SpringStage was launched in the beginning of 2009 by a group of well-known internet entrepreneurs, startup specialists and business bloggers. It's aim is to help the community of aspiring businesspeople in getting to know each other, finding sponsors and catalyzing the development of their local communities.
<p>The creators say that they are aware of the difficulties that beginning entrepreneurs have with getting involved in local startup scenes. Strong competition and lack of contacts can ruin the chances of many bright business ideas. That's why, creating a lively community of people who want to start their business, "angel investors", and specialists who are willing to give advice, can become a "catalyst" for business development. <em> "Our vision for SpringStage is to be a beacon for entrepreneurial activities in local communities across the country. When someone enters a community and wants to get involved with the local startup scene, we want them to think about the local SpringStage catalyst as the perfect starting point."</em></p>
<p>The main part of SpringStage's content is blogs divided into categories based on locations, either countries, or states, so we have Alabama Startup Blog, Germany Startup Blog, etc. New users can add their location and post blog entries in their category. There's also a functional map with links to articles on the main page, which makes it really easy to check which locations are the most active, and go immediately to the blog the user is interested in. Blogs contain entries about the recent startups (with informational videos, descriptions, advertisements, and such), job offers, and articles and advice written by specialists. Unfortunately, the entries are just thrown together into one place, regardless of their topic, so it can get really difficult to follow, once the number of active users rises. There is a section for "top stories" which contains the advice and articles, but the way the "top" are chosen is unclear, because there's no way to rate articles, only comments. As the site is new, some areas still lack content. For example, there's a printable events calendar, which appears only on local sites - obviously the final version has not been finished yet.</p>
<p>The layout is clear and functional, with nicely matching colors. The map on the main page, makes the site more dynamic, and allows for browsing the site in a way other than just opening the sites through the menu.</p>
<p>The idea to create a community site, which is about catalyzing the development of businesses is definitely a brilliant one, but I'm not entirely convinced about the functionality of the site. The blog structure allows for publishing startup descriptions, which can be either found by potential sponsors or employees, or get completely lost in the archives. The site lacks the possibility of creating users profiles, publishing CVs and sending messages, which could be useful.</p>