SOURCE: BestVendor

BestVendor

June 21, 2011 09:00 ET

BestVendor Raises $600,000 Seed Round to Bring Social Recommendations to Business Purchasing

Investors Include Lerer Ventures, SoftBank Capital, SVAngel, and Peter Thiel

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2011) - BestVendor, a New York startup that's using social recommendations to help business leaders make purchasing decisions, today announced that it closed $600,000 in seed funding. The round was led by SoftBank Capital and Lerer Ventures and also included Silicon Valley super-angels SVAngel and Peter Thiel.

BestVendor is crowdsourcing product reviews and recommendations for the 8m small businesses that don't have access to Gartner group subscriptions or procurement offices to help them figure out what to buy. Using a "give to get" model, users of the site share and rate a few products they use in their business. In exchange, they get free access to all other reviews and profiles on the site. With that dataset, the company is able to provide dynamic rankings of product categories like collaboration software, web hosting providers, or payroll providers based on what others use and recommend, which users can filter by industry, company size, and people in their social network. Users also can quickly ask for recommendations from people in their social network.

BestVendor's founders have significant experience connecting buyers and sellers of business products. CEO Jeff Giesea, who started the company in January, previously founded B2B media and lead-generation business FierceMarkets, which he sold in 2008. Co-Founders Ben Zhuk and Magnus von Koeller are recent graduates of Columbia Business School with extensive backgrounds in product development and engineering, respectively.

"Our vision is to become the first place people turn whenever they need to figure out what to buy for their business, much like Amazon is for books and Yelp is for restaurants," said Giesea. "In turn, we'll be a highly efficient customer acquisition vehicle for vendors."

BestVendor is in Alpha launch right now, but ultimately plans to drive revenue from enhanced vendor listings, various pay-for-performance options, and transactional revenues. Beta signup is available at http://www.bestvendor.com.

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