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Spotlighting start-ups that haven’t even started up

By Tim Fuell - February 18, 2014

Want a buzzword in the economic world? Startup would have few challengers for the current top spot with literally millions of new businesses being started globally as people look for a way to haul themselves into economic recovery. The notion of even starting a business has become far easier too, especially in the online era, with not only the tools accessible but also the experts to be called upon via social media, etc.

So it should be no surprise that alongside crowdfunding successes like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo in the start-up sector, a website exists simply showcasing start-up businesses and it is gaining traffic and plaudits across a global audience, literally as they start-up.

Why a growing number think you can’t better Betali.st

Image courtesy of kasahasa - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of kasahasa – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Betali.st is a Dutch site that isn’t new but certainly now has world wide attention. It invites start-ups from the Netherlands and beyond to submit themselves for inclusion on their pages pre-launch – so in ‘beta’ as a company. Each submission is then manually assessed before possibly getting the opportunity to be featured on what is fast becoming a much coveted front page of Beta List. Yes, that’s right, the concept is for non-existent companies to pitch for the right to be thrust into the spotlight. No track record, just a possibility. As Beta List set out in their own definitions:

“We only publish internet startups that are pre-launch. The way we define ‘pre-launch’ is when your startup isn’t publicly accessible yet. It’s either in development or private beta. We don’t make exceptions for startups that are live, but are still very new…we’ve decided to go with a definition that’s easily verifiable: is the startup available to anyone? If yes, we consider it live and not eligible to be posted on Beta List.”

Yet, while the company can’t have started-up, there needs to be some semblance of a business opportunity. Those selected for Beta List are far more than just ideas.

Why so popular?

Betali.st - start-ups yet to start-up

So why would you sign-up? The value is that people or subscribers can sign up to follow you and your route as a start-up. If you are the next big thing, they will have been there from the start. Social media plays a strong part with all those engaging with the site, picking and choosing new start-ups to follow with the intention of playing some part as a brand ambassador or potential investor somewhere further down the line.

It could be seen by some as a gamble. If your proposition is little more than idea, there is a risk of somebody else coming along and re-working your idea quicker and better and so you lose your place in the marketplace. Equally though, fail to give the visitors enough information about what it is you plan to do and you will be overlooked and won’t pick up the subscribers or followers you want to help snowball your business.

Great track record

Get it right and with the official @BetaLista Twitter account already boasting over 16,000 followers, many of which are big social media players, journalists and investors, you stand a very good chance of getting a springboard to success. With ties -ups with BV Capital an its European sister eVenture Capital. Plus it already has a track record of showcasing some winners. Fab, Skillshare, About.me, IFTTT and Pinterest are just some of the startups Beta Li.st is proud to say it wrote about before those companies launched.

That is a big enough carrot to keep this site a very popular, hidden gem to the start-up community which in an ever-expanding marketplace are looking for any opportunity they can to get a step-up.

One of many

If the concept is still a little abstract for you, it’s worth subscribing to their free newsletter just to get a feel for how competitive the start-up marketplace has become. Marc Köhlbrugge is the creator behind Betali.st that really is little more than a curated online list of not yet public startups looking for public input in their betas, but he is not alone in getting involved in the trend either. StartupLi.st and StartupNext are two hot on the heels of Köhlbrugge’s success and there are more clones around too.

The opportunity to be involved in a public beta of the next potential big thing is swelling demand and with more and more hoping to live the start-up dream, there is plenty of content for them to feature. Whether even 1% of those being featured however will ever actually make it to success, is probably a bit less certain.

Do you track start-ups like those on  betali.st? What motivates you to do that? Do you aim to get your start-up listed on similar sites?