launch – a smarta way to support startups?

Serial entrepreneur launches social network and support site for people wanting to start and grow a business.

By News Desk
28th January 2009 at 0:27 launch party

Today sees the long anticipated launch of the new social network and business support site for startups and small businesses,

Founded by serial entrepreneur Sháá Wasmund (check out the SmallBizPod podcast with her for more background), the site brings together bite size video clips, interviews, practical advice and social networking to provide what looks like another excellent resource for UK startups and anyone interested in entrepreneurship.

Interestingly Smarta itself is a social enterprise funded by Brightstation Ventures, the seed and venture firm with $100 million capital set up by Sháá and business partner Dan Wagner. Smarta’s actually supported by private backers including former and current Dragons Simon Woodroffe, Theo Paphitis and Deboroah Meaden, as well as Bebo founder Michael Birch [see Techcrunch UK’s post for details]. It’s also supported by RBS/NatWest, Vodafone, law firm Mishcon de Reya and serviced office provider Business Environment.

Smart money right now seems to be heading towards the social enterprise space, as it’s seen by many as the acceptable face of capitalism at a time when the ‘c’ word has lost some of its lustre following the banking collapse and subsequent nationalisations.

Smarta is aiming for 200,000 users by the end of the year. It’ll be fascinating to see whether the social networking side of the site takes off with so many competing forums and networks vying for attention in this space.

Some, like Facebook or Twitter, use their vast reach to generate formal groups or fluid networks to support startups and entrepreneurs.  Others like, launched some nine months ago, or Workology, launched about a year ago take an approach very similar to Smarta’s.

Here at SmallBizPod we wish the whole team at Smarta congratulations on the launch and kudos to everyone supporting and inspiring startups and small businesses right now.

Stay tuned to our flickr feed for some photos from tonight’s launch party where we hope to capture the smart and famous in a few snaps.

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