The New LinkedIn? Alignable Secures $8M To Connect SMBs

Alignable, the networking company that uses digital platforms to connect small businesses to one another, has raised $8 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (Sept. 21).

The business, which offers up technology that allows businesses to spread the news about promotions or other special events using social media, grabbed the funding through Mayfield Fund, a venture capital firm that is located in Silicon Valley.

Alignable began operations at the beginning of last year and to date counts 7,000 communities among its reach across the United States, according to WSJ, with a log of 500,000 connections across small businesses nationwide — a feat obtained even with little in the way of marketing efforts, WSJ noted.

The latest funding round, which comes as a Series B, brings Mayfield Managing Director Navin Chaddha to the Alignable board, and further participation came from existing investors, including Saturn Partners and Lead Edge Capital. Cumulative funding stands at $12 million.

In an interview with WSJ, Eric Groves, Alignable’s cofounder and chief executive officer, said of his clientele that “they’ve never had a trusted network to turn to get answers, even though the answer may be 10 feet away through a piece of drywall. It’s been fascinating as we started to open the network and allow them to connect, to watch the discussions happen within a community.”

[bctt tweet=”“They’ve never had a trusted network to turn to get answers,” Alignable’s CEO says of SMBs and social media.”]

Separately, BetaBoston reported Monday, also quoting Groves, that most of the platform’s users are businesses catering to consumers. “Businesses join for two primary reasons,” the executive told BetaBoston, “60 percent because they want to build a local network that will help them drive word-of-mouth referrals, and 40 percent just to be connected with others they can turn to for advice.” For the moment, said Groves, the company is setting sights on building its user base, an activity that takes precedence over sales growth.

Studies have shown that many small businesses are aware of social media and tend to gravitate toward marquee names, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but do not in fact use social media up and down the supply chain.

The SMB social media space may be becoming a bit more crowded, as Likeable Local said over the summer that it had raised several hundred thousand dollars in growth funding in an effort to expand marketing and sales operations.

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