SOLstreet: SOLstreet founder Neha Rane brought her startup from Mumbai to Princeton, and recently launched a beta version of the website marketplace. Rane envisions the website as a better place for artisans to showcase their handmade wares.
SOLstreet targets geolocated consumers with physical pop-up shops, so that small-time makers of products can get maximum brand recognition. The startup also curates the sellers who will be presented on the site at any given time.
Rane, whose background is in marketing for tech startups, told NJTechWeekly.com that she had gotten the idea for the startup while living in London, where she was visiting a pop-up store marketplace. She said that London has a pop-up store culture equal to that in the U.S., and also has a lot of makers.
“I was hanging out one day in a pop-up marketplace, which is a flea market full of creative pop-up shops, and I asked a maker, “how do you promote yourself?” Then I started doing research. All the marketplaces like Etsy have the same concept. They promote their products on a Web page. But these people really make amazing products, and their stories have to be told.”
Rane said she contacted between 200 and 300 makers from the U.S. and asked them about their pain points and issues. She then started working on her concept for the marketplace.
SOLstreet isn’t just another Etsy look-alike, she said. While it began as an online-only marketplace, after going live in December, the startup pivoted to integrate online and offline selling. It now promotes a seller and the offline event where the seller will have a pop-up shop. The geolocation aspect works so that “if you are visiting the website from New Jersey, only the shops targeted at New Jersey viewers will be shown to you.” That means less competition for the sellers, she said. “It’s a more targeted selling concept.”
Sellers will be able to add their logos and descriptions, and to tell their stories through interesting bios and videos that will enhance their brands, said Rane. Additionally, a preview of what’s going to be sold by the maker, as well as a schedule of where the maker plans to be selling, should help build excitement and generate a stickiness and return value, she said.
Sellers will have access to a personal dashboard, and they can decide where they will showcase and sell their products offline. “As we go on, we’ll have pop-up events in different cities. The seller can decide, ‘I want to sell my handmade clothing at the pop-up events in Boston and New York this month, and also have it online on the website.’ That gives them more sales channels,” she said.
Rane is also promoting the sellers through content marketing. “I personally meet all the makers and decide what would be the best way to promote their brand,” she said. Rane is located in Princeton and the tech team is in London. She is working with an advisor from London, who was the CEO at her former place of employment.
Cinematcher is a job-matching app that focuses on the film, television and digital media industries. The company developed some unique algorithms, which, when combined with a geolocation system and swiping mechanism, make the app convenient to use. A “Quick Connect” feature, coupled with the geographical locator, allows members to find jobs or potential employees in a particular geographic location with a swipe of the finger, anywhere in the world, according to Magura.
The app allows users seeking jobs to connect their profiles from their LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter accounts and to add links to social pages or to their IMDb profiles. For users posting jobs, she notes that the app can eliminate paid TV or radio ads for “extras.” Users can post “extras” details and tell how many they are hiring. Users posting jobs and their matches can connect with and message each other.
“Users can also use our “Diversity and Inclusion’ feature to filter diverse matches. We feel strongly about encouraging diversity within the industry, Magura added.”
Cinematcher can be downloaded for free, allowing users to create a profile and browse matches. However, they’ll have to subscribe to CinematcherPro at $12.99/month, or $125/year, for more advanced features. With a subscription, users will be able to hire and be hired simultaneously under one digital profile; get instant matching with the Quick Connect feature; connect with and message matches with push notifications; and receive info on industry-related events, with a “check-in” option allowing users to connect with and message other attendees.
The design of the app lets it understand exactly what members are looking for based on their completed personal profile, and to match them to jobs and projects that are the best fit. This eliminates the time spent searching and sifting through irrelevant job posts that have little to no return, according to the company.
The startup is looking for funding, and won “Best Early Stage Company” award at the New Jersey Tech Council Venture Conference recently. Magura is also looking for folks to download the app and post profiles.
“If you need to get hired or hire for film, TV and digital projects, or have an industry-related need — even on the fly this instant — download Cinematcher, create a profile, and start posting. If you are currently shooting a project and are in need for an instant hire, post your quick connect job on Cinematcher!” said Magura.