Archive for the ‘Anywhere’ tag
- Healthy Dose of Imagination by Collaborative Fund
Great roundup of healthcare technologies
- Zaarly Anywhere
Really fascinating concept:
Zaarly Anywhere is the seamless way to marry ideas from great online content with offline commerce in the local community.
Readers engage with their favorite sites everyday looking for inspiring lifestyle ideas. They’re seeking great experiences, delicious food, home improvement projects, creative design concepts and new ways to get healthy. Now, add talented people nearby to create action — that’s Zaarly Anywhere. Imagine seeing a beautiful piece of furniture, a delicious dinner or the perfect nursery and then having a nearby carpenter, chef or designer make it happen. Turning ideas into reality, that’s Zaarly Anywhere.
For many, the appeal of realtime, local commerce platforms like Zaarly is evident almost immediately. For those unfamiliar, the mobile-centric reverse craigslist allows users to post requests to Zaarly’s app — for anything from data entry to a fancy Starbucks mocha frappuccino and how much you would be willing to pay for it. Then users can kick back and wait for their coffee to arrive — or so the idea goes. It’s a great idea, and it works. For a good example, look no further than Greg’s experience.
The initial concept immediately caught the attention of Ashton Kutcher, Felicis Ventures, Paul Buchheit, Bill Lee and Naval Ravikant — to name a few — who put $1 million into Zaarly less than a month after it appeared at LA Startup Weekend.
As appealing as the idea is, however, I must admit that, personally, I was skeptical at first. What about trust? Wouldn’t people just prefer using TaskRabbit and craigslist? How would it scale? The team launched Zaarly 2.0 in March, which began to address the trust issue in particular, removing the anonymity component, allowing users to create profiles along with the opportunity to recommend and review both buyers and sellers.
Of course, Zaarly’s initial model leaves it up to users to discover the app themselves, or by word of mouth, which means that, development-wise, the Zaarly experience is somewhat limited. But, today, the startup took a big step forward in its evolution, launching its “Zaarly Anywhere” API, which boasts seven top content publishers as launch partners, including Everyday Health, The Fancy, LA Times, Cookstr and IKEA Hackers.
As Paul Graham has noted, APIs have become increasingly popular among startups as a tool that enables “self-serve” — or instant — “business development.” Thousands have caught onto this, as have some of the alternative craigslist marketplaces. TaskRabbit, for example, launched an API in February that allowed third-party apps to integrate with the startup’s API to allow their users to outsource their to-do workflows.
Astrid and Producteev were among two early startups to sign on, enabling their users to outsource tasks directly from their apps or portals to the TaskRabbit community with one click. Facebook has grown to a behemoth for myriad reasons, but one of the bigger contributing factors was Facebook Connect and its “Like” button, which worked Facebook into third-party apps and into the fabric of the Web, allowing businesses and sites to port their social graphs and login to various sites using their Facebook info.
Zaarly Anywhere is a natural next-step for the service, borrowing from these previous examples to help expose the service to new users and extend its functionality beyond its native app. Now, through Zaarly integration, visitors can, say, post a request in the Zaarly marketplace and have their requests responded to with a click of a button without having to leave the site they were browsing.
Zaarly co-founder and CEO Bo Fishback also sees the startup’s new API as creating a new revenue stream for its publishing partners by offering them another way to connect their online content with offline commerce.
While its launch partners include impressive names (and user bases), the scope is still somewhat small. But eventually, at least so their thinking goes, you could be browsing any type of online content — like, for example, a review of a new video game. You might check Amazon or other sites to find that it’s not available, but integration with Zaarly’s marketplace allows you to put up a figure to be able to buy or rent the game immediately.
Fishback believes that, in this way, Zaarly can help build a new type of commerce, or at least a new way to buy local. Read about a delicious dinner on a Cookstr, and immediately be able to connect with the Zaarly marketplace to ask a local chef to make it happen. It’s a potentially appealing option for publishers who, with shrinking ad revenues and bottom lines, are nearly all looking for better, non-intrusive yet effective ways to monetize content and increase engagement.
It’s a great way to begin building the Zaarly experience into other websites and through partner channels, leveraging the open web to create dedicated services that encourage people to spend money in their local communities (while creating additional revenue streams). For publishers, Everyday Health’s David Siegel, for example, calls this a great way to pair “inspiration with action.”
But how does it work? While on partner sites, users create Zaarly requests by clicking a button that will be integrated into content, like articles, social media buttons, and photos. The Zaarly API then populates the request with the title, description and location details from the partner’s site, enabling people to receive offers from users in their own community, who can choose the best response and pay through Zaarly’s platform.
Fishback says that the startup’s initial partners fall in line with the most active requests they’ve seen to date in the Zaarly marketplace, namely food, health, wellness, design and home improvement. Going forward, the startup will be looking to incorporate additional partners fast and furiously, while it continues to maintain its open marketplace, which has seen more than $30 million in requests posted since launching in May of last year.
It also represents a positive step forward towards future monetization for Zaarly, which is currently resting on laurels that include a $14.1 million series A raise from Kleiner Perkins, Sands Capital Ventures in October (on top of its initial $1 million), as well as the addition of HP CEO (and former eBay CEO) Meg Whitman to its board of directors.
Zaarly Anywhere opens the startup to a customized experience within dedicated platforms without pushing purchasing or sales in a way that would make most consumers balk. It just gives readers and surfers an opportunity to make the content they enjoy come to life while supporting the kind of skilled, local labor that can help make that happen. Could be a win-win.
Zaarly, the online marketplace where users find and hire talented local builders and artisans, is announcing a new “Zaarly Anywhere” initiative that allows any site to enable offline commerce from online content.
This comes just a month after the local shopping startup integrated with The Fancy to enable social commerce on that Pinterest competitor.
Zaarly users have already requested $30 million in custom projects, such as building a custom treehouse or setting up Christmas lights. But the new initiative broadens the reach of Zaarly-style local commerce to every site on the internet, significantly extending the number of internet users who can participate, and enabling publishers to monetize their content in new ways.
“For example,” Zaarly chief executive Bo Fishback told VentureBeat, “someone might see a recipe on the EveryDay Health website, which has millions of unique monthly visitors, and click the Zaarly button to get it made for them.”
When users see an interesting item on a participating website — perhaps a custom-made table, or an amazing cake — they can click the Zaarly button. That creates a request on Zaarly’s website which skilled local creators can bid on. When the potential buyer picks one of the bids, a deal will be consummated, and the original participating site gets a share of the revenue.
“It’s as simple as putting a Facebook like button up,” Fishback said. “You could literally put it up on your personal blog … and even match the colors of your site.”
Fishback has eaten his own dogfood … he used the service to to get a raised garden built in his backyard. The expert who built it for him turned out to be a farmer for 30 years and an expert in raised gardens.
The service is designed for custom, personalized items and services, not products you can buy at Amazon.com.
“Sites like The Fancy have their own e-commerce for commercial items like a Rolex watch,” Fishback says. “But other things, such as home improvement projects … there’s nowhere to go for that.”
That’s exactly where Zaarly excels.
Zaarly was founded in 2011, and has investments from Kleiner Perkins as well as super-angels such as Ron Conway and Paul Buchheit. The company is based in San Francisco.
Image credit: PixelBliss/ShutterStock
As our content is scattered across sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, the idea of a single, standalone website is starting to feel a bit quaint. On the consumer side, we’re seeing that with products like About.me and Flavors.me, which try to unify your various social identities in one place. Now a digital agency called Sparkart is tackling the problem from the brand and business side, with a product called Storyteller.
This was, apparently, something that Sparkart created for itself, having built websites for 300 customers including Bon Jovi, The Killers, Slipknot, Keith Urban, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and America’s Cup. Jain says the agency will be using Storyteller for every website it creates going forward. The team gave me a quick demo of the product by building a Bon Jovi site — since I’m not a developer, the product is a bit hard to judge, but they did get a nice-looking website up with YouTube videos, Tumblr posts, and more, in just a few minutes.
Storyteller is launching today in an invite-only beta. Jain says that he eventually plans to spin the product out into a separate business, so that he can avoid the problems (as he calls it, “a Jekyll-and-Hyde effect”) that agencies face when they get into the product business.
500px, the Toronto-based startup that powers a super-slick photo sharing site, announced today that it has made its first acquisition with the purchase of Algo Anywhere, a startup also based in Toronto that specializes in recommendation algorithms.
The pricetag was some $2 million, which came in a mix of cash and stock, a source involved in the deal tells me. That’s a very nice takeaway for a bootstrapped two-man startup that was founded just 10 months ago.
500px says Algo Anywhere’s recommendation engine technology will integrated fully into its site to power new personalization features. Going forward, Algo’s Zach Aysan and Adam Gravitis will serve as 500px’s Chief Data Scientist and Chief Software Architect, respectively. These additions will bring 500px’s staff number up to 16 people.
Founded in 2009, 500px has emerged over the past 18 months or so as a super popular place for professional photographers and advanced photo buffs to share and sell their works — giving sites such as Flickr a real run for their money. 500px has taken on just over half a million dollars in outside funding, so it’s pretty cool to see how successful it’s become going up against players with much deeper pockets. Today’s multi-million dollar acquisition shows that the team has even bigger plans for the months ahead.
Here is a relevant bit from the press release that 500px issued this morning about the Algo Anywhere deal:
“One of our goals that we’re constantly working towards with our platform, is to make it more user friendly, more customized and more engaging,” said Oleg Gutsol, CEO of 500px. “When we first met the Algo team we immediately recognized that their capabilities and technology would be a perfect fit for our needs to make social photography more interactive and engaging. Combining their big data analysis and recommendation engine, curation and visual content we’re looking forward to offering our users a greatly enhanced experience.”
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