While social networks for the masses aside from Facebook and Twitter have largely failed – we’re looking at Google+ and MySpace – those that are specialized such as Instagram and LinkedIn have managed to gain a widespread following.
Now, a new UK-based startup called Channeliser is attempting to replicate that success, but with solution providers.
At its core, the company is run by only four individuals. Its founders, Jacqui Rand and Anne Lambton left stints at Microsoft back in 2011 in order to pursue what they saw as a need in the market.
“We realized how hard it was for ISVs to find resellers,” Rand told CDN at Microsoft WPC this week, explaining that LinkedIn is not adequate for finding companies.
“Because LinkedIn is generic, the search is not deep enough,” she said. “It’s difficult if you’re looking for particular solution. There was no single place to find partners.”
Rather than focusing on individuals, which is LinkedIn’s approach, Channeliser looks at companies in the channel. Rather than listing skills, the startup can list solutions, competencies and customers. Furthermore, while Microsoft announced a similar webstore-style offering with a new syndicated referral engine, Channeliser is vendor agnostic.
But that’s not all.
Although global from day one, its launch has also come in two stages. The company released listing and search functions released about a year ago, last month a slew of social features.
These features include all the staples of a social network including content creation such as blogs (created by individuals or a company), video, classifieds, groups, instant messaging, forums, polls, connections and even events, all with the usual bevy privacy settings.
“Having been in the industry far too long, we’ve seen all the different permutations of a channel company,” Rand said and laughed.
With the launch of the social aspects, the Channeliser team is able to start observing the interactions that take place between its 2,000 global members – all of which used to take place over personal email and phone.
While Lambton said it’s too early to tell whether members are actually forming partnerships or simply listing their own services, she expects membership to grow especially in areas with high concentrations of ISVs that would look to the rest of the channel to help sell solutions, countries like Canada with high levels of indirect sales due to geography, and for those looking to hop borders.
“If you’re developing a software in New Zealand, we want to help you sell in Canada,” she said.
For now, Channeliser is focused on the channel community rather than customers. While the ability for a potential client to search and find the right partner for a project would be a “natural progression”, Rand and Lambton say it is currently focused on reaching solution providers.
“It’s no longer linear,” Rand said. “There’s so many solutions, so many companies. They all need to collaborate.”