Referral App Shares the Wealth at One Spark Crowdfunding Fest

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Phillip Bazemore is a Mac kind of guy.

Combine that with his entrepreneurial instinct and his tech skills, and it's pretty much guaranteed he will be developing a commercial app one day for a product by Apple (AAPL).

That's why he was one of 632 "creators" presenting at the five-day One Spark Festival that ended Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. At this entrepreneurial and cultural fair, in its second year, start-ups can seek crowdfunding.

Bazemore describes his app as "personal referrals going viral."

The app, called Registered, allows individuals to list the professionals they use. If a friend pulls up the individual's site, information is provided on whom the individual uses for what service. Bazemore says the idea came to him while he was at work and noticed the power of personal referrals. He says Registered has been beta-tested, and there is no competition. Apps earn money through in-app advertising and/or fee income.

There is certainly is a huge potential demand for such a product, whose function is similar to that of Angie's List (ANGI), the paid-subscription online service that offers reviews of service providers.

Many industries pay hefty fees for referrals. For lawyers, it can be around 30%. A real estate agent can pay a referral fee of about 20%. Referral fees are oftentimes negotiable, so there is definitely a demand for Registered in the professional services sector.

Wineries, for example, could be a significant market.

A winery will make more than 90% of its revenue from those visiting the tasting room. To maximize customer traffic, wineries may be part of a "wine trail," or group of vineyards that promote one another. With Registered, wineries could refer traffic to one another, increasing the customer flow to all the vineyards of a wine trail.

Users of Registered should profit from the basic principle that economic activity begets more economic activity.

That has certainly been the case with the explosive growth of One Spark since last year's fair. There were 56% more "creators" than at the 2013 festival. For those presenting, there is a prize pool of $310,000.

Those funds are allocated proportionally by a popular vote among attendees.

That is why Bazemore and others take the stage to pitch their products, and then work the crowd at One Spark. In addition, $10,000 prizes are awarded for the various categories. Those attending One Spark can fund the work of the "creators" directly in amounts ranging from $5 to $5,000.

Contacts can also be made at One Spark to attract other funding.

That is a major reason why attendance has exploded. There are many venture capitalists going from booth to booth.  From last year's One Spark, six "creators" connected with investors to raise a total of more than $1 million. It certainly appears that Bazemore and other "creators" will top the capital-raising figure of 2013's One Spark.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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