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RedBeacon – TechCrunch 50 Goes Loco…I Mean Local

September 16th, 2009
7 Comments


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:

  1. RedBeacon – Find local service pros
  2. SeatGeek – Get concert tix
  3. Yext – Send phone calls to local service pros
  4. LocalBacon – Job seekers pay to apply for jobs
  5. Mota – Buy a used car
  6. RefMob – Get paid to refer clients to bizzes
  7. Breakthrough – Talk to your shrink online
  8. Thoora – News curation (I assume part of that means local news)
  9. Insttant – People generated news (also assume there’s a local thing going on here – I will never get that URL right)
  10. Clixtr – Location-aware camera in your phone
  11. CitySourced – Report a pothole, and anything else you want to bitch about, to the city via your smartphone

Tags: Yext.com

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Todd Leiser // Sep 16, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I’d love to see JUST ONE of these presentations completed without the PLUMBER being one of the local examples.

    Seems like cupcake providers are the “Sweet Spot” for RedBeacon.

    All of us local yokels would probably advise them not to be the moth around the ServiceMagic light bulb.

  • 2 Twitter Trackbacks for RedBeacon - TechCrunch 50 Goes Loco…I Mean Local | Local SEO Guide [localseoguide.com] on Topsy.com // Sep 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

    [...] RedBeacon – TechCrunch 50 Goes Loco…I Mean Local | Local SEO Guide http://www.localseoguide.com/redbeacon-techcrunch-50-goes-locoi-mean-local – view page – cached 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 — From the page [...]

  • 3 Ryan Underdown // Sep 16, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I couldn’t agree more! Sites like servicemagic are doomed long term to begin with, TC elevating this site shocked me. SeatGeek is just a scraper… really none of these entrants is particularly great.

  • 4 RedBeacon e le sfide del local business | GliAffidabili // Sep 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    [...] 1) Il local va di moda: delle 50 startup che hanno partecipato a TechCrunch50 almeno 11 si possono definire local oriented come illustra Andrew Shotland nel suo bel blog Local SEO Guide. [...]

  • 5 Andrew Shotland // Sep 16, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I totally hear you Todd. Whenever I go into my local spiel I always use Upholsterers as my example. Sometimes if I think my audience is spacing out I use Taxidermist or Proctologist.

    Ryan I dont’ think Service Magic like services are doomed in the long run. I do think their ability to charge bidding fees might have to change over time, but the concept of generating qualified leads to service pros and getting paid for it ain’t going away any time soon.

  • 6 Bernie // Sep 21, 2009 at 3:21 am

    Good concept – but the ‘free to use’ tagline is a lure. All in all, the percentage from the quote will be reflected on the final service fee.

    I totally agree that this is already the case with YellowPages ads – but those ad costs are evenly distributed. This time, I think the %age increase will top the exact quote the user is asking for.

  • 7 Sam // Oct 6, 2009 at 2:47 am

    I’d love to see JUST ONE of these presentations completed without the PLUMBER being one of the local examples.

    Seems like cupcake providers are the “Sweet Spot” for RedBeacon.

    All of us local yokels would probably advise them not to be the moth around the ServiceMagic light bulb.

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