Washington, DC-based KikScore, a bootstrapped startup founded by at least one Social Matchbox community member, has just announced its acquisition by Google. The four member team includes the CEO & Co-founder, Rajeev Malik, who is based in the DC area, while three others are in the Denver area. Rajeev originally connected up with the Social Matchbox community through Shashi Bellamkonda, who brought him along to an event in 2009. Other co-founders include Travis Valentine – CTO, Mike Collins – Head of Product, Mike Mauseth – Board of Advisers member, and Tom Lewis – Board of Advisers whom Raj called instrumental. We at Social Matchbox presume that KikScore’s acquisition will bolster the success of Google’s Trusted Stores project, which currently works only for goods shipped within the US. KikScore has over 1700 small business customer registrants in Australia, the UK, China, South Africa, Canada and United States. As part of the acquisition, KikScore will go dark after June 28th, so take a look at it soon.
Raj describes KikScore as:
a patent-pending online reputation score and interactive report card for small businesses around the world. KikScore enables online small businesses to take information and reputational data about themselves, their track record of responsibility and dependability and show their website visitors that their business can be trusted. Small businesses do this by placing the interactive KikScore Confidence Badge, real-time merchant report card and comment platform on their website so they can close more leads and sell more.
Raj added that family frustrations with the limitations of existing online sales tools prompted his creation of the app. His wife sells contemporary furniture online. When some buyers would abandon the shopping cart during their visit to her site, she wanted to know why these shoppers weren’t converting into customers. After researching, she learned that shopping cart abandonment was due in large part to shoppers’ lack of trust. With that key insight, KikScore was born. Raj has a legal background and had worked for Network Solutions prior to building the app, so he brought key insights from the domain registration business to his development of KikScore’s features. Co-Founder & Board of Advisers member, Mike Mauseth, brought his data background. Together they figured out how to pull together useful shopper data into KikScore, including where the site was hosted, business registration information. From this data they generate a dynamic merchant report card for small businesses online. Raj emphasized an important point; KikScore has applications outside of consumer ecommerce; lawyers and other business owners can take advantage of this type of service as well. Raj envisions how the lessons he learned at KikScore could solve problems plaguing the reputation-badging market.
On a high level, KikScore’s aim was to increase online shopper conversions, which is the holy grail in the ecommerce space. KikScore’s success was tied in part to partnerships with existing ecommerce providers including Shoppify and Shoppster, both of which are Canadian companies. KikScore formalized these partnerships late last year and then looked at a Google partnership that led to acquisition conversations.
As for what his plans are now, Raj says that he has one child with another on the way in his growing family, so his first priority is to catch up on family time. After that Raj has a new startup that will spin up very soon. The Social Matchbox editors wish Raj and his co-founders well, and we look forward to seeing his next venture at a Social Matchbox launch event soon.
To read more about the KikScore acquisition story, including additional details from the KikScore team, check out the company’s blog here.