After a few pivots in less than a year, homegrown Philly startup and Pinterest analytics provider Curalate might just be here to stay.
Curalate started as Storably, a marketplace for storage space, but co-founder Apu Gupta says the team couldn’t get both sides of the market to match and shut down last fall.
Next was the short-lived fun-focused professional networking matchmaking site DrinkedIn, launched last winter, which Gupta says “exploded” with several hundred sign-ups and national interest even though the service was only being provided in Philly. The team dropped the venture because it didn’t have the technology to back it up (one intern had to do the grueling work of manually matching up all the participants).
And now, here they are.
The startup, which demoed during last month’s Philly Tech Meetup, provides Pinterest analytics for retailers, using image recognition software to track items that users are pinning. Gupta says Curalate is the first of its kind.
It’s getting the buzz to show for it.
This spring, Curalate raised $750,000 from First Round Capital, MentorTech Ventures and NEA and has been featured on TechCrunch — the Philadelphia Business Journal caught wind too. Since its launch in May, Gupta says Curalate has doubled its client base to more than 400 brands, including Kraft Foods, Bergdorf Goodman and Warby Parker.
The startup recently added three people to the now 7-person team. Gupta says the company plans on expanding to 10 to 15 employees in the near future — which means there may be a few more half-empty bottles of liquor in the company’s back room soon.
“You have to take a shot when you join [the team],” he says.
The startup (and their liquor) are moving to coworking space Benjamin’s Desk next month — they’ve grown out their own Rittenhouse Square digs, not to mention the huge Storably logo on the wall that’s all but covered by more recent plans.
As for business moves, Gupta says Curalate is testing new promotional tools and services with its clients — so as not to be too dependent on Pinterest. It hopes to be a marketing platform on image-based social networks.
Gupta, 36, grew up in Silicon Valley, went to Wharton for his MBA and also spent time in India, where he says he helped build the second largest pharmacy chain in the country.
He now seems to be in the business of selling Philly. He says he convinced co-founder Nick Shiftan to move from Seattle to Philly to join Storably. He even got his wife, who wanted to live in New York, to love the city.
“Philly is the lazy man’s New York,” he says. “And I’m a lazy man.”
Gupta says he spends one day a week in New York, but it’s no biggie — it’s easy to get there, he says. He lives in Fitler Square with his wife.
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