Likeable Local marketers raise seed funds

Investors have put $600,000 in Likeable Local, founder

Investors have put $600,000 in Likeable Local, founder Dave Kerpen reports. He’s also teamed up with the Henry Schein company. (July 13, 2012) (Credit: Steve Pfost)

A Long Islander's New York City-based startup is receiving investor support after launching a service to make dentists more likable -- on Facebook at least -- in partnership with a Melville company.

Likeable Local, a business that provides social media and Facebook marketing services for small businesses, has raised $600,000 in seed funding, the company said this week.

The business launched last summer with its first focused service -- Likeable Dentists -- in conjunction with health care equipment supplier Henry Schein, one of the largest publicly traded companies on Long Island, with annual sales of nearly $9 billion.

With the partnership, the Likeable Dentists service was made available to doctors within the Henry Schein sales network -- the company says it is the world's largest provider of equipment to office-based dental providers -- as Likeable Local tested its marketing product. The success of the partnership -- Likeable Dentists was able to draw hundreds of test clients -- helped in raising investor funds, Likeable Local founder Dave Kerpen said.

"There's no better way to raise money than when you have successful metrics already," he said. "Having Henry Schein as a partner definitely attracted investors."

Kerpen, a Port Washington resident, launched Likeable Local as an offshoot of his first social marketing business, Likeable Media. As Likeable Media grew and took on bigger companies as clients, Kerpen started looking for another way to work with and help small businesses.

Likeable Local will soon launch a generic marketing package for a broader range of small businesses, but the company also plans to offer additional services for specific consumer sectors, Kerpen said.

For example, Likeable Dry Cleaners will be publicized starting this week. And later this year the company will partner with another prominent Long Island company -- Carle Place-based 1-800-Flowers.com, which has yearly revenue of $716 million -- to start Likeable Florists.

Investors in Likeable Local's seed funding round included Thomas DiBenedetto of Boston-based Junction Investors, 500 Startups -- a start-up accelerator program that provides early-stage funding, and family and friends of Likeable Local's executives.

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