Entrepreneur

BestVendor is the utility belt for small business apps

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarchi/838786980/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Being successful in business is about knowing what your competitors know and being able to act on it. If you could find out what kinds of work tools are helping your competitors stay lean and mean, it could be a real leg up. You can’t just call up a competitor and ask. But a new startup called BestVendor is creating a Yelp-like recommendations network around work apps to make that kind of tool discovery possible.

BestVendor wants to make it easier for any business to find the right software to get work done, based on the experience of professionals at similar companies.

“When it comes to desktop Web and mobile applications there are new things coming out all the time,” BestVendor co-founder and chief executive Jeff Giesea told VentureBeat. “There’s a lot of noise, but some of them can be really helpful to businesspeople.”

The BestVendor signup page is simple and elegant and asks you to submit three work-related apps you love. Then it helps your build a profile by connecting your LinkedIn account to the service. The information about your company size and industry helps BestVendor match you with similar companies in similar industries. From there it’s quick and easy to see what tools companies like yours are using and to try them out for yourself.

BestVendor is solving a problem for businesses, but it is also bringing new customers to the app makers. Rather than spend money on marketing their products through traditional channels, developers can use BestVendor to connect with the people most likely to buy what they’re selling by finding them at a time when they need it.

In 2008 there were 27 million small businesses in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration. A small business is one that employs fewer than 50 people. It’s fair to assume that most American small businesses don’t have a procurement department whose sole job it is to find and test the best work tools.

“Ten years ago it would have seemed weird that we all share our resumes online using Linkedin. We’re working towards a world where professionals are sharing the tools they’re using online and it becomes part of their identity,” said Giesea.

Right now BestVendor  has 4,100 users, but the site launched in an open beta at the beginning of November. BestVendor is based in New York City, and has three employees. The company received $600,000 in seed funding from Peter Thiel, Ron Conway’s SV AngelLerer Ventures and Softbank Capital.

Giesea recently shared the 25 most beloved work web services and work apps on VentureBeat. BestVendor has also compiled a list of top tools for developers, and the results of its 500-person survey were compiled in an infographic released today.


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