The Social Network: Local entrepreneurs debut their own versions
FARGO - A quick search of "social networking apps" on an Apple iPhone turns up 6,057 results. It is clear people are embracing new ways to network using their phone or computer.
Entrepreneurs Jeremiah Utecht, Jake Kohl and Sean Maki recently debuted their own versions of a social media platform at 1 Million Cups events in Fargo. One thing they all had in common: unusual spelling.
Here is a little more about Peanut Buttr, Klink and Kycker:
What: Peanut Buttr
Who: Jeremiah and Rachel Utecht
About: Peanut Buttr is a subscription-based website where small business owners can collect information about their clients. Jeremiah Utecht launched the site because he believes the biggest advantage small-business owners have over large corporations is that they can be personable.
To test his theory, he and his photographer wife, Rachel, conducted an email advertising campaign centered around her clients' important life events such as a child's birthday or an anniversary. He said the response rates were much higher than traditional email blasts.
"The problem I'm trying to solve is how you remember these details like kids' names and birthdays. ... The more potential customers I interviewed, the one common thread through it all is that we all actually care. We all care a lot, but we have so many different groups of people we interact with, keeping those details is hard. What Peanut Buttr is trying to do is help people curate and tend their most important contacts," Utecht said.
How it works: Business owners enter client information into the site which has 53 different fields for details such as names, addresses, family birthdays and anniversaries, favorite restaurants and so on.
Owners can refer to the site when needed, but it will also generate an email reminder each Monday of upcoming client events.
The site charges a $10 monthly fee. Something unique about Peanut Buttr is that Utecht is employing a completely transparent business model. Users can see how many clients the company has, what the revenue is, and whether people are joining or canceling.
"The success and failure of Peanut Buttr is open to the world," he said. "It's not fake it till you make it."
Who: Jake Kohl, Kyle Weik, Vince Mammana-Lupa, Muhammed Saho, Amanda and Blaine Booher
Online: The Klink app is available for free in iOS and Android app stores.
About: Klink is an ice breaker app developed at this year's Startup Weekend. It is meant to help people mingle at social events. Co-founder Kohl said it was a big hit at the Startup afterparty.
"Everyone was using Klink. It was really cool to see people who would Klink earlier in the evening and look back 20 to 30 minutes later and they were still talking. At that point, we were like, 'Hey, we've really got something here,' " he said.
How it works: Users download the app and set up a profile, which includes a topic he or she feels comfortable talking about. Once signed in, a flash card fills the phone's screen. The object is to find the person with a matching screen at the event. Once found, each user's topic gives the pair something to talk about.
Kohl sees many potential uses for the app, including freshman events at area college campuses. For now, the group is taking its time deciding on the next move.
"The cool thing about Klink is we hit onto something and there's many different ways we can go with it. We just want to know which way that is before we commit," he said.
Who: Sean Maki and Rick Berg
Online: The Kycker app is currently available for free in the iOS app store.
About: Kycker is a hyper-local messaging application. "It's kind of like Twitter, but on a hyper-local level," said co-founder Sean Maki.
How it works: Using Bluetooth low-energy technology, the app allows users to post messages to a public feed that can be seen by other app users within a 200-feet radius.
"It's not like some other location-based messaging apps based on a mile radius or a city level, because there are things going on with those that might not be relevant in your immediate vicinity. This is a way to communicate that filters only things relevant to you right now," Maki said.
He sees potential uses for the app at high schools, colleges, music concerts and anywhere else people congregate.