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BasedIn joins Utah accelerator

BasedIn Founder and CEO Ryan Vasso didn't set out to make a local search company, but his frustration with existing options led him down that path. Photo by Patrick Sweeney.

BasedIn Founder and CEO Ryan Vasso didn’t set out to make a local search company, but his frustration with existing options led him down that path. Photo by Patrick Sweeney.

Boise startup BasedIn is the first Idaho company to join BoomStartup, a Salt Lake City-based seed accelerator. BasedIn, which is developing a local search website, has also raised another $70,000 from local investors and wants to have $625,000 in the bank by the time it wraps up BoomStartup’s 12-week program.

That additional money could come from the “demo day” at the end of BoomStartup’s intensive program, when BasedIn and other companies will pitch to investors. Founder Ryan Vasso said that the money would allow the company to operate and grow for a year without generating revenue, though he expects to have some paying customers by the end of April.

During BoomStartup, three of BasedIn’s leaders, Vasso, chief technology officer Zach Richardson and director of Web development Martin Ronquillo will work out of the accelerator’s Salt Lake City office. There, they will receive seed investment, access to investors and mentors, and other services including marketing, legal, and financial services.

BasedIn, which is about to launch a redesigned website, aggregates reviews and accreditations for local services. By the end of the month, the site should include pricing and pictures of menus for services ranging from massages to plumbers. That data is collected from 30 other services, such as Yelp and Google.

Vasso said aggregating data led to success for other businesses, like Trivago for hotels and Kayak or Orbtiz for plane travel.

“No one’s tried to tackle this for local services,” he said. “Everyone has the pain of picking the wrong professional. We’ve solved that by showing you all the data in one spot.”

BasedIn is currently available for Boise. Salt Lake City, Portland and Seattle are coming with the re-launch. Vasso said he’s guaranteeing support for 100 cities by mid-July.

“It’s what our mentors told us to do,” he said. That desire to grow rapidly is part of what attracted Vasso to BoomStartups, which he said has a similar outlook to new businesses.

So far, the company has also increased its workforce rapidly. The company had six employees and several interns in February and now has 16 employees, with offices still at Boise State University’s Venture College in downtown Boise. That’s where Vasso met Richardson and former marketing chief Phil Janguard. BasedIn has six software developers.

Vasso said the company is in part targeting first- and second-year students in Boise State’s computer science program. Juniors and seniors often have internships and job offers from more established Boise tech firms.

“We want to bring in hungry, bright, young developers and teach them how we want them to code,” Vasso said. “We want the people that are overlooked, don’t need a gigantic salary and are truly amazing talent that we can form and help develop.”

BasedIn isn’t the first Boise company to go out-of-state to an accelerator; Meal Ticket went to Tech Stars in Colorado in 2011 and WeVorce went to Y Combinator in 2013. Vasso said he wants BasedIn to go to the Utah accelerator but would like it to remain a Boise company after it completes the program.

“We think Boise is primed for a company like ours. There’s a lot of tech talent that’s young that’s not actively being recruited right now,” he said.

About Brad Iverson-Long

Brad Iverson-Long is a reporter for the Idaho Business Review, covering banks, financial services, technology and new business.