Churnless Consults Big Corporations and Incubates Startups Focused on Helping Consumers Change Behavior

5/10/11Follow @xconomy

Mix one part consultancy with another part incubator and then toss that with an entrepreneur’s passion project. Sprinkle on some academia, too. And there you have New York-based Churnless.

The firm’s founders, Matt Wallaert and Avi Karnani, come from Thrive, a company focused helping consumers make better financial decisions. They sold it to Lendingtree.com in 2009. Wallaert left his PhD program to join Karnani at the startup, and used his behavioral psychology background in his role as lead scientist there. The duo spent several months at LendingTree after the acquisition, but then “came together to start Churnless to create products and partnerships that create behavior change in more than financial services,”says Karnani. They started Churnless in October 2009.

Churnless focuses on companies and products that don’t just offer solo interactions with customers, but long-term engagement and satisfaction. The name is a nod to a business’ churn rate, or rate at which they lose customers. Churnless is looking to slice that for its customers. Churnless started by coaching brands like American Express and AARP, then they began working on their own passion project, GetRaised. The algorithm-based service takes government data and information from job boards to help users determine if they deserve a raise, and then proposes the right way for them to go after it.

Then came the incubator portion of the whole operation, called Churnless Ventures.

“Because we spent so much time thinking about ideas that change behavior, we became a magnet for startups [focused on the same thing],” Karnani says. The team’s goal is to incubate about four pre-seed stage companies per year, offering them workspace, cash, and access to staff. They keep the classes small, and instead get directly involved in launching ventures. So, for example, rather than giving a talk on business development, Karnani will go to customer meetings with Churnless-incubated companies. Or, rather than … Next Page »

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