Cambridge-based PushPage is launching its personal homepage and Q&A platform today, backed by $1.7 million in seed funding. The product, live now on both web and mobile, offers users an online presence where they can publicize their likes and interests through a series of interview-like questions PushPage provides, as opposed to the sorts of community-based questions you would see over on a site like Ask.fm, for example.
The end result are personal homepages that are a bit more professional in nature than the likes of Ask.fm, or its Q&A predecessor, Formspring. While those sites tend to appeal to younger demographics — and often school-aged kids gossiping anonymously about their friends — PushPage, then, is the grown-ups’ alternative.
The company was founded in mid-2011 by Harvard grad (and former Facebook intern) Meir Lakhovsky and Cornell grad Jared Jaffe. Lakhovsky explains they were inspired to create PushPage because they realized that even among a group of their friends and co-workers, they really didn’t know very much about each other.
“Meanwhile, when you pick up a U.S. Weekly or Rolling Stone, you can read a piece on Selena Gomez and learn everything about her from her favorite restaurants, TV shows, and outfits to her funniest moments, biggest passions, quirks, pet peeves and more,” says Lakhovsky. “We wanted to bring that idea of a celeb-style rapid fire interview to our friends and peers, as these answers are interesting and spark new conversations.”
The service is now in beta, and already has seen over 5,000 people creating PushPages on the platform, answering questions about their interests, hobbies, recommendations and tastes. When users first sign up, they’re asked several questions to get started, some more practical than others. For instance, you may be asked about your favorite restaurant, TV show or song, or “something interesting about you most people don’t know?,” if you want to dive a little deeper. To keep the content fresh, users are sent a new question to answer each week.
The founders see PushPage as a way for celebrities and other notable people to reach out to their fans (e.g. see author Daniel Pink, TV personality Farrah Abraham, musicians Imagine Dragons, etc.), but also as a way for members in closed communities to get to know each other better. While anyone today can create a PushPage for free, private-labeled versions are available for companies, schools, fraternities or sororities, non-profits, and other organizations. Small “PushPage Communities” up to 15 people are free, then pricing starts at $60/month for small-to-medium sized organizations.
By adding a few links to your bio, the site can serve as an alternative to other personal “about page” providers like About.me or Flavors.me, but it seems that, more often than not, it’s being used as a complement to those sites, or other more robust homepages. Still, the idea is very reminiscent of platforms we’ve seen before, and the startup will have to work hard to carve out its own niche in what’s now a busy space.
Investors in the startup’s seed round include: Rose Park Advisors, Bob Pittman (CEO Clear Channel, founder MTV), Irving Azoff (former CEO/chairman Live Nation), Scott Sperling (President THL Partners), Lance Kalish and Ido Leffler (YesToCarrots founders), John Kim (founder, DirectDigital), Howard Wolk (president Cross Country Group) and Meridian Capital.