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7 Startups That Are Working to Help Small Businesses

Aja McClanahan

Contributor at Fundera
Aja McClanahan is a financial writer who blogs regularly at www.principlesofincrease.com and also writes for other online publications covering personal finance, entrepreneurship, travel and general lifestyle topics.

Going into business is hard enough. Having to wear all the hats and “do all the things” can be even harder. Fortunately, in today’s world of innovation and technological advancement, there’s plenty of business help provided by trusted partners in virtually any field or business discipline.

From apps to consultants and agencies and all the businesses in between, it’s good to know that there are many businesses that exist solely for one purpose: to support your business! The startup world is especially intriguing because they often provide solutions for problems small businesses didn’t even know they had.

If you’re looking for help in order to support and grow your small business, check out some of these startups doing amazing things for entrepreneurs and business owners just like you.

Dialpad

Remember the days of the expensive, clunky office phone system? It used to be that you had to invest thousands of dollars into a phone system for even just a small office. Not anymore. Most of these complex office phone setups have become simpler and have moved to the cloud with drastically reduced prices.

Dialpad was created to help small businesses with their communications without hassle and huge price tags. The startup was founded in 2012 by Craig Walker whose mission is to “kill the desk phone.” The company is backed by leading venture capital firms including Google Ventures, A16Z, Softbank, WorkBench, and others.

The company now offers a free version of their cloud-based office phone system for free for up to five users called Dialpad Free. Dialpad Free works with Office 365, Google’s G Suite, and any email address.

Sendgrid

Email marketing, one of the most effective marketing channels, is perhaps one of the best investments any small business can make. Sendgrid offers email service that is ideal for e-commerce and dominates in the transactional email space.

The company boasts over 58,000 in paying customers with over $100 million in revenues. They are proud to call companies like Yelp, AirBnb, and Uber clients, but they also support the little guys in email marketing efforts.  

The neat thing about Sendgrid is that they came from humble beginnings and know what it’s like to be the “little guy” in a crowded, competitive space. This little startup was once in a tech incubator back in 2009. In 2017, they completed a successful initial public offering (IPO). Prior to their IPO, they raised over $80 million from investors.

startups-technologies

Unito

Unito is a Montreal-based company that was founded in 2016. Unito is a collaboration tool designed to help teams work together who otherwise wouldn’t due to project management tool differences. You know what I meanyou like Trello, your PR guy likes Asana, but your marketing gal prefers Basecamp. What’s a team to do?

That’s where Unito comes in. It’s a startup that helps small business get more work done faster. The tool is trusted by big brands like HP and Wix.com, but it’s also used by hundreds of small companies with fewer than 20 employees. Unito syncs projects between Trello, Asana, GitHub, JIRA, Wrike, Basecamp, Bitbucket, GitLab, and Microsoft Planner.

So far, Unito estimates that it has saved small companies 300+ hours of low-value busy work a year by removing barriers to team collaboration.

Vested

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of business is the nagging feeling that you’re missing something with your business financials. Maybe you do just enough to get by or figure you’ll fly by the seat of your pants until the chickens come home to roost (never a good idea).

If you’re constantly plagued with the thought of not having your business finances in order, it’s time to get help. Vested is a New York-based startup that helps small to medium-size businesses, particularly other startups, meet their hiring needs for accounting and finance professionals.

Vested is not just a run-of-the-mill staffing firm for financial professionals. They’re using technology like machine learning to identify the best job candidates for a particular opening and provide businesses with resources and assessments to help them identify and address their long-term financial needs.

Tripleseat

Tripleseat is a web app for restaurants, hotels, and other venues that want to increase event bookings while streamlining the event planning process. Founded by Jonathan Morse in 2007, the company operates out of Boston with a mission to transform the private dining space.

According to the company’s founder and CEO, there’s a lot of money left on the table for establishments that don’t focus on hosting events. He says, “Private dining [events] can be very lucrative. It has far higher margins than regular day-to-day business for restaurants, and it’s also business on the books, meaning they know it’s coming, that is less prone to industry volatility.”

Tripleseat lets restaurants and other venues generate leads, manage the event planning process, and even create proposals. Morse says his company is thriving because of the focus on creating unique customer experiences. He says, “The ‘experience’ trend has enabled a lot more different types of venues to get in on the opportunityplaces like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and even Go-kart tracks are making events a new (and profitable) focus.”

startups-technologies

Womply

As a small business owner, your online reputation is important. Customer reviews, buying trends, and offline actions can culminate to tell a story about your brand. What if you had more control of that story? That’s where Womply comes in.

Womply is a SaaS (software as a service) startup that was founded in 2011. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the company is backed by $50 million in equity funding with about 225 employees. Womply currently serves more than 100,000 small businesses with an application that helps them:

  • Boost their online reputations so more customers find them
  • Engage their customers to encourage repeat visits
  • Monitor the health of their business every day

Womply curates transition and online business presence data for 4 million small businesses. This information enables their users to make better decisions and take the right actions to improve business results in less time. Womply’s SaaS system is built to address the most important customer-facing aspects of running a small business today and puts data and software to work for the business owner.

Bento for Business

If you’ve got multiple employees who need access to company funds to carry out their jobs, you may be looking for a solution aside from giving them the company checkbook. Even if you had a company credit card, how can you check who spent what and why? Sure, it’s not a problem for one card, but what if you’ve got 20 field technicians who need to fuel up before their service appointments?

This sounds like a use case for Bento for Business. Bento pairs prepaid debit cards with a full-featured web/mobile app to create a complete employee expense management solution. Bento has a quick and easy signup process with a freemium version that ships with two cards and the option for free setup.

Designed exclusively for small businesses, the whole idea behind Bento is to help business owners save time and headaches when it comes to managing expenses.

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The future is bright when it comes to small business. As technology continues to evolve, we’ll find that doing business becomes much easier and more profitable. They key is finding the right partners who can support your company’s growth and goals to get to the next level and beyond. Some of the companies mentioned here are a good place to start.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Aja McClanahan

Contributor at Fundera
Aja McClanahan is a financial writer who blogs regularly at www.principlesofincrease.com and also writes for other online publications covering personal finance, entrepreneurship, travel and general lifestyle topics.

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