Stage: Alpha (prototype)
Number of employees: 6-15
Profitable year: 2011
Short URL: vator.co/tackable
Tackable is a new social network that places live smartphone photos on a map. Log onto the map to see a live picture of all the interesting things happening in your city, right now. Eventually, you'll be able to pull the map into any corner of the globe you want, and experience media created in real-time, by people on the ground.
The process is really simple: Open up the Tackable app on your smartphone, and take a live photo of something you find visually interesting. Write a caption, and instantly send the photo to a live, public map. Special players create photo assignments, directing the actions of thousands of people.
Tackable is a powerful information resource. Imagine the ability to see live images of every breaking news event from across the world, right now. The platform will launch in 48 newsrooms across the U.S. in mid-2011, representing a combined readership of 1.1 million people.
Ed Lucero, CEO: Ed is a veteran of the startup world. He co-founded the digital marketing agency AGENDA in 1998, which raised more than $40 million in venture capital and employed nearly 800 people worldwide. AGENDA was sold to the WPP Group in 2008.
Steven Woo, CTO: Steven has spent decades building some of the world's most successful games. He was one of the principal architects in charge of the bestselling Blizzard title Diablo II. Later, he formed his own game company, Hyboreal Games.
Luke Stangel, CMO: Luke is a former journalist, who later ran launch campaigns for a series of successful Silicon Valley startups, notably appbackr and Mentez, the largest social game publisher in Latin America.
Tackable will make money in three separate ways: micro-advertising on a map, enterprise accounts and local print ads by the hour.
Micro-advertising: We're launching a self-service portal, allowing people to create text-based ads on the Tackable map, and program how long they'd like to run those ads. For example, you might be running a hot dog stand at the corner of First and Main streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. You could buy an ad that reads, "Buy the best hot dogs in town, today from 11 to 2. Mention this ad and get a second hot dog for free" and run that ad on the map from 11 to 2. We'll charge advertisers by the hour.
Enterprise accounts: Only certain groups are allowed to create photo assignments -- for now, reporters and editors at major news organizations. The power to direct the actions of thousands of people in a city is valuable. We'll sell enterprise accounts to premium consumer brands for a monthly fee. For example, Coca-Cola might create a photo assignment asking, "Go to the American Idol auditions in San Francisco today. Take a photo of yourself in front of the giant Coke bottle outside, and share it on Tackable and Facebook for $25 in Coke bucks."
Local print ads by the hour: American newspapers sold $25 billion worth of local ads in 2010. For the most part, these ads have never been digitized before. We'll digitize those ads, and place them on the Tackable map, based on their time and location. For example, you might log onto the map at 7 a.m., and see breakfast coupons near you that ran in today's newspaper. At noon, you'll see lunch coupons, at 5, you'll see happy hour coupons and at 3 a.m., you'll see no ads at all. We'll charge newspapers by the hour.
We're partnering with major news organizations, who will push out the platform to their readers, and use it as an information-gathering resource in their reporting. Partnering with news organizations gives Tackable credibility and makes our value proposition earlier to understand: "Take photos for the newspaper, and you could see your work in print tomorrow."
Those partnerships will be hard to break once we make them, and will make it difficult for our competitors to crack into our primary vertical.