Chimpmint Takes on Buffer, Feedly, and All Those Other Guys

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Those of us in the tech world know all about social media marketing and finding and sharing content online. We know that it’s good for our brands and reputations, and a lot of us think carefully about how we want to handle social media.

incontent3Your average small business? Maybe, but maybe not. And without some level of social media savvy, they can get lost in the crowd.

That’s where Chimpmint comes in. They’re looking to curate and share content for small businesses who don’t necessarily have the time or motivation to learn social media marketing. There are plenty of tools that do what they do, but Chimpmint is honing in on the customers who will be overwhelmed by the more popular tools.

They face a few challenges, though. Most significantly, marketing to small businesses–and convincing them they need this–could prove difficult. The companies they’re talking about can often be averse to the Internet in general, much less social media.

Also, you know, Buffer, Feedly…

Check out Chimpmint’s Q&A below. Then hop over and let them know what you think.

What is the name of your startup?

Chimpmint Content Curating & Sharing

What’s your big idea?

If traditional marketing is land and social media is the ocean, then many startups, small businesses, and personal brands are lost at sea.
Every brand, at one point or another, has the same two core problems when it comes to social media marketing:

  1.     I don’t know what to post on social media to build my follower base and to engage with them.
  2.    I don’t have the time to post.

So how does Chimpmint help? To solve the first problem, we search, find, and present related content to that brand. Doesn’t matter what you sell, if you have a brand, then we have quality articles, images, and videos  that relates to what your brand. To solve the second problem, Chimpmint helps you share efficiently. Already in our first release, we’ve gotten great feedback on the simplicity of our scheduling feature. And like an infomercial, it gets better! Our next upgrade is coming soon and it’ll will be a game changer. We plan to make social media management as relevant to a business owner as checking an email.

What’s the story behind your idea?

Once upon a time, about 11 months ago, my partner Maurice Prosper and I were working in the web development. One of our early clients, Stacy, owned a small furniture store. To our surprise, just a month after finishing Stacy’s new website, she left us a message stating her dissatisfaction.

What was wrong? The website worked like a well oiled machine.

So we asked Stacy. She told us she feels the site isn’t worth the cost since the traffic to the site stayed the same.  So we started our search on Google for a product that can drive traffic to Stacy’s website with social media. Right away, we knew it had to be simple, because Stacy didn’t want to learn social media marketing, and preferably a ‘Smart Software’ that educated users while getting the job done. Unfortunately, we never found this magical software. That’s when we had our “aha moment”.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Maurice Prosper and Michael Tibebu. We met in Mr. Thomas’s history class in high school. Good ‘ole times.

Where are you based?

Chimpmint is based out of Austin, Texas but we service any and all businesses since we provide our services via the internet.

How are you different from the competition? Buffer comes to mind…

We simplified our software while being able to improve efficiency. Our competitors see the demand but see only one layer of the problem. As stated in Question[1], just a scheduling feature isn’t going to cut it for Stacy the store owner. Neither is a bare content aggregate. Chimpmint is the only web application that solves both those problems, while keeping simplicity of the product for our user’s learning curve and user experience.

What milestones have you reached so far?

We just celebrated our 3 month anniversary. That being said, since then we’ve gotten users on Chimpmint giving us great feedback and advice. We’ve legitimatized our online brand @Chimpmint with well over 400 followers. All of which we’ve attained by using our own product. Our blog (blog.chimpmint.com) returning readers. We also showcased at South by South West in Austin, Texas in front of thousands of tech lovers and investors.

What are your next milestones?

Chimpmint next milestone is to reach our goal of signing up our first 1000 businesses. We still have spots open. Sign up at www.chimpmint.com we wont disappoint.

Where can people find out more?

People can find out more about Chimpmint by emailing hello@chimpmint.com.

They can also reach us via our feedback button located on the bottom right corner on www.chimpmint.com

Our first 1000 businesses get a year long free subscription to Chimpmint. Don’t miss out guys, it’s a good time to register at www.chimpmint.com.

Lumiary Gives Indie Retailers a Shot at Competing With the Big Guys

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Lumiary image - Nibletz

Indie retail (think Etsy and Shopify) is becoming a big deal these days. With these revolutionary platforms, every day entrepreneurs and makers can sell products direct to consumers. By cutting out big retailers, these individuals and small companies have higher profit margins and better chance at success.

But, they still lack one thing.

Marketing.

incontent3Lumiary, founded by several tech veterans including Etsy’s former head of analytics, solves that problem for them. Their system creates a marketing dashboard that can compete with big companies.

Check out our Q&A with Lumiary below:

1) What’s your startup called?

Lumiary

2) What’s your big idea?

Independent retail has lost half its market share over the past 30 years. At Lumiary, we believe independent makers and brands are now producing some of the best products out there. And because of the internet, they can reach just as many shoppers as large retailers. When it comes to marketing themselves, however, they are wildly outgunned when it comes to budget, data, and expertise. So even with a superior product, independent retailers are being left behind.

Our mission is to help makers and independent brands compete with big brands by leveraging their more personal relationships with their customers, fans, and followers. Lumiary is an integrated marketing platform for indie ecommerce brands that works just like the big data dashboards that all the big guys have, but is tailored for their unique strengths. Currently, the only analytics, marketing, CRM options for these small businesses are point solutions, forcing busy entrepreneurs to pull data from multiple platforms on their own and then attempt to make sense of it.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

Each of the Lumiary founders approaches indie brand marketing from a different perspective.  Carrington comes from Etsy, Charles consulted for American made indie brands, and Matt built multichannel merchandising technology for small retailers. We came together when we collectively realized the widening gap in product quality, originality and authenticity between the big brands and independent ones. We felt more shoppers should be buying products from independent retailers, and our mission is help them take back market share.

4) Who are the founders?

Carrington Williams, formerly head of analytics and business development at Etsy, and Product Manager at AOL

Matthew Knight, formerly from Reconstrukt, EMC and Computer Associates

Charles Valentine, formerly a vice president at Discovery Communications and advisor to Northern Grade and Pierrepont Hicks

5) Where are you located?

Richmond, Va.

6) What’s the startup scene like there?

The startup scene in Richmond is quickly growing and changing. New incubators have popped up in the past 2-3 years, we are a part of one called 80amps, backed by the nationally recognized Martin Agency. And there is a huge creative/maker culture coming out of VCU Design and Brand schools.

7) What milestones have you reached?

We have just now come out of our beta, and now have our first paying customers. We’ve also gone through the painstaking work of establishing critical integrations with the leading ecommerce platforms, social networks and analytics tools, including Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Google Analytics.

8) What are your next milestones?

Up next we’re going integrate with Etsy stores, so we can offer our easy to use marketing platform to the millions of amazing stores on Etsy. We’re also launching soon our customer micro-segmenting tool to allow brands be more personal in customer communications and thus increase sales from email campaigns.

9) Where can people find out more?

www.lumiary.com

 

Healthcare MarketMaker Is Building the Zillow for Healthcare Practices

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healthcaremarketmaker

Nashville is a city built on healthcare, so it’s not surprising we see a lot of healthcare startups come out of it.

Healthcare MarketMaker is trying to become the “Zillow for healthcare transactions.” Essentially, they are building a marketplace for doctors and dentists looking to sell their practices.

This is one of those solutions you just won’t find in Silicon Valley. Read more about Healthcare MarketMaker in our Q&A below:

incontent3What’s your startup called?

Healthcare MarketMaker is empowering healthcare buyers and sellers.  Think Zillow for the healthcare transaction space.

What’s your big idea?

Healthcare MarketMaker provides online comprehensive marketplace technologies to healthcare buyers and sellers.  Healthcare MarketMaker is the solution for originating and closing medical and dental practice transactions.  Healthcare MarketMaker also offers specific transaction and marketing services for physicians, practice brokers, equipment brokers and other transaction vendors to ensure the best service and efficiency. Healthcare MarketMaker is an early stage company founded in 2013 and is currently in residence at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

What’s the story behind your idea?

After spending 20 years in the healthcare transaction space, working for companies like HCA, Ernst & Young and others,  I realized that deals were still being originated and completed without technology enablement.  There did not exist a robust healthcare transaction platform.  Healthcare MarketMaker is that agnostic, cloud based SaaS platform.

The key to our marketing is the depth and positioning of our strategic partnerships.  We believe in creating exclusive partnerships with specific subspecialty associations in each market.  For example, partnering with chiropractic associations in each state will enable us to create more value for the association members while offering a means to increase membership levels for the associations.  We also enrich associations’ value by providing content about the marketplace in their annual meetings, newsletters, and other communications.

 Our practice broker partnerships also enjoy early and qualified lead origination as our platform identifies active physician buyers and sellers vis-a-vis the association relationship.  When a physician may be looking to buy or sell a practice, he may look for guidance from his state association.

Currently, the healthcare market is being disrupted by two very large macro drivers.  We have an aging physician population in the US.  Over 33% of physicians, or approximately 400,000 physicians, are aged 55 or older.  These physicians will be looking to retire and exit their practices in the next ten years.  Also, the Affordable Care Act has increased vertical and horizontal integration in the provider space.  Sole proprietors are selling to hospitals and large multispecialty groups in an effort to create scale to combat downward pricing pressures and compliance requirements.  Therefore, the number of healthcare transactions is continuing to accelerate.  The size of the US market is approximately $29 billion annually.

Who are the founders?

As I mentioned, I founded HCMM after in 2013 after continuing to hear physicians and dentists in the marketplace indicate a need for help in sourcing a good partner to help them buy or sell their practice.  We’ve built strong Executive and Advisory Boards to help us in this crucial developmental stage.

Where are you located?

We are currently based out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, not only a great resource for the regional start-up community but for the larger business and creative communities.

What’s the startup scene like there?

The startup scene has really exploded in Nashville in the last 5 years.  The resources available to entrepreneurs are more easily found and the local community with regard to vendors who understand the needs of startups has grown more sophisticated.  HCMM tries to use local vendors specializing in startup services.  For example, we’ve use CentreSource to develop a product demo that we use daily as our electronic business card.  Also, we’ve used Ethos3 for pitch deck development.

What milestones have you reached?

We recently signed an LOI with Alliant Capital Advisors, the largest business broker in the Southeast.  Also, we raised our initial seed capital and have begun our beta platform development with Objectstream.

What are your next milestones?

To continue to develop more relationships with practice brokers and medical and dental associations.  We are also raising additional capital to hire the right tech co founder and stand up the market ready product.

Where can people find out more?

Please follow Healthcare MarketMaker on LinkedIn or our landing page at marketmakerinc.com.

New App Widdle Wants to Become Your Social Media Assistant

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widdle

We all love our social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest–social media has taken over most of our lives.

But, they each have their own language, and when you want to check those statuses, you have to bounce from app to app.

Widdle wants to change that by putting all of your feeds in one place, making them easier to manage.

incontent3The question is, do users really care that much? Does it matter that you have to switch apps or that each app uses different symbols? After all, some say the networks are becoming more and more like each other as time goes on.

What do you think? Widdle is now available in the App Store for you to see for yourself.

What is your startup called?

Widdle

What’s the story behind your idea?

Widdle was thought up over spring break 2012 by Matt Strayer and myself, Aj Mihalic, during a nice bike ride through the metroparks here in Ohio. While riding, we spoke about life, our future aspirations, and anything else that came to mind. One of those things was social media. After talking for a bit about it we realized that social networks weren’t as useful and easy to use as they could be.

You see, social networks are all decentralized from one another, fragmented, and most importantly, they make it incredibly difficult to find the things that we all care about. This problem is only made worse as their number of users grow and they gain mainstream popularity because more content is being created whether or not we are interested in it. So, after a few brainstorming sessions trying to solve this problem the idea for Widdle was created. Now we are here, on the brink of Widdle’s launch into the App Store.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Matt Strayer, Cory Breed, and I, Aj Mihalic, are the original founders. I have a background in design, specifically UI and UX. Matt is a front-end developer with a sound financial and business-oriented process of thought. Cory is a software engineer, with a good deal of experience in larger software companies and a strong focus in iOS development.

Where are you based?

Cleveland, OH. #CleveLandWeLove

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

It is by no means Silicon Valley – the lack of sunshine and frigid winter temperatures being one of many differences. The scene in Cleveland is still in its infancy. However, it has grown a great deal in the past year. The area is really beginning to embrace startups and grasp the mentality that goes along with them. Cleveland is also doing everything in its power and taking every step it can toward making itself a place for startups to thrive.

What problem do you solve?

Simply? Social media overload. This age is one of social sharing. We have all these ways to like and share posts that we appreciate, but no simple and easy way to find them, let alone hide the tidbits that we dislike without unfriending or unfollowing someone. Being able to do this not only makes social media more enjoyable, but gives us the opportunity to find the things that really matter to us quickly and easily. What currently exists is not the best answer, so we’ve created a new way in which to do this.

Why now?

Widdle is really relevant NOW because social media is still growing extremely fast and with it our need to manage and curate it.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We were lucky enough to assemble a solid team of talented developers and creative people who full heartedly believe in Widdle and our mission. While, this may not seem like a major milestone to anyone else, it is a pretty important one to us. We have also raised a small round of seed funding and gained an experienced and extremely knowledgeable serial starter as an advisor, Mr. Ed Buchholz from Expense Bot.

What are your next milestones?

Launching to the Apple App Store within the month and hoping that people will love to use Widdle as much as we do. We also have a few great ideas for it in the pipeline that we anticipate will only help people find it even more useful, but first things first.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

www.widdle.it

Our Blog  | Twitter | Facebook

@aj_mihalic | @matt_strayer

iQuantifi Launches to Manage Your Finances Virtually

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What is your startup called?

iQuantifi

incontent3What’s the story behind your idea?

iQuantifi was founded by Tom and Karen White.  Tom is an investment adviser who believes technology can help millions of millennials and young families achieve their goals.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Tom White – Founder  and CEO, investment adviser who has founded and sold two investment advisory firms.

Karen White – Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Client service and product development expert formerly at CAP Partners.

Where are you based?

Nashville, TN

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Active, but more focused on healthcare.

What problem do you solve?

We provide comprehensive financial advice to young families and millennials that don’t know what to do with their finances and cannot afford or do not qualify to work with an advisor.

Why now?

It’s time.  Millennials will be the first generation that will be more comfortable reviewing and planning their finances through technology than with a live person.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

Won Best of Show at Finovate. Completed alpha stage. Public launch.

What are your next milestones?

Finish raise of $1 million and 10,000 users

Where can people find out more?

iquantifi.com

Any social media links you want to share?

 @iquantifi  https://www.facebook.com/iquantifi

Tandum Takes On The Live Event Ticketing Market

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It’s a common complaint: buying tickets to events is frustrating, expensive, and annoying. UX is out the window for most platforms, and it’s never fun to buy tickets. Nashville and Charlotte-based Tandum wants to change that.

It’s hard to miss music industry startups in Nashville. Basically throw a rock and you’ll hit one of them. Besides that, there are a lot of ticketing startups out there. Tandum will have a battle to prove they’re the best. But, hey, a little competition never hurt anyone.

Check out our Q&A with cofounders Doug Pace and Tyler Griffith below:

What’s your startup called?

Tandum

What’s your big idea?

Our big idea started with two questions:

1) “Why does a ticket fee vary depending on the price of a ticket when the service is the same?” and

2) “Why do online ticketed events sell out so fast?”

incontent3As we learned the answers to these questions, we had more questions…and then some ideas. These ideas soon became the basis for our early concept to fundamentally change the live event experience.

Through Tandum, we are committed to better serve all parties involved in the live event – the fans, the artists, the venues, the promoters, and the event staff. We believe there is a better way to manage ticket fees. We believe there is a better way for venues to manage their events. We believe there is a more efficient way for artists to connect with fans. We believe that fans deserve a better live event experience and Tandum aims to facilitate that experience through a fully-integrated, user-friendly platform. Tandum connects all users and drives efficiencies that greatly benefit the entire live event ecosystem.

What’s the story behind your idea?

We go to a lot of concerts. Though we were never strangers to exorbitant ticket fees, there were three particular events that we found especially frustrating. These three events led us to question some of live entertainment’s fundamental principles, and inspired us to create the Tandum concept.

On one occasion, we were trying to buy tickets to see one of our favorite bands, only for that event to sell out within minutes of going on sale. The website through which we were trying to buy the tickets had limited bandwidth and prevented us from obtaining our tickets. We immediately went to a secondary ticketing website to try and buy tickets, only to find that tickets were being sold at 3 or 4 times face value. As big fans of this particular band, we asked ourselves, “why aren’t we able to get tickets or reasonably afford scalped tickets to see one of our favorite bands?”

On a separate occasion, we tried buying tickets to see one of our favorite bands play a two-night event and decided to buy the tickets through the band’s fan club. We were met with extremely unfavorable and restrictive ticket policies that had been put in place to prevent ticket scalping. While we are certainly not fans of scalping, these well-intentioned ticket policies were overly restrictive and burdensome on the ticket buyer.

The final frustrating story involved the purchase of a ticket to see a popular musician. As expected, tickets sold out quickly and I ended up purchasing a scalped ticket. I learned an unfortunate lesson when I showed up at the door and the barcode on my ticket was not accepted– I was denied entrance because someone sold me a duplicate ticket which had already been scanned. At Tandum we are working toward eliminating these problems from the live event setting.

Who are the founders?

Doug Pace and Tyler Griffith.

Where are you located?

We are currently working out of Nashville, TN and Charlotte, NC.

What’s the startup scene like there?

The startup scenes in Nashville and Charlotte are young, but vibrant. We are fortunate to be in these cities which are placing an increased focus on helping startup companies grow and succeed. Nashville and Charlotte don’t necessarily have the capital and resources as Silicon Valley or New York City; however, it is exciting to see people in the community working really hard to develop the startup scene through accelerator programs, shared workspace for entrepreneurs, and easy access to networks of experts in the fields of business strategy, software development, and finance.

What milestones have you reached?

The Tandum concept has been in development for two years. During that time, we have been fortunate to speak with many different people in the live entertainment industry who have provided invaluable insights and guidance as we continue to develop the concept. At the end of 2013, we partnered with Centresource, a leading software agency in Nashville, TN, to develop a clickable iPhone and iPad prototype. In early 2014, we met with live entertainment venues and music festivals to demo the prototype and received extremely positive feedback. We also received a handful of letters of intent from venues that are interested in using our product once it is developed.

What are your next milestones?

Our next milestones are raising funding, hiring additional employees, and launching the fully-developed product. We have already identified our initial venue partners that we will work with to test and launch the product, so our next milestones are dependent on raising sufficient capital for software development. Our goal is to have the first product launch near the end of 2014. To date, we have been very quiet about Tandum, but we are so excited to unveil it when the product is launched.

Where can people find out more?

Please stop by our landing page, www.tandum.us. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. If you are an investor or a computer programmer and would like to be part of Tandum, please send us an email at info@tandum.us.

CollabMachine Helps Musicians Find Collaborators Online

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music startups

Musicians spend a lot of time looking for collaborations in analog (i.e. the newspaper).

But, besides taking too much time, it can be impossible to find just the right people to collaborate with. CollabMachine is trying to solve that problem with a platform that connects musicians and makes it easy to collaborate online.

Check out our Q&A with CollabMachine below:

1) What’s your startup called?

We are CollabMachine – the world’s first social music collaboration platform.

incontent32) What’s your big idea?

CollabMachine provides a way for musicians from around the world to create music online as a community. Our site is the first of its kind and we’re really excited about bringing this innovation to the music scene.

Currently, musicians spend hours looking through classified ads looking for other players with whom to collaborate and create songs. We felt that this process can be taken online where collaborative projects can be found much more quickly and easily. The most innovative aspect of the project is centered on the Musefeed, which delivers projects instantly that pertinent to a musician’s particular abilities and preferences.

So, for example, a jazz guitarist will receive instant updates on jazz collabs that need a guitar part. This means less time spent looking for projects and more time spent actually making music. Additionally, each member can customize the Musefeed and get tailored updates based on date, genre, instruments needed, etc.

As for the actual production of each collab, we felt that the best way for musicians to record their music is on their own computers with their preferred workflow. We did not want to impede on the recording process with our site so we allow for the recording to occur offline before it is uploaded to the collab. This also solves the problem of latency, which could otherwise impede the recording process due to interruptions or slowdowns in internet connectivity.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

As musicians growing up in the busy city of New York, we thought that finding others to play with would be easy. However, we soon became involved in the long and tedious process of finding other like-minded musicians, scheduling jam sessions, sitting in traffic, and often failing to find that perfect musical chemistry.

We realized that finding musicians for collaboration was a problem faced by thousands of players like us around the world. That’s when we decided to create CollabMachine.

With CollabMachine, songs can be created track-by-track online in a community-based environment where other musicians can provide feedback on individual tracks (such as the drum or guitar track). They can also help the collab creator by voting on the optimal combination of tracks to create a complete song. This is especially useful when, let’s say, two guitarists submit guitar solos for the same part of a song.

Allowing community interaction in this manner is a new way to approach music creation. It’s a really fun way to participate and get more involved in the creative process!

Aside from being a great collaborative tool, CollabMachine is also a great way for artists to get more involved with their fans! Imagine the band Metallica uploading their newest unfinished song and encouraging fans to contribute a ripping guitar solo. Imagine Eminem releasing a beat and calling on rappers from all over the world to add their hottest verses. This would be a completely new way for musicians to connect with their fans. If only this existed while we were aspiring musicians in college!

4) Who are the founders?

The founders of CollabMachine are Alexander Efros and Dan Lipchanskiy. Alex and Dan are successful entrepreneurs with a couple of successful businesses under their belts in the financial industry as well as the rapidly growing electronic cigarette industry.

 5) Where are you located?

CollabMachine is based in downtown Los Angeles.

6) What’s the startup scene like there?

Being in the middle of the mecca of entertainment – Los Angeles, we believe that this is a perfect environment to grow CollabMachine. Being close to San Francisco and the Bay Area is also a tremendous help as it provides access to incredible creative minds in the tech industry. It’s also where many of the greatest startup projects thrive.

 7) What milestones have you reached?

We’ve already finished all of the necessary design work for the website. This includes the layouts for all of the main pages of the site. We’ve also recruited a few very important sponsors for our project. Earnie Ball, Esoteric Guitars, Rock N Roll Industries Magazine, and there should be a few more coming. Our latest milestone is the launch of our Indiegogo campaign.

We have decided to reward our contributors with exciting perks and a whole lot of music-related gear, apparel, and accessories to raise the capital necessary to fund the programming and production of CollabMachine. Contributors can receive everything from guitar strings and magazine subscriptions to having your name featured in a song recorded by us, Alex and Dan! We really want to get people involved and have fun while we raise the necessary capital to bring the world’s first social music collaboration platform to life.

8) What are your next milestones?

The next milestones include assembling the technical team to assist with the coding and implementation of CollabMachine. All of the technology that we need already exists. Now it’s a matter of combining these technologies in an innovative way to make CollabMachine a reality.

9) Where can people find out more?

Our website, www.collabmachine.com, is a great source for information regarding our project. Our indiegogo campaign just launched and can be found here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/collabmachine-the-social-music-collaboration-platform/x/6683673.

Everhour Hopes to Make Time Tracking Easy and Fun

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time tracking tools

We’ve always said the best startup ideas are born from personal needs. The team at Weavora believe that, too, so when they created a time tracking tool for internal use, they figured they should share the love with everyone.

rsz_incontentad2Find out about Everhour below:

1) What’s your startup called?

Our company is called Weavora, founded in 2009. We’ve been specializing in web development and consulting and about half a year ago decided to start a startup within the company, and it turned out to be a second breath for the team.

2) What’s your big idea?

Our cherished startup child is Everhour, a time tracking and reporting web app. It embodies our idea of a tool somewhat geeky and so simple and lightweight that even developers (who usually hate tracking hours and time sheets) love using it.

Everhour helps to track hours and analyze them afterwards via detailed time reports. The app is equally great for tracking personal activities like education, sport, hobbies as well as work. It will be perfect for freelancers who need to provide clients with precise timesheets and company owners who want to track their team’s time. Creating time entries with handy @mentions and #tags is as easy as using social media and virtually takes no time.

Working on the app, we focused on keeping the functionality just to the point with no excessive features or tricky interface. We didn’t want to make a mistake of overloading Everhour with a lot of things that in the end would be redundant. Users value their time too much to waste it on getting their bearing in the app instead of starting using it for its purpose.

Moreover, we wanted to have business software that doesn’t feel fiddly or awkward, because often such kinds of tools lose in design and UX compared to apps for individuals.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

We are organization junkies to a certain extent, and since the company launch we’ve been searching for ways to keep track of the team’s work and have nice time reports. It was important for us to analyze time spent and provide clients with precise figures and be transparent with them.

We’ve tried out a lot of things and approaches such as non-tracking time (which obviously isn’t the best solution), Excel and Google Drive spreadsheets as well as many popular time management tools and services. But every time we used a new app, something was missing or wasn’t just fitting us. You know what they say – if you want a thing done well, do it yourself, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. We designed a time tracking and reporting app perfect for our team and realized we couldn’t keep it just to ourselves. We thought it would be great to let other people see how easy and pleasant timesheets could be.

4) Who are the founders?

Mike Kulakov (CEO), Sergey Staroverov (COO), and Yury Tolochko (CTO) are the founders of Weavora, fellow students and friends. By the time of starting Weavora, they all had had deep expertise and knowledge of the field which let them avoid lots of stumbling points newly launched startups usually face. Weavora was an opportunity for them to build a dream team and work on challenging projects in line with their vision.

5) Where are you located?

The beautiful city of Minsk, Belarus

6) What’s the startup scene like there?

The startup community has been growing so quickly and actively over the last couple of years that you may call Minsk a second California :) There are a lot of smart, talented  and adventurous guys here who are brave enough to bring their dreams to life. IT in general is really booming here with lots of our companies such as Viber, Wargaming, EPAM, MapsWithMe, Viaden, TrackDuck getting to the international level.

7) What milestones have you reached?

Over 1500 users have already joined us at Everhour and we’re extremely excited about it. We stick to the lean startup approach and have never intended to spend tons on advertising, so it has been the word of mouth in action so far. We love our users, are always ready for their feedback and new ideas and suggestions. The team has also recently released an updated version where we polished the interface even more to make projects, organizations, members and clients management maximum simplified.

8) What are your next milestones?

Next on our roadmap is releasing an iPhone version of the app. Lots of our users will be able to take advantage of tracking their time on the go while on meetings or at out-of-office lunches. We are also going to refine the design to provide a highly intuitive user experience. Besides, we’re thinking about adding some helpful integrations and API. And of course, we never stop improving the app performance.

9) Where can people find out more?

You can always get in touch with the team via Twitter at @everhour. Plus we have Everhour blog on time management and productivity. Our company blog  is for sharing our insights and experience of working in a small team together with some tech and industry topics covered. And for those having any questions on the functionality, there is a pretty extensive FAQ section.

Caktus Wants to Make Music Discovery Social Again

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caktus

It seems like everything’s going social these days. Just last week we wrote about Startup Bus company TrustVino, who is trying to put your friends’ favorite wine recommendations on your phone.

rsz_incontentad2The new music app Caktus launched on Sunday at SXSW, and they’re essentially doing the same thing with music.

You sign up through Facebook or Twitter (on your iPhone or iPad). In the app, pins are dropped on a map to show where your friends are listening to music. You can see the song they’re listening to by hovering over the pin, and play a sample or buy the track from iTunes. If you already have the song on your phone, you can listen to it in the app.

The company ran a 6 week beta with 50 users, mostly in the Indianapolis area. In that time, they saw 10,000 plays through the app. That kind of traction got them an invitation to launch and SXSW.

“The app came about because my brother always got to the bands first,” cofounder Dane Regnier told me when we talked at SXSW last weekend. “Once we moved away from each other, it just wasn’t easy to share what music we were listening to anymore. Caktus makes that a lot easier.”

Obviously passionate about what he’s built, Regnier was bouncing and talking fast, quick to explain features and data points from the app.

“We’re social-first,” he said when I asked about Spotify’s stream. “No one else did it that way.”

Most social apps bank on building a huge user base they can then market to. Caktus is going a different way by jumping on the Apple affliate program to bring in revenue.

Despite being “social-first” Caktus will have an uphill fight to battle other discovery methods like Spotify, Pandora, or basic word of mouth. Still, the app is beautifully designed, and like a lot of new music startups, independent artists and bands are a big focus for them. Those little guys can often get lost (or screwed) on the bigger platforms.

Check out Caktus on their website.

Cause Mobile Wallet Helps You Give to Your Favorite Charity

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App simulator 1

1. What is your startup called?

Our company is called Cause Mobile Wallet. We are a morally-conscious payment processing platform that re-directs existing dollars to the charity of your choice with each transaction. The donation comes out of the merchant service fee (which companies are already paying) and gets redirected the charity of choice. We have a developed a free, downloadable app that allows consumers to purchase goods and services with their smart phones at participating Cause merchants. A percentage of each transaction will go to the charity or school that the consumer has chosen from our list of pre-vetted organizations. Again, the donations come from the merchant service fees, so it is absolutely free to the consumer, and merchants pay no more than what they are currently paying in transaction fees.

rsz_incontentad22. What’s your big idea?

Our mission (or big idea) is to create sustainable funding for the charities and schools that need it most. Charities and schools are under-funded. All too often, we see charities asking for donations, children selling products to raise money for their school, and events being thrown to ask for even more money. We’ve developed the solution that redirects existing dollars into the hands of those who need it most. By participating in Cause, charities and schools can have something they’ve never had before, a sustainable flow of income. This will provide the opportunity to focus on what is most important such as, finding a cure, saving a life, educating our children, and making the world a better place. With over $6 trillion transactions processed annually, even a small fraction will make a huge impact. Just imagine…

3. Who are the founders?

The company was officially founded in January 2013 by two neighbors, Brad Barton and Brian Kelly, but the idea has been cultivating for a few years. Barton is the former Vice President of Bartco Lighting. Kelly owned a construction company, and before that he worked in software development and web design in San Francisco.

4. What’s the story behind the idea?

Both founders had separate experiences that seeded this big idea. Brian spent five months in 1984 living in a remote village in the north of the Ivory Coast in Africa as his father, a surgeon, worked in a small hospital on a medical mission. Brian was struck not only by the severe poverty of the people but how little money it actually took to provide healthcare and basic nutrition for people in the area.

Similarly, while Brad was participating in a study abroad program, Semester at Sea, he visited Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (formerly known as Saigon) and came across a group of doctors working for a charity called “Smile Train.” He was stunned when they told him that it only costs $15 to positively change a child’s life forever – which drove home the same lesson that Brian had learned.

Flash forward to recent years. Brad and Brian, now neighbors, both realized how much money was running through the “corporate system” and how little of that money ever helps those in need. It’s a constant battle for non-profits to raise the necessary funding needed to achieve their goals and positively impact the world. In addition, consumers become fatigued by constant donation requests. Along with their usual living expenses, people are also expected to give money to childrens’ fundraisers (buy cookies, wrapping paper, magazines, etc.), donate to charity, and attend events to raise money. It’s a seemingly, never-ending cycle.

This is where the idea for Cause came about. It’s a way to give back without paying any additional money, merely redirecting existing dollars.

5. Where are you located?

We just opened our corporate office in Newport Beach, CA. Newport is considered the “hub of charitable giving” in Orange County, and therefore the perfect area for Cause to take root and flourish.

6. What’s the startup scene like there?

There are not very many tech startups in Orange County, but there are definitely a lot of charities. In addition to being Orange County locals, the large amount of charitable giving is why we’ve chosen to set up our headquarters here, rather than being lost in the clutter of LA.

7. What milestones have you reached?

To date, we’ve set up our main office, signed a strategic partnership with Merchant e-Solutions to provide merchant processing, developed the app, and recently, our app was approved by Apple to be available in the App Store.

8. What are your next milestones?

Our next milestones are the release of the Android version of the app, which should be by the end of the month, and to build a strong network of Cause merchants and customers who care about funding their favorite charities.

9. Where can we find out more?

You can visit our website, http://www.causemobilewallet.com, for more information or email us with any questions: info@causepayments.com. Also, be sure to look for Cause Mobile Wallet in the app store!

Nashville-based Hack_App Makes it Easy to Find and Apply to Boot Camps

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coding schools

With the massive shift in the economy in the last few years, many adults have found themselves without the skills they need to be successful. Even those with steady jobs feel the itch to learn something new or stay relevant.

Because of that, there have been an explosion of so-called “boot camps.” Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly, and Hack Reactor are just a few examples.

rsz_incontentad2But, the process of finding and applying to all those schools can be a pain. So, John Reagan created hack_app to streamline the process.

Check out our Q&A with John below, and if you’re looking for a career change, click through to see if hack_app can help you do it.

What is your startup called?

We’re called hack_app.  We provide a common application and admissions software for career accelerators, schools that provide 2-6 month intensive skill development courses like Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly, and Hack Reactor.

What’s the story behind your idea?

Last summer our CEO, John Reagan, was looking to change up and accelerate his career when he first heard about career accelerators.  The prospect of totally changing his career and life in under three months was very intriguing.  So he started researching and applying to web development career accelerators and was extremely excited to learn a whole new skill set that would better prepare him for the startup world.

During the search and application process John Reagan was frustrated by the lack of accessible, accurate information about the different career accelerators and also by the amount of time it took him to complete several different applications that asked very similar, but slightly different questions.  So John Reagan had the vision of a common application service that would allow applicants like himself to easily apply to multiple schools and a directory and information hub that would give potential students accurate, updated information to help them make informed decisions about where to go to school.

He started calling schools and getting input on the concept and a lot of positive feedback so he decided to pursue the idea and his co-founder, Stephen came onboard as well.  John Reagan went to school at MakerSquare in Austin and got a crash course in web development.  During that time we were learning about the industry and we were working on hack_app both inside and outside of the course.

After MakerSquare, John Reagan started working on hack_app full-time, and then Stephen left his job to move to Nashville and work on hack_app full-time in December.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

John Reagan Moore – CEO

John Reagan has a background in economics and project management.  He has been interested in entrepreneurship since college and had worked on a couple ideas and small business before hack_app.  He was working as a project manager at a non-profit before taking the leap into a career accelerator and starting hack_app.

Stephen Watkins – CTO

Stephen has been writing code since before he could spell development.  He studied CS in college and spent a few years as a developer with a national defense contractor before heading to a web development job at the Florida non-profit where he and John Reagan met.

Where are you based?

Music City, USA. (Nashville, TN)

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

We just recently moved to Nashville, so our experience is pretty limited, but we have been really welcomed by the community here.  We work out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and there is a fantastic community of active founders and mentors there, willing to listen and help.  There is definitely a strong healthcare influence on the startup scene here, but I think it is also a great and rapidly improving place for tech and consumer startups as well.

What problem do you solve?

Admissions Time Sink

Both career accelerators and their students spend a lot of time on admissions.  Students have to write a lot of applications, and school administrators have to read a lot more.  The admissions process is a massive time sink for schools.  We are saving both the students a lot of time by enabling the students to apply to a lot of schools while still only filling out one application.  We are saving the schools a lot of time as well by streamlining their admissions flow, and soon we will be offering ways to prescreen applicants.

School Marketing Friction

Schools also face the problem of friction between the moment a student is first interested in them on a directory site and capturing their information and starting the marketing and admissions process.

We offer a platform for schools to market themselves on a level playing field and for students to identify the differentiators that matter to them.  We make the admissions process smoother with our common application, and our upcoming admissions management system will make the entire admissions process significantly easier for both schools and students.

Why now?

Higher education is broken, and too big and slow to adjust to the needs of the students and our national economy.  Career accelerators are exploding across the planet with industry growth well over 1000% in 2013.  These new schools need a place to get their message out, and software to help their schools and the industry continue to grow efficiently.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

  • In December we raised a seed round to help us get this thing off the ground.

  • We just added our 15th member school.  This is exciting for us because every new school we add increase our value both to students and schools.

  • In February we had our first students go all the way through the system.

What are your next milestones?

  • Completing a comprehensive admissions system.  This is pretty big project and will add enormous value for our member schools.  The new system will keep the entire admission cycle, from initial contact to tuition payment on our site.  It will give schools a much clearer picture of their situation and allow for excellent admissions analytics.

  • Accelerator.  As first time founders we think we could really benefit from the mentorship and connections from a good startup accelerator program.  We are on the lookout for one that would be a good fit for us, and applying to a few programs.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

http://hackapp.co. That’s our main site, people can also read our blog at http://blog.hackapp.co and follow us on Twitter: @hack_app.

TrustedHousesitters.com Eliminates Your Need for Pet Kennels

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trustedhousesitters

Whenever you go on vacation, it’s always the same question:

“Who will take care of the pets?”

rsz_incontentad2Kennels are expensive and often unpleasant. Friends and family might be willing, but they could also have schedule conflicts of their own, or you could live far away from family.

Thanks to a jaunt to Spain, trustedhousesitters.com founder Andy Peck hit on the perfect solution.

Read our Q&A with Andy below to learn more:

What is your startup called?

TrustedHousesitters.com

What’s the story behind your idea?

The idea for TrustedHousesitters.com came about in late 2010. I was working as a writer at the time and stumbled across a home with several dogs that needed looking after in the north of Spain. The owner was offering someone the chance to stay there for free in return for keeping an eye on the house and looking after the dogs in her absence. I got in touch with the owner and several weeks later I was in house sitting in Spain.

Naturally it didn’t take long for me to realise that there must be plenty of other pet owners who would rather forgo the kennels in exchange for a live-in pet sitter and, plenty of people like me who would be happy to house sit in exchange for a great place to stay.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

TrustedHousesitters.com is founded and run by myself, Andy Peck & Rachel Martin. I come from a marketing background and have been lucky to have worked with a few very large and successful international brands like Red Bull and Diageo. Rachel comes from a background in PR and prior to TrustedHousesitters.com, ran her own travel PR company.

Where are you based?

TrustedHousesitters.com is run from Brighton, a small city roughly an hour outside of London, England.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Brighton is often described as “punching above its weight” in terms of the number of startups it produces. It’s a city brimming with creativity and an excellent place to be a startup: there are services to cater for every startup’s need and for everything else, London is only an hour away.

What problem do you solve?

 At TrustedHousesitters.com we solve the very common problem most pet owners face of “what to do with your pet when you go on vacation”.

We do this by connecting pet owners with trustworthy individuals, couples and families; people who will live in the pet owner’s home and look after their animals while they’re away.

Roughly 90% of our members do not charge to do this either. Our members tend to take on out-of-town house sits rather than in their own town or city (like I did in Spain). In return for walking the dog, watering the plants or just generally keeping an eye on things while the owner’s are away the sitter gets a free place to stay. We currently have around six hundred home and pet owners who are looking for sitters.

Why now?

The idea of getting a house sitter is nothing new, but the idea of people house sitting in exchange for a great place to stay is something that’s only really been made possible through the internet and the rise and acceptance of the collaborative consumption movement.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

At the start of this year we passed 5,000 ‘house sitter’ members (people who are willing to house sit for others) and there are currently roughly 20 new house sitting opportunities a day being posted on the site from home and pet owners around the world.

What are your next milestones?

House sitting in this way is still a relatively new idea and so we’re currently working towards doubling the mentioned numbers, a figure which will hopefully give us the critical mass we need to push the idea into the mainstream.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

The best place to get a feel for what we do is to take a look at a listing from someone looking for a house or pet sitter, which you can do here: http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/house-and-pet-sitting-assignments/

We post a lot of the best house sits on our Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/trustedhousesitters ) and also have a very active blog as well: http://blog.trustedhousesitters.com/

Loveopolis Creates a More Social Way to Find Love

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loveopolis

I’m convinced this sentence is either the greatest annoyance or the greatest hope to my single friends (maybe both):

“Oh, I know this guy/girl you just have to meet!”

rsz_incontentad2It’s fun to set people up, and if you’re single, having the endorsement of a friend helps you feel confident about your date. Loveopolis wants to bring those two good things together in one online dating platform.

According to Match.com, 44 million Americans classify themselves as “single.” Of those, 40% of those use online dating services.

Loveopolis will be playing in a big market after they launch, but will they be able to compete against the big companies and against more informal apps like Tinder?

Check out our Q&A with Loveopolis founder Jesse Epstein below:

What is Loveopolis?

Loveopolis makes finding love simple by letting you and your best friends decide who you should connect with.

Loveopolis was created to help people meet and connect online. We found that there wasn’t a way to truly give people an interactive, fun and social experience when it came to finding love…so we decided to build one.

Be sure to checkout our startup video on our Loveopolis.com splash page or view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps-n_IKt2dk

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Jesse Epstein, Founder & CEO.

A University of Vermont Grad earning degrees in both Business and Psychology. His passion for making things “more better” blended with his fascination of technology has led to some pretty big ideas, most recently Loveopolis.com. Former PGA Golf Professional and 2x World Long Drive Competitor.  Lives in Toronto, CA with his beautiful wife, son and two dogs. Follow him at angel.co/jesseeps

Where are you based?

Burlington, VT and Toronto, Canada

What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?

The startup scene is amazing in Burlington and growing fast!  You can read more about it here: http://www.loveopolis.com/blog/company-news/loveopolis-named-launchvt-finalist/

How did you come up with the idea for Loveopolis?

A friend of my wife was always asking her for feedback on her online matches to decide if she should actually meet up with the guy in person.  This was facilitated by my wife being emailed her friend’s username, password, dating site she was using, the guys name and how many pages in he was…and then a phone call to chat.  I thought to myself, that shouldn’t have to be done like that!   

How did you come up with the name?

Polis is Greek for city and our site all about a community for people to find love…throw them together and you get Loveopolis.  

What problem does Loveopolis solve?

At our core, we allow you to get feedback from your closest friends on matches before you actually meet them.  Layered with some awesome and engaging social features and robust privacy, we think we’ve got something pretty good going!

What’s your secret sauce?

Friends, not ph.D’s.

What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?

Getting a great product to market is challenging when your entire team has day jobs, families, and mortgages and is completely remote…it’s a lot of cranking through all hours of the night.  It’s also one of the funnest pieces to it…we’ve got an incredibly tight-knit crew!

What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?

Having to build a team capable of building a business, not just a product…then having to do it all over again when the first team fell apart.  I look back now and I could have never imagined having such amazing people on the Loveopolis team as we do now!  

What’s next for Loveopolis?

We’ve got a working alpha and are almost to beta, just wrapping up our designs and working through the kinks!  

Where can people find out more?

You can check us out at Loveopolis.com, follow us on AngelList @ angel.co/Loveopolis and read more about what we’re up to on our blog at blog.loveopolis.com.  

 

Hack Your Way Through Dyslexia With DCODIA

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dyslexia apps

Dyslexia is a common disability that is getting more attention in recent years. 1 in 5 people have dyslexia, which makes it hard to succeed in classrooms that demand every child be able to read at a certain level and at the same pace as their peers.

rsz_incontentad2Yet, in our technology-centered world, there are no unobtrusive aids to help students with dyslexia. Most of the available products are clunky, drawing attention to the fact that the child using it has “a disability.”

When Kris Parmelee’s middle son was diagnosed with dyslexia, she soon learned the struggles they would face in the classroom. He was often pulled out of class for “special help,” or had to lug around equipment meant for adults with visual impairments.

Not cool, Mom!

Kris’s search for an unobtrusive solution that would allow her son to stay in the classroom with his friends came up empty. Such a solution just didn’t exist.

So, she made one.

Along with partner Mark LaFay, Kris conceived of an app that would read aloud that ONE word a child was struggling with so he could move on. Originally conceived for Google Glass, the app has now also been developed for iOS and Android smartphones. After all, every kid has a phone these days.

The app works like this: a child is reading something, say the instructions on a big test, and comes across a word they aren’t able to figure out. With DCODIA the child can take a picture of the word, sentence, or paragraph and crop it down to the words that are giving him or her trouble. They click “send,” and a few seconds later the word is read through their earbuds.

The paid version of the software also includes word storage, which could be a valuable data point for both individual families and dyslexia researchers.

DCODIA is an elegant solution to a widespread problem. Like I said above, 1 in 5 people have dyslexia. That means many of you have probably struggled with the condition and the stigma that comes with “not being able to read.”

There could be some challenge in adoption because many schools still do not allow kids to use their phones in school, even if the kids are technically allowed to have them. While many high schoolers are happy to flaunt these rules, younger kids have less freedom. Being the one kid allowed to use his phone could be as obtrusive in some situations as current dyslexia aids.

The solution to that problem is–hopefully–only a matter of time, though. It won’t be long before schools begin to utilize the super computers in their students’ pockets.

With adoption obstacles aside, DCODIA is one of those wonderful, change-the-world and help people kind of projects that I’m particularly partial to.

DCODIA is currently in development, and they are crowdfunding on Kickstarter to raise the last bit of money they need.