Earlier this year, the digital marketing firm Constant Contact said that it was creating a new space to house startups that serve small business customers. Today, the company is announcing the first group of four businesses selected for what Constant Contact has dubbed the Small Business InnoLoft. In addition to office space and mentorship from Constant Contact employees and other startup experts, the companies chosen get $10,000 in marketing money.
Already, three startups have been shacking up at Constant Contact to help test the concept: MarketMeSuite, Shareist, and Hourly Nerd, a Harvard Business School spin-out that connects small businesses with consultants on an as-needed basis. Andy Miller, right, the Constant Contact exec who oversees the InnoLoft, says that some of Hourly Nerd’s employees will continue to work out of the space as the InnoLoft’s July 1st — October 31st program begins.
The four new startups moving in next month are:
• OmniLync: Helping retailers analyze information they collect through point-of-sale systems (a/k/a cash registers), to improve operations and marketing. Founded by Andre Arzumanyan and David Arzumanyan; CEO is Paul Schaut.
• Sidewalk: An alum of the 500 Startups entrepreneurship program. Using data from social networks to help businesses identify prospective small business customers and predict their success rate at selling to them. Founded by Mo Yehia and Tony Amoyal.
• mosaicHub: A bit like an “Angie’s List” marketplace for small businesses, offering access to service providers and experts. Experts can charge money for their services, like $275 for a “social media starter package.” Founded by Mary-Alice Miller.
• The High Bar: Offering a software-as-a-service product to help non-profit organizations communicate with board members and keep them engaged. Founded by Marci Cornell-Feist.
Miller says that another 15 finalists who applied to the InnoLoft will be welcome to use the space part-time, and invited to events. The InnoLoft will also be home to Constant Contact’s internal innovation team, which Miller runs. Five of the InnoLoft’s 50 desks will be set aside for local investors to use when they’re in the neighborhood. In addition, the InnoLoft will host events organized by groups like The Capital Network. Miller’s aim is for the InnoLoft to become “the NERD Center of Waltham,” referring to Microsoft’s well-used event space in Kendall Square. The entire InnoLoft space is about 30,000-square feet, and it is slated to open later this month.
Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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