Austria's largest Yellow Pages publisher takes 24% stake in social listings startup

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tupeloHerold, Austria’s biggest Yellow Pages publisher, has taken a 24% equity investment in Austrian start-up Tupalo.com for an undisclosed amount; more info here and here.
Tupalo has  also received an undisclosed equity investment from i5invest which helped in steering and incubating the company over the past six months. Prior to that the City of Vienna supported the company with €75,000 through its departure programme, which funds development in creative industries.

Tupalo joins the somewhat crowded social yellow pages space, dominated by Qype and Yelp, offering user generated content, reviews and other social aspects created by users who the company calls ‘Tupaleros’.

Mike Borras, who founded Tupalo.com with Clemens Beer (both ex-Rockstar), says the deal opens access to the business listings which Herold brings to the strategic partnership. He also feels Tupalo can now provide more of a trusted service and consolidate revenue streams like sponsored listings and the various forms of advertising that are working while exploring new revenue streams.

Herold is part of the European Directories family that also operates directories in Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Gibraltar, offering Tupalo an easier route to international expansion.

An immediate effect of the partnership will be a “rate this business” link appearing next to business listings on Herold.at where there is a corresponding entry on Tupalo.com.

So what’s next? Mike says they can’t wait to grow the team, continue product development, push sales, increase business development and expand the business incrementally. The mission is to build a “kick-ass yellow pages experience”.  His advice for all the budding Viennese and European start-ups out there is:
  • Focus on your users, build, listen, then build again.
  • Stay focused on your plan and maintain the drive the got you started in the first place.
  • Do lots of A/B testing and iterate as often as required.
  • If you can get state funding, go get it! It can buy you time to focus on your product.
  • Try to think about revenue as early as you can, you are going to need to adapt so the sooner you start the better.
  • Be prepared to pitch your business again and again and again…
  • Try to connect and speak to angels, vc’s and other interested parties early on. Listen to them, update them if you can and act on feedback.

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