’Net Gains: Making the most of the Web
The following four startups take advantage of some of the Internet’s unique capabilities, including its ability to reach an infinite number of readers at low cost; to evolve, virus-like, within days, minutes, or even seconds; and to sprout online communities centered around a common interest. These entrepreneurs have capitalized on all that and more: They use social media to market themselves, promulgate information about their services, and generate user input that they then use to enhance their sites.
Josh Gooch MBA ’06: Founder and CEO, Pogby.com
Josh Gooch has no reservations about
revolutionizing an industry. His
startup, Pogby.com, is positioned to
dramatically change how people plan
and book their social events.
The concept is simple: If you’re planning an event (say, a corporate party), you choose from a list of venue types (say, ballrooms and restaurants). The site brings up a list of venues (main dining room, bar, roof terrace), which link to corresponding photos, capacity, availability, menus, amenities, and prices.
“Right now, it’s a headache for planners,” says Gooch: You call a venue and don’t get a response; you can’t find a place with the availability you need. Pogby.com aims to streamline all that, enabling planners to search by all the relevant parameters. The site is a boon to venues as well, enabling them to market their capabilities more effectively than the usual print or Web ads. “Sites should push something transactional, show solid evidence of delivering business,” says Gooch.
Venues and planners are definitely interested: Gooch has received
a wide variety of inquiries, from movie theaters to zoos to art galleries,
and from locations as varied as Dallas, Lisbon, and Tokyo. For
now, he’s concentrating on New York City and San Francisco.
A former JetBlue Airways’ technology program management director, Gooch notes that reservation systems are extraordinarily complicated; that’s why Pogby is the first of its kind. He conceived the idea two years ago, conducted intensive market research, and launched the site’s first beta release to a handful of eager venues early in 2008. He cites three Johnson School classmates for invaluable help: Steve Adelkoff, a partner at K&L Gates, LLP, on legal and investment strategy; Sam Goichman, national manager at SCG Capital, on investment strategy; and Amy Chow Hutchins, a strategy consultant at IBM, on product strategy.