RedBeacon, a new lead generating service for local service providers, is the winning start-up at this year’s TechCrunch50 conference. From the pitch video I watched it seems like RedBeacon is basically ServiceMagic except that service pros don’t have to pay to quote a job – they pay a percent of their quote if they win the job.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I do think it will be extremely challenging for RedBeacon to execute and distinguish itself from the large number of other local service models that are out there confusing the SMBs and consumers already. Some of local yokels over at the blog of Mr. G.E. Sterling seem to agree.
I was hoping Roelof Botha of Sequoia (an investor in InsiderPages) would have given the founders a bit more of a grilling, but the format didn’t seem to allow for a lot of Q&A. It also wasn’t apparent from the pitch that the founders had much experience in the local arena – not always a bad thing. One of my fave moments was when co-founder Ethan Anderson, when asked how they are different from ServiceMagic, said that one distinguishing feature was that they were focused on a broader set of service categories v. SM which was focused on home services like handymen. A few minutes later when Paul Graham asked which categories they thought had the most potential Ethan answered “household services, things like handymen, maids, carpet cleaners, gardeners, those are the biggest opportunity…these are the ones that we think will gravitate to it initially.” Hmmm…Well, best of luck to these guys. I look forward to seeing them in the SERPs.
Besides RedBeacon, there were a large number of other start-ups that had some kind of local angle at TC50. Here’s the list:
Local Oriented Start-Ups At TC50:
- RedBeacon – Find local service pros
- SeatGeek – Get concert tix
- Yext – Send phone calls to local service pros
- LocalBacon – Job seekers pay to apply for jobs
- Mota – Buy a used car
- RefMob – Get paid to refer clients to bizzes
- Breakthrough – Talk to your shrink online
- Thoora – News curation (I assume part of that means local news)
- Insttant – People generated news (also assume there’s a local thing going on here – I will never get that URL right)
- Clixtr – Location-aware camera in your phone
- CitySourced – Report a pothole, and anything else you want to bitch about, to the city via your smartphone