Chicago Companies: Find Lawyers, IT Help, and More on Contact Karma

October 16, 2011

10:49 am

Genevieve Thiers, founder of the immensely popular Sittercity and the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006, is at it again: this time with a startup called Contact Karma.

Contact Karma provides recommendations for B2B services like consulting, IT, legal, and event planning, based on ratings by users in your network and nearby. Businesses can also find daily deals on event tickets and lunch delivery, as well as longer-term discounts from vendors. For now, the service is available only in the Chicago area.

“We capture that verbal referral of ‘who do you use?’ and put it online,” says cofounder Maureen Wozniak, who merged her group buying startup BtoBcity with Contact Karma primarily to work with Thiers.

Contact Karma has detailed search filters, so you could search for a vendor that does sales and marketing design for mobile, sorted by distance and by most “loved” by your network. And the social component helps differentiate it from B2B group buying sites like GroupPrice. But the vendor pages could use more information on the exact service provided; at the moment, they only show contact information and others users’ ratings and comments.

Wozniak says their early users are mostly entrepreneurs and the tech crowd. But they hope to attract larger companies with the allure of free marketing: vendors pay a 15 percent commission only when they sell a deal.

Thiers spoke at our Tech Cocktail Chicago mixer last October, and we are glad to have Contact Karma at our mixer tonight.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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