Some people think of Spokeo as just another social networking app. Others see it as a glorified phone book or search engine. Both are right, but not quite entirely so. Spokeo is a social hub that offers information syndication and aggregation from everything you use: search engines, blogs, Twitter, you name it.
Mainly, though, Spokeo is a people search engine. At least, that’s what it is now. I spoke with Harrison, one of Spokeo’s founders and a frequent poster to the Spokio Blog. The company started in 2006 as a search aggregation tool for social networks and has blossomed into a true people finding tool. He says they’re up to 12 employees and counting now, as the company and app grow quickly. That’s 4 coders, 1 graphic designer, 1 project designer, 1 business person, and 5 customer service reps.
“The 4.0 version that you see today (the one that gets a lot of press right now) is our first attempt at expanding beyond organizing social information, and it launched only a month ago,” Harrison says.
So far, the app and business of Spokeo runs on its own funding, bootstrapping by the four founders: Harrison, Ray, Eric and Mike. All Stanford graduates.
The site and app themselves have done well, riding high on recent media attention, but going strong since beginning in 2006. The popularity of the app, especially in this new iteration, is thanks in large part to its usefulness. It fills a large hole in the current Web2.0 landscape: users can find one another on individual sites, if they know what to look for, but not across sites very easily.
Spokeo is a great showcase of boostrap entrepreneurs who have found a niche, are filling it, and are growing their business quickly thanks to their ingenuity.