Business Brains

Social startup VoteIt wants to make decision-making simpler

Social startup VoteIt wants to make decision-making simpler

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Originally designed as a tool for associations and ad hoc groups, the platform could provide better structure around reaching collaborative consensus.

Ever been in one of those interminable meetings or email conversation loops where everyone has an opinion but no one is willing to make a decision? Then you'll appreciate a new social platform called VoteIt that aims to make the process of reaching informed consensus easier.

VoteIt is far more than just an online polling platform, like the ones that are found in Yahoo! Groups. By offering structure around the topic at hand, it aims to keep a conversation or debate on topic and relevant -- essentially preventing tangential discussions that can derail the decision-making process. It encourages input and new ideas from participants, but only that that are related to the original conversation.

Here are a couple of examples of how the platform has been used:

  • TechStars, a technology company accelerator in Boulder, Colo., used it to help rename its office
  • Market research firm Schedulist likewise used VoteIt communities to develop a new product line on behalf of a client
  • A New Orleans neighborhood association decided how to use $2,000 in extra budget

The screenshot below gives you a sense of how a VoteIt conversation can be structured:

A word of caution: The strategy behind New Orleans-based VoteIt is apparently in flux, given the departure of CEO and co-founder Taylor Beery (who I interviewed about the service) in early July. The company has received one round of $800,000 in seed funding, and it was about to go back for more.

When I interviewed Beery several weeks ago, the VoteIt platform was supporting several thousand users as part of its beta test and the team was in the process of figuring out a premium pricing model for companies or organizations, such as one of VoteIt's first customers Tulane University, that want to use the platform internally for their own decision-making processes.

The video below outlines another possible business use scenario for the platform:

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure