Small business

A Social Network for Small Businesses? Yup

I gotta concede: I have less and less time for multiple social networks. I'll peek at Twitter. I'll spend some time on Facebook. I'll even jump into Comlinked -- a promising system for businesses. But the thought of navigating yet another social network seems downright overwhelming.

Still, the folks at Alignable think they can reinvent the social media market -- by focusing on small businesses. The startup social network's mission is very focused: "We believe that local businesses are stronger together. Our goal is to help small business owners make the connections that lead to long-term relationships, generate more word-of-mouth referrals, and unlock access to the collective wisdom of the local business community."

"Since launching in January 2014, with virtually no marketing, Alignable has spread to about 7,000 communities in the U.S. and Canada and generated 500,000 connections among small businesses," according to The Wall Street Journal.


Co-founder Eric Groves (pictured) knows a thing or two about connections. Earlier, he was senior VP of sales and business development at Constant Contact -- the well-known email marketing firm that often appeals to small businesses.

Several venture capital firms -- including Lead Edge Capital, NextView Ventures and Saturn Partners -- believe in the vision and pumped $12 million into Alignable funding.

On the one hand, I haven't used Alignable yet. But on the other, I suspect the network could appeal to channel partners that want closer relationships with local businesses. A case in point: As cloud computing and big IT companies attempted to move into the small business market, many local VARs and MSPs insisted that customers wanted local service and support. Clearly, Alignable hopes to cash in on that mindset.


Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.