Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Pinterest Prompts a Start-Up’s Pivot: Meet Curalate, an Analytics Engine for Images

Pinterest’s rocket rise may be slowing, but there are still lots of companies struggling to keep up with the image-sharing site. Apu Gupta wants to help: His Curalate promises to help brands and e-commerce companies track the use of their products on Pinterest, and eventually on other image-focused sites, too.

Curalate’s pitch: You need basic information about the way users and potential customers are interacting with your products on Pinterest, but it’s very hard to do it on your own, because users usually don’t identify the products they’re “pinning,” so there’s no effective way to search for your stuff.

The company says it can solve that with image-recognition technology, which it licenses from a  third party, and an analytics engine it created itself.

Curalate’s arrival is inevitable, because every big social platform eventually spawns a set of third-party analytics/brand tracking companies — see Twitter, Facebook. But the company didn’t exist a few months ago.

Up until late last year, Gupta’s company was called Storably, and it was pursuing another hot start-up meme, as an “Air BNB for parking and storage.”

But that one never got traction and, after six months, Gupta — a Philadelphia-based Wharton grad — looked for a pivot. He and his four-man team cast around for a new idea and, after considering some 70 ideas, landed on Curalate. At the end of 2011, the company raised a $750,000 seed round from NEA, First Round Capital and MentorTech Ventures.

Now Gupta says he has 150 customers, including Kraft Foods and Time Inc.’s “Real Simple,” and he charges them up to $99 a month for his services.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus