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What It Takes To Reach Startup Success

Part of our mission at IDEA is to educate and cultivate the entrepreneurial community at Northeastern. This is accomplished through coaching, connecting, and funding.

An important yet sometimes underestimated part of startup success is being informed and learning from others who have had similar entrepreneurial experiences. We decided to feature three non-IDEA, successful ventures to demonstrate what it takes to truly make your mark. These startups are Polyvore, Spool, and Yammer. Each of them have received coaching and venture funding from various companies and as a result, have gained a tremendous amount of success and popularity.

Polyvore is the leading community site for online style where users are empowered to discover their style and set trends around the world. The company collaborates with prominent brands such as Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Lancome, Net-a-Porter, Gap and Coach to drive product engagement; and its user-generated fashion campaigns have been judged by celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

Polyvore was founded in February of 2007 and is funded by Benchmark Capital, Matrix Parterns, DAG Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and Vivi Nevo (NV Investments). With the help of investments the company has gained over 15 million monthly unique visitors. Additionally, Polyvore’s global community has created over 44 million sets that are shared across the web.

The web is more than just text. Spool allows you to save videos, images, and articles to your smartphone device by simply using WiFi. Point Spool to a URL, and your SpoolBot will grab the content and sync it to all of your devices. This means you can access your content on your phone, laptop, work computer, and tablet at anytime. Then when you’re on a train, plane, subway, boat or anywhere without Internet access, your content is available! You are also able to share your favorite webpages and videos with friends and family simply by adding it to their Spools.

In late 2010, the company’s co-founders, Archival Garg and Curtis Spencer, developed an engine that could record a video from the Internet, play it on any device, and move videos between devices without having to worry about network connectivity. In 2011 this initial technology was generalized to include any type of content. Spool has received over $1M in venture round funding to reach their current success. Investors include, SVAngel, Felicis Ventures, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund and YouTube founder Steve Chen.

Yammer is an enterprise social network, providing a secure way for employees to communicate, collaborate, and share information. Employees using Yammer can discuss ideas, post news, ask questions, and share links and other information. Yammer also serves as a company directory in which every employee has a profile and as a knowledge base where past conversations can be easily accessed and referenced. The basic Yammer service is free. Companies can pay to claim and administer their network

The company was founded in September of 2008 by David Sacks formerly the COO of PayPal. Yammer grew out of the genealogy app Geni as a way for organizations to communicate. The company has received $142M in venture funding. During 2011, Yammer’s total users increased from 1.6 million to 4 million (2.5X growth), and employees increased from 80 to 250.

All of these companies had an innovative idea, and they were able to use venture resources to truly explode in their individual markets. Let the inspiration begin!