When you get a chance, go to http://tropical128.com. No, it’s not the official website for the rainforest. It’s the official Web presence of a New York bar, whose cheesy interior design, I hope with all my heart, can’t possibly be more horrendously assembled. Trippy trance music on loop. Images of animals that serve as links, images of animals that don’t do anything but shift slightly. A “menu” made up of poorly-shot photographs lacking any description. Just awful.
Tropical 128--and every other digitally clueless local business in the world--could use SinglePlatform.
The startup, which just launched a couple months ago, charges local businesses a couple hundred dollars to take over their Web presence. Mobile, Twitter, Facebook, official websites--SinglePlatform will clean it all up. Build up your restaurant, bar or other business online and drive more customers and revenue; it’s a pretty simple concept.
SinglePlatform also makes some extra cash when customers call businesses through a unique number. If the customer stays on the line for more than 30 seconds, presumably making an order or reservation, SinglePlatform charges the business $1 for the call, like a courtesy fee. Compare that with OpenTable, which charges $1 per head for every reservation.
Wiley Cerilli, founder and CEO of SinglePlatform, previously served as EVP at SeamlessWeb, a service for ordering delivery and takeout food over the Internet. It was there where Cerilli discovered how out of touch local business owners were.
“A lot of issues had to do with how quickly the Web world was developing and they really couldn't keep up with it.”
And Tropical 128 wasn’t the only one.
“Every week we have an award for the worst restaurant website.”
Around 5,000 merchants are already on board with SinglePlatform, and Cerilli believes that he can have 100,000 signed up by the end of the year. It’s possible, considering that the service has really only been available for a couple months.
SinglePlatform raised a $1.2 million Series A round from DFJ Gotham Ventures, RRE Ventures, First Round Capital and a few angels back in September 2010. The company doesn’t exactly need new funding just yet, but it will raise another round eventually, according to Cerilli.
He also says that SinglePlatform is launching a new product sometime in the next two months that will revolutionize the restaurant industry, but, of course, he couldn’t reveal anything more. We’ll be waiting to hear it.