Startup To Watch: OnCompare

Choosing the right SaaS solutions for your business is difficult. Every product category is cluttered with imitators and half-baked solutions. We are used to getting reviews for restaurants on Yelp, and product reviews on Amazon – but there is almost nowhere to find comprehensive reviews for online services. At best, a word-of-mouth reference from a satisfied customer is the best hope of finding a good product fit.

On the other side of the equation, marketers are drowned by all the noise – and use the bulk of their budget drumming out unqualified leads with low conversion rates, competing with other services based on the size of their budget instead of the quality of the product. Advice from industry experts seems to get lost amongst all the other content on the web. In other words, there’s no SaaS marketplace to find unbiased, comparative and comprehensive reviews of online services.

To fill this void, Seattle-based entrepreneur Justin Wilcox and his team of seven friends are giving themseleves three weeks to get OnCompare out to the public. Set to launch on January 31, this Web-based application will illustrate comparisons between major online services that provide solutions for small and medium sized businesses. OnCompare will feature profiles for each online service by addressing key user questions and concerns. Should a question or concern not get answered by OnCompare’s editorial team, identified experts can step in and offer their insight and expertise.

For those who are wondering why Justin and the team are only giving themselves three weeks to launch OnCompare, it’s a matter of perfect timing for the team: Justin, who was previously at Microsoft, is now phasing himself out of a health care solution startup, found himself with the idea for OnCompare, three weeks left on a lease on his apartment in Seattle, and surrounded by seven other friends transitioning between jobs. And so OnCompare emerged.

Beyond the comparative value of OnCompare, Justin’s goal is to create a community of consumers, experts, and producers to identify the best online services through comments and eventually a blog. OnCompare has kick-started this sense of community through documenting the launch process of OnCompare at their blog, 3 Weeks to Live (that’s “live” as in “launch,” by the way, not “live” as in “life”). Fans and critics can follow ideas as they get hatched and hacked right on the team’s drawing boards, and Justin is more than open to new ideas, responses or criticisms – especially regarding what their first batch of comparisons should be – CRM, Analytics, File Collaboration, Backup, and/or Photosharing? The fast pace of development also lends to OnCompare’s transparency during development. While Justin and his team are documenting the entire process, he does not think a similar project could emerge, let alone succeed, within the next three weeks.

Justin’s goal is to launch OnCompare on January 31 with a functional product that compares three SaaS products. Justin acknowledges that there will be issues concerning defensibility and monetization, which the team will look to address during the weeks following launch. He also notes that other similar services have been developed before, such as Cloudomatic, AlternativeTo, and Web2Review, though those lack either a central community or solid cross comparisons. OnCompare is also looking to develop a strong advertising model by developing relationships with affiliates and experts.

Follow OnCompare’s development at its blog, Three Weeks to Live, or visit its Web site at You can also follow OnCompare on Twitter: @OnCompare.