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Perch's Pitch: A New Way to Keep Tabs on Competitors

EvansPhotograph by Ed Andrieski/AP Photo

Small business owners are famously short of time. That’s why tech startups see them as a ripe market for software to automate such things as payroll, marketing, and online sales. And this helps explain why AngelList, an online forum for startup founders and investors, counts 2,491 startups catering to small and medium-sized businesses. They’re mostly promising to save Main Street business owners time and hassle.

Into this crowded field comes a fresh breed of startups promising to sort through the clutter. They include TrustRadius, a sort of Yelp for user reviews of business software. It also includes Perch, a mobile app that seeks to help small business owners focus their online marketing efforts around a simple idea: The marketing strategies that business owners really need to know about are the ones their competitors are using.