5 Startups Improving Society Through Technology In our social entrepreneurship series, The World at Work, Mashable interviews the faces behind the startups and projects that are working to make a global impact. These companies have harnessed technology to empower people all over the world, whether it's rewarding volunteers with prizes or empowering travelers to deliver much-needed aid while visiting developing countries. While the companies are diverse, they are all on a mission to change our lives for the better and improve society. Here's a roundup of featured projects from the past week, including exclusive video interviews with the founders of these innovative startups. To read more and watch the videos, click through to the full story, and follow the series to learn about more breakthrough companies. 1. Big Idea: Cause.it is a gamification-based mobile app that rewards volunteers' hard work with discounts or other deals at local businesses. Read the full story here. 2. Read the full story and see the video here. 3. 4. mmMule 5.
Submit Your Startup - 32 Free Web Directories to Get You Users, Publicity and SEO May 24th, 2011 the Chubby Team 7 Comments Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103 Your startup website / web application is ready to be used by the world. Before we get to the mega-list, why should you submit to one of these web directories? They’re Free – None of these cost any money. So now that you’re convinced, here is the entire list of web directories, databases and blogs you should submit your startup to. Springwise is increasingly getting exposure and has a database of ideas which is interesting to look through. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Going from $0 to $500k in 1 Year with no VC Money When we started building Flow, it was to scratch an itch. We were frustrated with having to use three different apps to manage our daily workflow, so we decided to build a solution ourselves. It took three of us nine months to go from napkin to reality. We were close, efficient, and most importantly, cheap. We epitomized what it means to be bootstrapped and were damn proud of it. We broke all the rules. Here’s how we took Flow from zero to half-a-million in under a year without a cent of VC money… We scratched our own itch. Starting from a personal need meant we had a leg-up from day one. We grew organically. Often when startups get a big injection of cash, their first move is to go on a hiring spree. We kept our team down to three until right before launch so we could make quick decisions and keep communication straightforward. There are now 10 of us working on Flow full-time, and since we’ve hired organically, our bottom line is growing along with our headcount. We self-funded.
User Experience Vision For Startups Editor’s note: This guest post is written by Uzi Shmilovici, CEO and founder of Future Simple, the company behind Base—a simple CRM for small businesses. Welcome to 1889. The field of photography was just changed forever. Up until recently, the process of taking and developing photos was expensive and cumbersome. As a result photography was available only to professional photographers or rich people. Then, a guy named George Eastman comes up with a new way to take photos. However, Mr. Eastman understood that the key pain for the amateur photographer was the long and complicated process of taking photos. From Paul Graham’s “Do one thing and do it well” to Steve Jobs’ “Focusing is about saying no”, the idea of focus is one that is often mentioned, and frequently ignored. How can you achieve such focus though? Evernote is a note-taking tool. When Dropbox was founded, there were probably more than 100 companies that were offering some sort of cloud storage or backup. Experience Vision:
The Age of the Female-Centric Startup Only 10% of venture-backed entrepreneurs are women. Yet women control a majority of consumer spending, are over 50% of the US population, and go to college in greater numbers than men. However, this dearth of female-run startups could be about to reverse in dramatic fashion, with nascent signs of a boom in female-centric startups founded by women and targeting the female market. Companies such as LearnVest, BeachMint, and BirchBox are leading this gold rush, which arises from two trends. First, VCs are finally understanding the scale and power of building products for women. Second, more and more women are stepping forward to start companies, encouraged by a new woman-friendly attitude in the VC community. Why the dearth of female-centric startups? VCs are mostly men. The problem with having venture capital dominated by men is that they do not understand businesses targeted towards women. Finally, for a long time women were not starting technology companies in a significant volume.
Crowdsource Original Music with AudioDraft The rise of crowdsourcing has made it easier for businesses to find ideas and content, but in order to be effective, it needs to be powered by a platform suited to the job. AudioDraft is a Finnish startup that offers a platform for anyone to crowdsource music from talented composers and sound designers. The service was used by Nokia to find a new version of its iconic ringtone to ship with new devices. The resulting dubstep rendition may not have pleased everyone, but with over 6,000 submissions in four weeks, Nokia certainly had a lot to choose from. Founded in spring 2010 by a group of four friends with backgrounds in music-making, AudioDraft lets users specify a design brief and set a cash prize amount for the winner. A recently added video player feature is designed to be used where music is needed to fit a specific sequence of visuals. Expanding on its core concept, AudioDraft plans to launch a store for exclusive music, currently in private beta, in the next few months.
TxtRoo Launches A Yelp For The Feature Phone Market TxtRoo, a company that was invented and coded into existence from the Stanford StartupBus headed to SXSW in Austin, Texas last week, can best be described as a Yelp for the feature phone market. Like Yelp, which delivers user reviews and other local business information to both web and smartphone users, TxtRoo aims to do the same using SMS text messages. What’s most interesting about TxtRoo, however, is how quickly it was able to sign up customers. The team had commitments from half a dozen local businesses before the prototype was even finished – about 6 hours into its development. The company was one of the many teams on this year’s StartupBus event, a 72-hour hackathon that challenges entrepreneurs to design, build and pitch a business idea while traveling from their hometowns to SXSW in Austin, Texas. “The majority of Latino businesses we pitched to were so excited about our offering that then and there they decided to partner with us,” he says. Here’s how TxtRoo works:
Is This the Best Startup Launch Video Ever? A dollar a month for razors, shipped to your door? Most thrifty guys and gals who wield a blade in the bathroom won't need much convincing that that's a good idea for a startup. But how to ensure that they hear about it, and that they have enough confidence in the company to sign up? Simple: create a funny YouTube video — one with so much swagger, sight gags and bear costumes that it seems poised to go viral. That's the apparent strategy behind Dollar Shave Club, a startup from LA-based Incubator Science. The company just scored its first $1 million in funding from heavyweight VCs including Andreesen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins. Dollar Shave Club is the brainchild of Michael Dubin, the suave guy explaining the concept. If there's one lesson we'd like CEOs to learn from the Dollar Shave Club, it is this: don't take yourselves and your product so seriously. Dubin isn't the only entrepreneur to find success solely on the basis of a well-crafted video.
Accelerating Innovation in Lebanon I have no idea how many innovators there are in Lebanon fiddling around in their mountain garages with dreams of dethroning Facebook, Google and Twitter. But I’m sure they can find all the resources they need in Beirut’s startup accelerators. Since there’s not really a clear definition, you can get an idea of what a Middle East accelerator is by using Y Combinator as a reference. The Mountain View company launched in 2005 with a “new financing model.” For over seven years it has funded 380 companies that develop in their space for three months. On average, it invests $18,000 in each company in exchange for a small equity stake. Entrepreneur Samer Karam opened Seeqnce.com with three of his friends in May 2010. The organization of workspaces is one of Karam’s hobbies. There’s no doubt for him that if “in Silicon Valley, proximity is vital for success, Beirut’s need for it is ten times greater.” Seeqnce makes early-stage investments of around $200,000, and is aimed at “the global market.”