An Innovation Economy reader called my attention to this Craigslist posting
yesterday from Sparkcloud, a very early-stage start-up company. In the ad, which seeks a "founding developer," the company mentions that it has been admitted into this year's TechStars Boston
program, which offers mentorship and up to $18,000 in seed funding.
That makes Sparkcloud the first company we know of to be included in this year's program; director Shawn Broderick tells me that TechStars doesn't officially announce start-ups as they're selected, leaving decisions about publicity up to them.
Sparkcloud has also pocketed some angel funding from Bill Warner
, founder of Avid Technology, who happens to shack up in the same Cambridge Coworking Center
space as Sparkcloud founder Nick Tommarello.
Broadly, Tommarello says he's trying to build a site (and also an iPhone and iPad app) that will help people with similar interests who live near one another connect, either over hobbies or to share expertise. A skilled cook might offer cooking tutorials to others in the neighborhood (for free or for a small charge), or a realtor might share in-person advice with an interested group about how to get a mortgage and buy your first home. "Sparkcloud is very much about ways to meet people and feel more strongly connected," Tommarello says. "It's trying to get back to the way things were a hundred years ago, when you knew most of the people who lived in your town, and you were more integrated into your physical surroundings. The Web has gotten good at connecting us with people around the globe, but not so much in our neighborhood."
The beta version of the site seems geared to helping you find people nearby who are interested in a particular topic (like "baseball" or "entrepreneurship"), and there is also the concept of "Open Doors" (set times when you might be available to meet with others, teach a class, or share expertise on a topic) and "Missions" (tasks or to-dos that you can complete as an individual or as a group.) On your profile page, you can create or add icons that highlight what topics you're interested in.
Tommarello, a Babson alum who earlier was involved in launching the real-world gaming start-up Urban Interactive
, says he only began building Sparkcloud in January, after fleshing out the idea late last year. Not bad progress for six weeks...
The company plans to launch in May.