CatchFree is making its formal debut at Disrupttoday with the unveiling of a social platform that allows people to discover and sharing the best free(mium) software and services online. The startup just raised $5.5 million in funding from top notch investors such as Index Ventures, First Round Capital, True Ventures, Polaris and 500 Startups.
Combining the power of social networking with freemium, the CatchFree platform wants to make it easier for people to find and share great freemium services by linking them together, enabling each service to draw off the growth experienced by other freemium products.
The idea is that, by centralizing freemium offerings, companies who rely on that business model no longer need to call upon traditional advertising methods, which tend to favor only businesses that could afford to do so thanks to their higher average revenue per user.
For end users, the benefit is obvious: they can easily discover free web or software applications in a range of categories, free of charge, with the added value of a community that can engage in conversations about freemium services and surface the best of them.
The revenue model for CatchFree will be – wait for it – freemium.
CatchFree will refer users to a range of freemium apps and services at no cost, and for those services approved by CatchFree community members that participate in its referral network, the startup will collect CPA fees on net referrals.
Judge Q&A with Jeff Clavier, Shana Fisher, Roger Ehrenberg, Saul Hansel
JC: I don’t understand – do you have a button to start the loop?
A: There will be a badge to show top picks. These would be carried on the site participating.
RE: It feels like SiteAdvisor. Nice outcome, but not huge company.
A: Free is the future of all things digital. It’s game theory — free is where it’s headed.
JC: So the traffic goes where? You guys just use SEO?
A: I think with download.com, you see it’s going toward paid customers. I’ve worked with free businesses. It’s hard.
SH: Do you charge for the review?
A: No we don’t. Anybody can be on the site, users vote. In any category only the top two vote getters show up. The price we’re setting is really fair.
SF: What about in-app downloads?
A: No, we won’t do that.
SF: But don’t people make money that way?
A: Others do that well, but the referrals aren’t that converted. I actually expect to hit a million uniques today.