10 Startups to Watch: Want

The Ability to Gather and Find the Objects of Consumers' Desires Makes This a Mobile Application Retailers Might, Well, Want

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Could Want kill the ubiquitous like button? Some tech sites are predicting it might. More likely, it will take the idea behind the Facebook feature to another level. The function of the app is simple: take a photo of the item you desire and share it through geo-located photographs. Users can follow other peoples' wants and search through curated lists of wanted items based on filters such as popularity or location.

The founder of Want is Gene DeRose, former CEO of Jupiter Communications, who has some experience working with marketers. Obviously, he thinks Want is a natural fit. "What's great for advertisers, marketers, retailers and publishers is that Want keeps track of interactions around products, goods and services and attaches that interaction to neighborhoods and venues," he said. In his vision, advertising on Want is targeted based on stated desires. "We haven't introduced anything like banners, but we bring value to consumers through highly targeted offers based on their lists of wants."

Gene DeRose
Gene DeRose

Like a lot of startups in these pages, Want has yet to see any revenue, but it is working on partnerships with a number of national retailers. "We are creating co-branded versions of wants for certain retailers and brands that fit really well into this model," Mr. DeRose said, adding that , for example, Barney's could curate a list of ties or shoes and users could follow Barney's lists.

An easy fit for the Want app are deals and offers based on users' want lists and their real-time locations. "Soon, when I open the app in TriBeca, the app knows who I am and what I want, so it's going to give me fine-tuned offers based on that information," Mr. DeRose said.

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