Business

Teenagers storm the startup scene with social shopping

orbit

When I was a teenager, I spent a good amount of time on the Internet, chatting with my girlfriends, downloading the latest emo rock ballad, and looking up flirting tips.

Tyler Simpson (14) and Brandon Keller (15) also spend a lot of time online. However, instead of channeling their energy into adolescent angst, they are building a company.

Their startup OrbitFront connects businesses with reviewers. As the popularity of Amazon and Yelp demonstrate, people love to express their opinions online. On the flip side, retailers want to capitalize on social media and customer feedback to drive sales.

OrbitFront brings vendors and reviewers together. Brand partners post products that they want people to review. Users can request a test unit, write up their experience of the product, and make referral money from people who purchase through their affiliate link.

The duo have a goal of 20 partners and 50 products, spanning multiple categories, by the end of the year. They acknowledge that starting a company takes hard work, but they said they’re up to the challenge.

“We have a philosophy at OrbitFront,” Simpson said. “Age is just a label that doesn’t say a whole lot about a person’s capabilities. What does is their patience and drive.

OrbitFront is founded on the belief that people trust human reviews more than advertising, and that “social media is the next big thing in marketing and commerce.”

Regardless of how the company fares with fundraising, which they are actively pursuing, or the online community, the founders’ strong resemblance to the Jonas Brothers should at least guarantee success with girls.

OrbitFront is one of 75 companies and 6 student “alpha” startups chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2012 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After we make our selections, the chosen companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.


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