When the pitch for something called BetaBait showed up in the Betabeat inbox this week, we were morally obligated to respond—out of loyalty to The Brotherhood of Things With Beta In Their Name. (It’s like a frat, we have a secret handshake and nod to each other in the street and everything.)
Thankfully, the company actually has a timely proposition. The Connecticut-based startup, which launched Wednesday, helps startups (all the pretty new startups!) find beta users. We hit up co-founder Cody Barbierri to find out more.
But first we had something to get out of the way. Why did you steal our name, we asked Mr. Barbierri. “Because you’re awesome,” he wrote back over Gchat. True, go on. “I wish I could say I’m that sneaky. It was really just the pairing of our target audience and I love fishing…”
Mr. Barbierri said he realized sourcing testers for new startups was a problem from his time in the tech world. “I actually contribute to VentureBeat [Ed note: Seriously, this is getting out of hand] a little and helped a few startups with marketing/PR. I realized that the only real way to find beta users or testers is to spam people, hound reporters or bug friends,” he said. “I figured, there has to be an easier way to connect the two groups.”
To that end, BetaBait has built a growing base of 400 potential users. Each day, they get an email in the morning listing a number of early-stage web and mobile apps that they might want to try out, segmented by categories like business or social networking. It’s free for both parties. After registering, startups stay on the list for 30 days, with the chance to resubmit at the end. Already, 60 startups and 40 apps have signed up, including a couple in New York: GiftSimple and MyCube. Mr. Barbierri said he plans to grow the list through “partnerships with the right people in the startup and entrepreneur community.”
“We have a community of opted-in users and testers. So, you know your’e getting the right crowd,” said Mr. Barbierri. When we asked what the right crowd was—perhaps a mix of techies and non-techies so you know how the norms will respond?—he wrote back: “People who love new apps!”
As for monetization, Mr. Barbierri said BetaBait is starting with sponsorship on the morning email. And, although the basic service will always be free, the company will roll out customized features for a price. “For example, a user might want to only receive a daily email with ‘social networking’ apps. For startups, they may only want to reach users who want ‘business’ apps.”
Early adopters willing to pay to hear about new apps when there’s the entire tech press at their disposal? Out of loyalty to the frat, we may have to keep our opinion to ourself on that one.