By David Ranii
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
Durham startup Avelist is betting that a new crowd-sourcing feature it is introducing on its website will add up to significant gains in visitor traffic to its list-centric website.
That, in turn, would help the fledgling business reach its ambitious fund-raising goal: $1.2 million.
That money, said co-founder and CEO Jody Porowski, would be used to hire developers, build a mobile app “and also to put more marketing juice into the site.” Avelist previously raised $300,000 in funding in a friends-and-family round.
The Avelist website was launched last August as an online home for lists created by visitors to the site about anything and everything.
A current sampling from the website: “Top 10 Questions for Deep Talks on the Beach”; “Best Quotes about Perseverance”; and “Best Books for a Ladies’ Book Club.”
But next week Avelist intends to launch new “community lists.” Instead of a list created by an individual, these lists will be crowd-sourced.
After somebody initiates a list of, say, “Best Books to Tote to the Beach,” others will be able to add their own contributions.
When someone who contributes to the list posts it on Facebook, people will be able to link to the list on the Avelist website through the Facebook post.
“I think that’s actually going to take off,” said Armistead Sapp, senior vice president of research and development at business software giant SAS. “I think she has a good idea here.”
Sapp has been mentoring Porowski, who’s 27 and a first-time entrepreneur, for about 18 months. They meet every Monday evening at the BurgerFi restaurant in Cary.
Porowski came up with the concept for Avelist three years ago when she had three friends — none of whom knew each other — who were getting married and were independently researching venues, where to buy wedding dresses, caterers, photographers, etc.