iLoveRewards closes $4.7million Series A

Here is a company worth talking about.

iLoveRewards took a big problem and found a quirky and economical solution to it. This is the kind of company had me gushing 10 seconds in to the pitch. I’m sure that John Albright and company saw it from a mile away.

ILoveRewards is sort of like one of those midway games that pumps out tickets every time you get the ball in the middle hole.

In the case of iLoveRewards, employees of a company can earn points for things like good attendance, hitting sales targets or customer satisfaction. As these points build up, the employee can redeem them through iLoveRewards.

Todays announcement is that JLA is contributing an additional $1.5 million to the round which will be used to create a US-focused brand for the service as well as to finance more sales and marketing initiatives.

iLoveRewards competes with more established companies such as another favorite of mine, SuccessFactors, and I have no doubt that the competition will be moving to copy some of the novel things that iLoveRewards has been doing.

30 Ideas that need to be Funded

Paul Graham has published Startup Ideas We?d Like to Fund at YCombinator.

  1. A cure for the disease of which the RIAA is a symptom
  2. Simplified browsing
  3. New news
  4. Outsourced IT
  5. Enterprise software 2.0
  6. More variants of CRM
  7. Something your company needs that doesn?t exist
  8. Dating
  9. Photo/video sharing services
  10. Auctions
  11. Web Office apps
  12. Fix advertising
  13. Online learning
  14. Tools for measurement
  15. Off the shelf security
  16. A form of search that depends on design
  17. New payment methods
  18. The WebOS
  19. Application and/or data hosting
  20. Shopping guides
  21. Finance software for individuals and small businesses
  22. A web-based Excel/database hybrid
  23. More open alternatives to Wikipedia
  24. A buffer against bad customer service
  25. A Craigslist competitor
  26. Better video chat
  27. Hardware/software hybrids
  28. Fixing email overload
  29. Easy site builders for specific markets
  30. Startups for startups

It?s a great list for entrepreneurs to start thinking about what to build next. The best part is that a number of folks have been building this software in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and other places in Canada. Here is my quick feedback about stuff that I can think of that fits the Canadian criteria.

5. Enterprise software 2.0 ? Jevon has been talking about this for ages.

6. More variants of CRM ? Dan McGrady is building integrate. Scott Annan and Scott Lake are building MercuryGrove. I love applications that focus on improving customer interactions, increasing the resolution of the interaction, these are products that small businesses drool over because they have an immediate impact on the bottom line.

9. Photo/video sharing services ? Terry and Jeff at ParkVu are doing some really cool things.

13. Online learning ? John and Gosia have drawn a line in the sand with LearnHub (my view of their opportunity).

19. Application and/or data hosting ? Reuven Cohen is working at building some of the tools for Enomaly. While not Canadian, I?m intrigued with 10gen, Joyent, GoGrid, EngineYard and others. I wish there were some additional strong Canadian contenders in this space.

20. Shopping guides ? Omar Ismail is leading the charge for open shopping reviews at ProductWiki. Candice Factor is working on building OurFaves inside the TorStarDigital network.

21. Finance software for individuals and small businesses ? Mike McDerment and the kick ass team at FreshBooks are taking a stab at financial management tools for small business. George Favvas is building SmartHippo to enable better mortgage and financial information for consumers.

22. A web-based Excel/database hybrid ? Avi Bryant and Andrew Catton are building a great tool, DabbleDB

Kevin Leneway, who apparently is part of my brethren in DPE at Microsoft, has started going through each idea on the list one-by-one. He has decided to address each of the 30 ideas to generate ideas for a startup. It?s a great series of posts.

Are there other Canadian companies that are solutions to one of the 30 ideas? Share them with us!

Tip of the week . . .

. . . do stuff with email. That gets people all hot and excited.

For example “We are going to enable Web 2.0 collaboration via email“.

That one is a freebie. Heads will nod.

I even did some market research for you: 183 billion email messages are sent per day. So if you can just capture 10% of that market, and monetize each email for 10c . . . .