According to Silicon Valley Business Journal, this is the list of the top ten most buzz-filled and momentum-driving startups. Accelerator/incubator programs are seeing more and more SaaS firms. They’re easy to set up with a handful of people and are rapidly scalable (just don’t lose momentum!). But are we seeing too many of these kinds of businesses? How long until the market is saturated with too many custom-built solutions?
Here’s the list to give you food for thought! Which one do you like best? Which one would you vote as the most promising? If you had $10,000 which one would you invest it in?
1. Estimote (estimote.com) CEO: Jakub Krzych
a “wireless sensor and software that retailers can use to learn about shoppers and make the right pitch to them”.
Jakub is a Polish entrepreneur, and says that the European values of privacy and transparency have made a huge impact on how their product has developed. However, he hints that the US culture of innovating is better than the European and so ended up moving and partaking in the prestigious Ycombinator accelerator program (which almost guarantees success!). They are going to use low-energy bluetooth to broadcast information to shoppers particular information of the products within the vicinity.
2. 7 Cups of Tea (http://www.7cupsoftea.com) Founder: Glen Moriarty
“It raised $1.2 million in a few days.”
After the learning process gained from building his first startup, Nixty, Glen continues his passion for education, psychology and technology with 7cupsoftea. 7cupsoftea does not offer full counselling services – rather, it pairs up people who need to talk with people trained to listen. He works on a philosophy that technology can fulfil the needs of millions simultaneously, removing the need for more trained professionals (of which there will never really be enough of in the world).
3. Pressgram (http://pressgr.am) CEO: John Saddington
“photo filtering a la Instagram and blogging a la WordPress to create an image-based social network”
After leaving Facebook and Instagram due to a disagreement with their policies, Saddington still needed a way to filter and share photos online. And a way to make blogging with photos easier. This combination of photos and photo editing, plus being able to write and upload a blog post to multiple blogs at once (WP limited for now) is causing a stir. Being able to own your photos rather than selling the rights to a big company sounds pretty awesome!
4. Opprtunity (http://www.opprtunity.com) Founder: Janis Krums
“Opprtunity offers a real-time professional directory to help with sales and recruiting”
In combination with LinkedIn, this is a really powerful tool if you have enough talent in your professional network to match your needs. Export your contacts and upload them to Opprtunity to see whose talents match what you are looking for. It’s that simple.
5. Teachlr (http://teachlr.com) Founder: Jean Annicchiarico
“an on demand educational marketplace, where experts, institutions or consultants can sell or share their expertise”
Teachlr is advancing the idea that we don’t need traditional mass education in schools any more. It doesn’t fit most of us anyway! The idea is that you can choose and schedule classes on the topics you want. There are many similar websites out there for language learning, coding classes etc. Teachlr aims to put them all on one platform, in a form of community-based learning.
6. HackerMeter (http://www.hackermeter.com) CEO: Lucas Baker
“uses coding tests to help match software developers with employers”
However, it has JUST been acquired by Pinterest and will be shut down. Oh well.
7. Strike Social (http://www.strikesocial.com) CEO: Patrick McKenna
“software that measures the performance YouTube channels and shows how to improve them”
This tool offers a way to analyse your online video performance and seems to be a “metrics for videos”. At the compelling price of “free” it’s generating a lot of interest. Since video content sharing and advertising has boomed, not many methods of analysing viewers have been developed. This could prove very useful for marketing heads, as more and more of our content gets targeted at us.
8. Raynforest (https://www.raynforest.com) CEO: Mark Fidelman
“it calls itself an AngelList for influencers, celebrities, speakers, promoters and connectors, giving them a platform to promote themselves”
Have you ever wanted to monetise on your network via the brands you promote? Raynforest intends on doing just that. Bloggers, tweeters and other such influencers may have the opportunity to make cash back on their promotion of brands to their followers. This is the Holy Grail for all the unpaid millions of unofficial marketers – I like the sound of it!
9. Lob (https://www.lob.com) Co-founders: Leore Avidar and Harry Zhang
“a cloud-based network that lets developers add printing and mailing capabilities to their apps”.
The co-founders goal was to bridge the gap between the rapidly-changing technical development of start-ups and old-school printers, which have not come close to providing the necessary services. We still rely a hell of a lot on paper communication, but it can be messy to figure out printing from the dozens of new apps and services appearing every week. So Lob is attempting to solve it.
10. Spreeify (http://www.spreeify.com) CEO: Ruben Dua
“provides a web dashboard, analytics platform and consumer-facing social engagement tools aimed at improving advertising effectiveness”
The Pando Daily gave it a bit of a bashing by saying that some of the freebies being offered were not, in fact, in existence yet and were simply “chances” at getting what you wanted. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting way of rewarding people for promoting your brand to their followers and community. Who likes free stuff? We do! Although I do hope my friends don’t continuously spam me with offers…
The breadth of ideas in just this list of ten goes to show the level of creativity people are capable of. Just when you thought that we’d found the solution to a problem, along comes another and makes it even better. I’m always in awe of how insistent humans are at creating new things, despite our occasional short-sightedness. The solutions that technology is being stretched to also reminds me of how there are more and more processes going in the world beyond the average person’s understanding. If you had asked me 100 years ago to describe how a lock worked, I could give you a pretty good description. Ask me how my key-pass works at the office? Not a chance. This is a little bit scary. But progress marches on.
This list also reminds me of how few women are in the tech startup scene. Whilst I believe that women have the same opportunities as men in Western culture now, caution seems to override risk-taking more than with men. Perhaps it is also the technology effect. More men study technology and engineering, and in a highly technological society those with the tech training have the edge to build a fast and scalable business online. What do you think?