This Baltimore startup is spreading side hustles via recommendations

knctrr, which is launching publicly this week, offers an app that's designed to help freelancers connect to gigs. Users can also earn money by providing a recommendation.

knctrr cofounder Myles Smith. (Courtesy photo)

When it comes to making business connections, Art Binder has seen the value of the warm introduction.

In an era with lots of information coming at folks all the time, a quick call or short email from someone who knows a person can be enough to start things moving forward.

“This is extremely effective and it breaks through all the noise,” said Binder.

The CEO of Baltimore startup knctrr, Binder is leading a tech company that’s applying that concept to the gig economy.

This week, the company is publicly launching its web platform and companion mobile apps in iOS and Android to connect people with side hustles and those seeking services. knctrr brings a third person into the equation: The app offers a digital form of a warm intro, as users can recommend service providers to friends.

While there are apps and services designed to provide recommendations for home projects, for instance, “what’s being underserved is everyday things that people need,” Binder said.

These are services associated with a single event or more specialized skills that often spread via word-of-mouth, or general asks via social media posts seeking recommendations, said cofounder Myles Smith.

Such services that knctrr can provide a platform for include tutoring, dog walking, babysitting plants, music lessons, coaching and DJing.

knctrr offers a place to send out requests. The service providers create a profile, which can be shared within the platform and on social media. Then, users can recommend others for a job, and earn a commission when the connection is made that successfully results in a job.

“Anyone who recommends someone that you ultimately hire will get a recommendation credit,” Smith said.

The app also contains pricing info, and allows for a chat that helps people coordinate about where to meet. knctrr itself collects a fee from providers, which is paid only after a transaction is complete.

After R&D and a private beta, the company’s app is now available everywhere, with a focus on the Baltimore-D.C. area.

The company has a team of seven people and is based among other startups at ETC. For the app buildout, knctrr worked with Canton-based dev agency SmartLogic, with technologies including Elixir/Phoenix and React Native.

Binder and Smith said the company is ultimately aiming to help side gigs become more sustainable, as well as build community where users are recommending others and earning more money.


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