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Innovation & Job News

Online buying club ready to roll after January Startup Weekend

At Startup Weekend last January, Paul Kortman pitched an idea and spent the next 48 hours working to start the development of a web-based buying club.

While Startup Weekend is an event with the intention of "starting something," some ventures move forward after the weekend, and others do not. In Kortman's case, the weekend proved to be the platform he needed.

Kortman came to the weekend with the concept partially developed, but stated "we wouldn't be here today without Startup Weekend. I formed a team, and am now lightyears ahead of where I would be without that experience."

Kortman, owner/founder of Connex Social, now has a dedicated team and is ready to test Bulko, a concept that "leverages the power of group buying by providing wholesale purchase discounts to subscribers of the service."

Kortman references the growing trend of discount buying services like Groupon and says his niche will be products versus services. Initially, Bulko will focus on three industries: wine, health food/natural products and consumer products in the green/energy sector.

The Bulko team is ready to test their concept with 25 participants in West Michigan and has plans to enter an expanded beta test this summer.

Kortman is also seeking investors for his venture, which is a change from his initial approach of bootstrapping the operation. "We are looking to get funding to have developers quit their day jobs," he says.

Team members include developers Joe Vanderstelt, Jack Slingerland and co-founders Sarah Cleveland and Paul Kortman.

Source: Paul Kortman, Bulko
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs Editor

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