VoteIt Officially Launches to Help Groups Quibble Over Decisions Online

By Erin Griffith , written on May 16, 2012

From The News Desk

We've all been on that nightmare email chain. The 79-thread one where 15 of your college friends argue over Atlantic City or Vegas for a bachelorette party. Or the internal company email where each response includes a new "cc" recipient who has to weigh in. Or even the annual sibling email over what to get Dad for Christmas.

VoteIt makes the group decision process simple. You pose a question, you invite friends, they vote, they explain why they voted the way they did. It's all socially integrated and it's all open, clean and simple. (Here's an example.)

It was conceived to solve small day-to-day group decisions like the ones I described. "We had this theory that decisions are social," CEO Taylor Beery said. Reasonable enough. But since the company's soft launch in private beta last Fall, VoteIt has been floored by the types of things users have put up to vote.

"We didn't anticipate the breadth of ways people would use the product," Beery said. Everything from dog names to neighborhood associations testing out opinions on new initiatives to companies deciding on new logos. (Beery actually tried to persuade his wife to put the name of their baby up to a vote. He was overruled--three month-old Walker's name was ultimately decided "as a one-on-one decision," Beery said.)

Today the New Orleans-based startup has quietly opened its platform from private beta.

The wider-than-anticipated use case`helped VoteIt realize it had a real business on its hands. The company is funded by $800,000 from local angel investors (a testament to New Orleans' young but growing tech scene). Beery is in the process of raising a Series A, he said.

The magic is in the data that VoteIt collects. Not only does the software aim to make voting and group decision-making simple and social, VoteIt can gauge sentiment and influence within large organizations. That will be valuable to entities like trade associations, big corporations, and other large groups that need to manage their members. So it's a bit like Votizen, for anything but politics. Or a less ugly and clunky SurveyMonkey, with social and data.

If VoteIt is widely adopted, those groups are likely to pay for the customized analytics Voteit will be able to spit out. Ultimately VoteIt will charge a premium subscription feature for this, Beery says.

But until then, the company is focused on keeping its platform frictionless, open and with built-in virality thanks to social media connections. The business side will come if adoption and use continues to rise.

VoteIt is a recent graduate of Launchpad Ignition, a new New Orleans-based incubator.