Social networking platforms essential for start-ups

21 Oct 2010

Social networking platforms are ‘plumbing for the internet’, according to Groupspaces’ CEO.

CEO and co-founder of Groupspaces, David Langer, has revealed the importance of social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for start-up companies’ chances of at success.

“The really the big benefit of social networking platforms – predominantly Facebook and Twitter, and to some extend MySpace and LinkedIn – is infrastructure. They are plumbing for the internet.”

Langer, whose operation has half a million members, said social media sites offer up-and-coming businesses a pre-existing customer platform that did not exist until recently.

Leapfrog your business

“Prior to this infrastructure in place, everyone with applications had to build their own user base from scratch and reinvent the wheel every time. Now you have these platforms in place to leapfrog your business from, to get distribution and to get to a much larger user base than you’d ever be able to get to doing it yourself. I think that’s a huge benefit to start-ups.”

Langer admits he was surprised at how fast his own venture,, took off in the beginning but attributes its success to treating his product as a problem and finding a solution for it.

“In the first six days when we launched, we had over 100 groups lined up and we were surprised at how fast that was.

“When you’re solving your own problem in order to build a product or company you have that inherent confidence because you know you have that problem. So if you can solve it for yourself the odds are that there will be a lot of other people that you are solving it for at the same time.

No plans for apps yet

While he remains adamant the use of social network platforms is critical for success, Langer has no intentions thus far to expand Groupspaces in the rapidly evolving application marketplace.

“Our market is real-world groups: local groups, predominantly, that are generally run by people who aren’t that tech savvy. So it would really be designing software for users that aren’t that tech savvy, as opposed to a lot of the stuff that started in Silicon Valley like Twitter – where all the earlier tech adopters use it.

“For us, building stuff like iPhone, iPad and multi-platform mobile apps just is not a high priority. In the future as we grow, we will end up supporting all platforms but it’s not something that is really a focus for us right now.”

Despite having no plans in place to build apps or cross platforms, steps which will come naturally with a larger client base undoubtedly, Langer believes that developing their product to a wider audience is essential.

“What we want to do is take the solution we’ve built and expand it. We’ve already got half a million members. We hope to issue it to more groups around the world and become the company where more users manage their groups.”

David Langer is attending Founders, an invite-only gathering of 100 of the world’s top technology founders, including Chad Hurley of YouTube, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Niklas Zennstrom of Skype, in Dublin from 28-30 October.