Main Street Hub, a company that helps mom and pop businesses run social media marketing, customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation recently announced it has received $20M in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank.
The company has raised a total of $40M. The most recent funding before this announcement was $14M in Series B in January, 2014. It has 6000 subscribers who are paying an average of $350 per month using a tiered pricing model, according to company officials.
Most small business owners are swamped just trying to keep their businesses running. They have little time to deal with modern online marketing or monitoring their Yelp page reviews. That’s where Main Street Hub comes in.
For a monthly fee, Matt Stuart, co-CEO at Main Street Hub says his company does all the heavy lifting across online channels for these businesses. “We deliver a combined product using existing communication channels including marketing automation, CRM, social media, reputation management and mobile, web and email marketing,” Stuart explained.
Stuart likens his company to the old Yellow Pages customer representative, who used to call on the store owner and handle all their marketing through a Yellow Pages ad. Today, potential customers are online and Main Street Hub is trying to help get those customers into the store, just as the Yellow Pages did back in the day.
Using a combination of data, content and human customer support, Main Street Hub works directly with subscribers to help bring people into their shops, the goal of every small business owner. They describe their content library that the company has built up over the last five years as “informative, funny or engaging in some way.”
“We help you acquire new customers by reaching out to nearby consumers who are expressing a need online for something you offer,” Andrew Allison, the other co-CEO told TechCrunch.
As Allison points out, a lot of small business web sites are dated and not terribly useful. Main Street Hub sends potential customers to a modern looking landing page. For instance, if someone expresses a desire for a local restaurant for lunch on Twitter, Main Street Hub is watching and will respond with a link to the business website, tuned for whatever device the person happens to be using.
If the customer checks in, leaves a review on Yelp or a comment on Twitter (or takes another online action), it sees that too and may respond on behalf of the business, as appropriate.
There are marketing automation tools like Marketo and Eloqua, but these tend focus on larger businesses, whereas Main Street Hub is entirely focused on small ones. It does count chains and franchises among its clients, but even then the focus is at the store level, Stuart explained.
The founders began what became Main Street Hub when they were students at Stanford Business School. The original business helped people find local car mechanics online, before they pivoted to Main Street Hub. They ran the business for a year from 2010 to 2011 in San Francisco before moving to the current headquarters in Austin. At the time of the move, the company had 11 employees. Today it has 470.
Main Street Hub hopes to use the big influx of money to continue to expand the business, and is looking to add 300 people to the Austin and New York City offices in the next year, including tripling the size of the engineering and product teams.
Product photos courtesy of Main Street Hub.