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Dal grads create social media lead generation tool

Founders credit Dal commerce co-op program for success

Koriah, Poral and Hartzman bring jobs to Needls users . ••• Photo supplied
Koriah, Poral and Hartzman bring jobs to Needls users . ••• Photo supplied

When Jeremy Poriah and Michael Koral went on Facebook, they noticed that many of their friends were posting statuses asking for service recommendations.

As experienced web developers and programmers, they built an algorithm that would search through Facebook and Twitter feeds to find relevant postings about job opportunities.

This algorithm became their newest business: Needls.

The first three months of Needls gained them clients from the web development and programming fields.

“If this will work for website programmers and web designers,” says Porah, “what other businesses could this work for?”

Needls started attracting clients from fields such as real estate, auto insurance and the plumbing industry.

There are 10 to 30 keywords they have for each field, so that the algorithm can immediately identify posts related to their businesses. But Poriah credits Needls’ success to its ability to only show the business owner posts that are relevant for employment opportunities.

“Is this someone who’s just having a general conversation about real estate,” he said, “or is this someone who has intent, is looking for a recommendation or looking for a realtor?”

Once a relevant post is found, an email or text is to the business owner so that she can immediately follow-up on the potential business opportunity.

Poriah and Koral, along with their co-founder Justin Hartzman, met at Camp Kadimah in Lunenburg County. They both came from Ontario to Dal for the commerce co-op program. Koral graduated in 2005; Poriah 2007.

Since they were children, Poriah and Koral loved computers. They’ve started two Toronto-based businesses together with Hartzman: All You Can Eat (AYCE) Internet, for website design and consulting, and WeSellYourSite, for website brokerages.

The alpha version of Needls has launched, but isn’t yet open to the general public. Poriah and Koral say they hope that Needls will be available to everyone by the end of October.

After the alpha launch, Poriah says that over 80 per cent of the users they spoke with said they received relevant leads for their businesses. “The most important thing to us is product,” says Poriah. “Number one, build a great product, help other people in business. And from there, the money will come.”

Both Poriah and Koral credit their education at Dal to contributing to the skills they have to create successful businesses.

“Do I remember all the different statistics or strategy courses, the financial courses, the actual text itself ? No,” says Poriah. “But it taught me how to think, how to learn those things, to feed that knowledge and apply it to what I’m doing now.”

Koral says the best time to start a business is immediately after finishing an undergraduate degree.

“Don’t just go for the money,” he says, “but if you can find something that you’re passionate about, you’re going to do even better with it and also enjoy the overall process.”

Sabina Wex
Sabina Wex
Sabina is the Gazette's Managing Editor. Email Sabina at managing@dalgazette.com.
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