You probably haven't heard about SocialDashboard.com, a new online tool that combines multiple services. It's only been up since December 2014 and hasn't invested in promotion yet. It's a social management tool, like Hootsuite, a content creating platform, like WordPress, and a store for social apps, like App Store. It's basically a social one-stop-shop.
In the first couple of months, the platform has amassed 1.2 million visitors and adds up to 1,000 registered users per week. "I never expected our growth to be like this", says Aryeh Rifkin, the founder of the Los Angeles based startup. "We're something that hasn't really emerged yet. Our Soapbox is better than blogging", he tells me, sitting on his office/showroom/networking place located on Pico Boulevard..
This "Soapbox" he talks about is a functionality that allows you to create your own content, from a blog entry to a news article. The keywords are immediately indexed by all the major search engines, which allows the content to reach more people in less time. That's the whole "Soapbox" concept right there: in the old days, people would stand on those hard soap boxes to be heard in the town square. "Our Soapbox is a taller platform to reach a wider audience", he says. "It's better than WordPress."
Mr. Rifkin, a 42-year old new yorker who survived laryngeal cancer in 2010, is pretty much building the startup on his own. He sleeps four hours a night and just got through his second divorce a few weeks ago. His ability to speak is nothing short of a miracle: when he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, doctors told him he had one week to live. He survived the surgery, and then they told him he might not ever speak again. They put a tube on his throat, and he couldn't speak for six months. Now he can, and he moved to the West Coast to start again.
This venture, Social Dashboard, breaths new life into his entrepreneurial spirit, after he lost all his money when the real estate market came crashing down in 2008.
"I'm not the next twenty-something, Stanford drop-out billionaire. I'm a two-time divorcee, cancer survivor, who's had businesses before", he states. He hired a team of engineers in India and is now looking for a second round of investment, after getting $250,000 in 2014 to start the company. Now, he's asking for $2,5 million.
"We are a full-fledged social network. We combine the functionality of the best news sites, where you get your content, with a social network. You don't have to leave the website to share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest." Users can also see metrics on how the content is performing. In the future, Rifkin wants to hire a team of content creators, from journalists to artists and videographers, and plans to produce documentaries and news channels. He's also interested in getting more app developers creating for the platform, which now has 1,000 apps available..
So is this just one more social venture, entering a very saturated market, or the next Facebook? "We're looking for hundreds of millions of users. The actual traffic to our website can be in the billions per month", Mr. Rifkin says. He expects the startup to break-even during the first year, provided monetisation goes according to plan. The strategy includes advertising on the News section, sponsorship for the Soapboxes, and paid features on the social management platform.