentially be a meta-tool for everything.
“There are 100s of tools out there that could genuinely provide value to local businesses, if only they had the time and inclination to research them all and use the best ones (which none of them do),” Lifson told me via email. “Instead, we are finding the best ones and using their APIs to create a super easy to use dashboard that combines everything into one place.”
Until very recently, Postling’s focus was entirely different. “We pivoted 3 weeks ago once I realized how quickly the social media management space was commoditizing and all of the competition was compressing into targeting the few companies that would consider paying for such tools – media, PR, agencies – which would put them in a position to ask for all kinds of customizations and services,” Lifson explained, adding: “The real story is this pivot came right before SXSW and I raised about $200k in the 5 days of SXSW – a successful trip.” Indeed.
“We are building an advice recommendation engine to give them guidance,” Lifson said of the companies Postling is targeting as customers. “We want them to turn to Postling and, instead of shoving metrics and numbers in their face, recommend them tangible things to do in 5 minutes, like respond to blog comments or post a photo on Flickr.” I think this approach is a smart one. While I am always skeptical of revenue models based on small- and medium-sized businesses as customers, Postling is providing a truly valuable service for that market.
Two final observations: First, Postling’s business is less about technical wizardry and more about creating a community around the product. Second, the team needs to have flawless execution — lest copycats come in and steal their lunch.