Friday, June 24, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: Submishmash simplifies and monetizes submissions and editorial work flow

I was fortunate to be a part of the first annual New West Rise of the Rockies Conference in Missoula Montana in May, and while there I was struck by both the intensity of entrepreneurism in the region and by the fascinating and powerful solutions provided by a start-up called Submishmash.

Submishmash makes the process and work flow of soliciting, accepting, and reviewing content far simpler, and improves the quality of submissions by enabling companies and publications to charge a submission fee. Because even a small fee helps keep out the riffraff that can flow in when there is no cost to submit.

Now why is this important? Quite simply, many organizations buckleand groan over the challenges of receiving, analyzing, editing and otherwise processing submitted content. We live in an era in which the population of potential content producers (say, 6.5 Billion) drastically outstrips the demand for content.

Submishmash addresses these challenges by first enabling organizations to charge a fee for a submission. The fee is at the discretion of the user, and generally they are fairly low – for many entities, the goal is not to make a fortune from the submission process but rather to cover some costs and limit submissions actually received to those that are serious and a good fit. From there, it substitutes a cloud based collaboration platform for the ridiculous back and forth of email trading and versioning and and and. If you doubt the value of this, just think back to all the documents you’ve shot back and forth between people with names like Media Plan Final Final Final v. 36.

The collaboration platform itself incorporates tasks, workflows, permissions, and approvals so that your team can focus its energies on the mission critical task of reviewing and editing content versus managing the back and forth. It also offers a means of managing communications with creators, much like a Salesforce CRM platform.

So what kind of submissions are we talking about? Well, the platform is being used by thousands of organizations already, and the use cases truly run the gamut.

•Publications use the product to accept text and photo submissions
•Film producers use the platform to solicit and accept content
•Businesses accept and manage contest entries
•HR departments use it to accept resumes
•Schools and universities leverageit to accept student applications
•Investors and VCs use it to accept and manage business plans and summaries
These are just some of the ways this flexible and versatile platform is being used today, with more and more inventive approaches surfacing weekly.

Here’s a nice and clear video that outlines the feature set and value prop:

SMM Tour from salty snack studios on Vimeo.

Is charging money for a submission “fair”? In a word, yes. The fees can cover the costs of reviewing submissions, and even offer a revenue stream from organizations seeking ways of diversifying their businesses. Meanwhile, people will think twice before sending in resumes that don’t qualify for an opportunity or aren’t 1800 word short stories or whatever it is that the reviewing org is looking for. Further, fees tend to be modest and the would be submitter always has the choice of submitting or not.

I think what made me such a fan of Submishmash so quickly is that it is so well aligned to the real issues and problems of reviewing organizations. It:

•Reduces dumb submissions
•Cuts the costs and complexity of reviewing and editing
•Ensures a more timely flow of submissions
•Provides safeguards like permissions and decision trees
•Provides a revenue source to cover the cost of reviewing submissions or making a small profit
There are three levels of service available for Submishmash, offering varying levels of storage, seats/accounts, and the like:

•An ad-supported version is made available for free to nonprofits, arts organizations, and small entities
•A $20 a month version is for small to medium sized organizations
•An enterprise version is available for $200 a month
Submishmash is a SaaS play requiring no changes or additions to a client’s internal infrastructure. It’s very cool and so wonderfully reflects of the entrepreneurial culture of the Rockies.

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first!

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