For B2B buyers on the hunt for a software solution, combing through technical manuals and wading through vendor websites can be tedious work – and for small businesses and startups, it’s often just too much work to assign to one person.
That’s where Chekkt comes in. The Israeli-based startup launched in 2012, garnering about $1.25 million in seed funding about a year ago.
The goal of Chekkt is to be a marketplace for startups, small businesses, consultants, and freelancers, presenting them with a slate of different vendors and products as they make purchasing decisions on software as a service (SaaS) solutions.
So far, the company has about 1,300 vendors signed up with its service, including some Canadian vendors like Unbounce Marketing Solutions Inc., Beanworks Solutions Inc., and FreshBooks Inc.
Ori Manor, co-founder and CEO of Chekkt, compares his company to the likes of Amazon or eBay – however, while Amazon and eBay typically sell consumer products, Chekkt is for the B2B space, he says.
“What [B2B buyers] have are many, many catalogues that are usually matched to big companies, enterprise-sized companies,” Manor says. “We got to the point where we understood that businesses today in the tech industry are much like consumers. They want a place that is easy to browse in, easy to compare, head-to-heads, one versus another product, and they’re not so excited with details … They want simplicity. Chekkt is all about consumerizing the B2B realm.”
The idea behind Chekkt was born out of the co-founders’ own problems in finding the right SaaS solutions. While working on a project at Valueshine Ventures, Manor and his team needed to pick a customer relationship management platform, as well as databases. Unfortunately, their choices weren’t effective enough, and it was only after the project ended when the team found the perfect, time-saving tool.
That experience drove the co-founders to build Chekkt. In its current form, the service allows users to make their B2B shopping experience more enjoyable, giving them the chance to discover new products, to see background information on different companies, to check out what’s popular and what’s been named a staff pick. And like app stores, users can also leave ratings for the SaaS solutions they’ve purchased and used.
So how does Chekkt make money? The company has a few channels in mind, Manor says.
One of them would be to offer merchants premium features, like embedded analytics, a prominent spot on the Chekkt slider, and so on. The company also plans on setting up a B2B advertising network, striking up deals with site publishers that cater to business users, and finally it will collect fees through processing transactions between users and vendors.
However, right now, Chekkt’s plan is to continue to add vendors to its platform. Once it has more vendors on board, it will go after more users and will build up its credibility, Manor says.
He adds he sees Chekkt as being in a middle space, somewhere between software review sites and big resellers in the extension market. Examples of those would include Amazon Web Services, Google Apps Marketplace, Salesforce App Exchange, and so on.
“We’re about independence,” Manor says. “We’re not competing with any vendor. We’re not going to buy any SaaS products, and we’re not going to acquire, and we’re not going to develop our own. Our business model is to be the mediator, and to be the place where people can trust us, because we don’t have any vested interest in promoting any type of products specifically.”
In the next two years, the company is focusing on establishing itself with vendors in the U.S. and Canada, as well as other English-speaking countries in Europe and elsewhere. It also plans on making a push into Germany and Spain.