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Straight from the Vator Splash event, we list out the top 10 startups and what they're all about
The finalists are in and they've all just showcased what they want to bring to the world at the Vator Splash event in San Francisco, Ca. These companies were chosen mainly based on peer voting held on the Vator Splash competition page where more than 176 companies participated and well over 3,000 votes were cast.
Here's a little bit about each startup and what they are all about.
Vidli helps anyone buy, sell and rent streaming videos online. It's an open video distribution platform that solves several problems, from piracy to getting the videos you want to watch. It is a virtual video store of popular and long tail videos on demand to watch and/or use on other websites. For content owners, Vidli provides all the technology required to upload, transcode, license, stream and protect videos. Vidli plans to make money by charging a fee, based on a proprietary licensing algorithm, for all transactions done on or through the site. It's free for content owners to create licenses and sell their videos. The company said it is home to the world's most lovable avatar, the Blue-footed Booby.
Thumbtack, is an online marketplace for local services. Users can find anybody from handymen and cleaners to tutors and errand-runners. Right now, people can find these sort of services on sites like Yelp, CitySearch, InsiderPages, or Craigslist. Thumbtack wants to improve or iterate upon these listing and review services by enabling the transactions for the service provider. Thumbtack states the local service market is greater than $500 billion, according to the Department of Labor Consumer Expenditure Survey. When hiring random people as opposed to actual companies, there is always a concern over safety. Thumbtack said it understands this issue and argues its safety by providing transparency and continues monitoring of every profile in its database.
AskYourTargetMarket.com offers a service for anybody looking to survey their target market. The company has built a platform where users which could be small businesses, startups, or even students, can set up surveys, pick out exactly who they want to get information from, and pay as they go. So no monthly subscription fee. AYTM said surveys start at $29.95, a significant price cut from going to research firms to get the same thing done. Surveys take between 24-72 hours to be completed and you can build them for free, you just have to pay once you want to deploy them.
Vokle is a live video streaming site with a focus on showcasing high profile speakers. The startup has built a platform where users can vote for who they want to meet, and then interact with them at a live online event hosted by Vokle. So for example, on Vokle's site, one of the top requested speakers is Michael Jordan. If he were to end up participating, it would be set one a particular day and time. He'd be online via Webcam to answer audience questions and interact. The audience can either type questions or if Jordan were to select someone, show up through their own Webcam for an interactive chat with Jordan in front of the audience. The tagline for the company makes perfect sense, "Meet your hero." The company is currently running an ad supported business model and in the future will be offering ticketed events which are free to create and sell tickets, while Vokle makes a percent of the profits.
RentCyle, is looking to bring the rental industry online. For rental businesses, RentCycle offers a system to track inventory, manage reservations and increase distribution of goods. Unlike Zilok, which is a P2P rental service, RentCycle wants to focus on being the software platform for large rental companies, like Home Depot. On the consumer side, the startup wants to be the central marketplace for renting anything online. Some potential items that could be rented on Rentcycle include tools and equipment for construction, parties and events materials, consumer rentals like electronics and sporting goods and even video rentals. It offers its services free for consumers and a subscription model and commission fees for the rental business. The company recently launched Rentcycle Version 2.0 which brought in a directory of over 30,000 companies consumers and potential renters can search through to find that next bicycle they need to rent when they visit a foreign country. Check out our latest episode of Startup Sessions which features Tim Hyer, the founder of Rentcycle hard at work in his entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Controlbox is out to address an online issue the entire society of the Internet is vulnerable to - fraud when it comes to buying and selling things online. It's mainly focused on private sellers and buyers, for example, I'm trying to sell my car on Craigslist and I decide to list my phone number for potential buyers to call me at. By listing that phone number online, I'm risking myself to get picked up by telemarketers who found that number. Finally, let's say Joe, the buyer, decides to call me and tells me he'll wire the money to my account and I believe him, he could be a fraud and just want my account number to steal money from me. Contorlbox comes into play as a central hub both buyer and seller have to go through. Monitoring and recording the entire transaction from starto to finish.
CinemaShare.com coins itself as, "crowdfunding for entertainment projects." The company sells single shares of stock in a NASDAQ Capital Market IPO and free DVD as a stock dividend. It basically can work with movie companies or other entertainment companies to get to get their content funded. If a movie fan decides to invest, they would buy a share of stock, later receive a DVD plust their share of the film's earnings. Other benefits come into play like video from the set, voting, contests, tickets, merchandise, etc. The company said its model works for any company with distributed media and a large fan base - ie, movies, music, NASCAR teams, video games and broadway shows. The startup holds a US patent for its product.
YourVersion offers a free iPhone app and Firefox plugin for users who want to get relevant Web content delivered to them. It grows with the user the more they use it. On the iPhone version the user can pick a topic and see relevant articles. If they like the article, they can thumb it up or 'x' out the articles they don't find interesting. YourVersion then begins to learn your specific interests and tries to deliver better results. The company differentiates itself from similar services because of it's real-time search. It also offers sharing features like posting to Twitter and Facebook. Its business model is to deliver highly relevant pay-per-click ads. It also plans to experiment with sponsored results.
MyeGamer.com has built a site focused on the competitive video gaming industry. Its vision is to be the single destination where all competitive gamers go to read news and find out where and when the next big tournament will be. At the same time, it offers its readers updated strategies on how to beat their next opponenet. It plans to integrate social features where gamers can get to know other gamers in their cities or across the globe and find out what people are playing the most. Its tagline: "We connect gamers to the competitive gaming scene."
Intelligent Papers wants to be, "The next textbook." The startup's vision is to rid the world of texbooks by creating a handheld device which enables students to have all their textbooks on, take notes, highlight, take tests, and even do their homework. Besides being a technology company, Intelligent Papers could be considered a green company since its product could save trees and carbon emissions due to distribution of textbooks and all the materials that go along with it, like pens, papers, notebooks, etc. Its business plan is a combination of software licensing and a service model. It licenses its software to schools for a yearly, per student license fee and also provides backend cloud servers. These would be for content management and syncing of student data as well as classroom activities.
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Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs
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Meet your mobile toolbox. Getable is like a remote control for equipment management. We let construction professionals order and manage equipment from their smartphone. We let rental providers increase overall utilization of their assets. The company serves the tool & equipment rental industry, a $32B space that is projected to grow to $46B by 2016.
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YourVersion is a real-time discovery engine that continuously discovers new and relevant web content tailored to your specific interests. You can then easily bookmark and share pages via email, Facebook, or Twitter. YourVersion also offers an optional Firefox browser toolbar and a free iPhone app. YourVersion harnesses collective intelligence using explicit and implicit attention data, so that the results grow increasingly better as more people use the system. YourVersion launched at the 2009 TechCrunch50 Conference where we won the People's Choice Award. We also won the People's Choice Awards at FailCon and the Play Berkeley Digital Media Conference.
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VOKLE is an embeddable microsite platform where the world’s most powerful and innovative thinkers, doers, movers, and shakers can easily broadcast their live video to a virtual auditorium of viewers, and, most uniquely, take video calls from the audience with unprecedented ease.
It's a global hub for the world’s foremost entertainers, artists, politicians, professors, Pulitzer-Prize winners, Nobel Laureates, and self-realization gurus to engage in insightful, many-to-many video dialogue with viewers on-demand, and from the convenience of their homes.
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Thumbtack helps you accomplish the personal projects that are central to your life.
Whether you need to paint your home, learn a new language, or plan your daughter's birthday party, Thumbtack is the easiest and most dependable way to hire the right professional for your projects.
Get started by answering a few questions about your specific needs. Within hours, Thumbtack will introduce you to several available and qualified professionals. Compare custom quotes, reviews, and profiles and hire when you’re ready.
By connecting customers like you to the right pros, we enable independent professionals to grow their businesses and do what they love. We’re proud that many of our pros have doubled or even tripled the size of their businesses through Thumbtack.
Thumbtack is available nationwide for more than 700 project categories.
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MYeGamer allows competitive gamers to play one another online for cash.
We’re organizing and incentivizing the behavior of people already spending time doing what they love.
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The online private-party marketplaces of today are a playground for criminals and predators. The processes of completing transactions for big-ticket items are awkward, clumsy, and leave the legitimate private sellers and buyers of the world exposed and vulnerable.
That ends now.
Fraud complaints received by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) increased 33.1% from 2007 to 2008. Nearly all of these incidents originated on an online marketplace. ControlBox.com technology is an ironclad barrier to these hard-to-prosecute crimes.
Businesses like auto dealerships spend big bucks every month on technology that will market their inventory and manage their relationships with potential customers. ControlBox.com puts enterprise-level marketing tools and best practices to work for the private seller with an extraordinarily simple interface.
Exposing one's telephone number and/or email address online means a total loss of control over who can contact you, and when. Telemarketers know this, and many private sellers are being harassed relentlessly. ControlBox.com allows sellers to offer potential buyers easy access to them, while being shielded from predatory marketers.
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CinemaShares.com holds a Licensee to the MediaShares' U.S. Patent (# 6,792,411) for its unique new method of Crowdfunding projects through a unique online IPO. MediaShares enables ANY company to raise funding by selling NASDAQ Capital Market stock on its own Web site. Movie companies, NASCAR Teams, and others use this new technique to get funding from their fans, customers, or affinity group.
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Revolutionary Education System
The vision of Intelligent Papers is to build a revolutionary education system and the backend software that:
- Replaces existing textbooks by creating a handheld device that enables students to read textbooks readily and easily, take notes, highlight, take tests, and do their homework.
- Provides virtual education by enabling virtual laboratory environments (for example, science labs such as biology, physics, chemistry, or language labs for learning a foreign language), that can be experienced through a simple touch environment and by enabling access to videos of remote classroom environments.
- Seamlessly integrates education tools like calculator, encyclopedia, dictionary and maps.
- Saves the environment by not only saving trees but also carbon emissions due to distribution of textbooks and other educational material.
This approach gets us closer to education equality across the globe.
“The Next Textbook”
Our solution to this problem is a product we call the nBook, which is the “next textbook”. It is based on a very simple touch based embedded device. While our goal is to support multiple devices in the future, our first version is a 7 inch touch device. There are only two buttons on the device: the power button and the home button. The home button is used by the software to go back the previous screen or to exit out of applications. In addition, we provide an SD card interface for memory scalability, headphone output, microphone input and a micro USB based charge socket. For communication, the current device comes with WiFi and future versions will support 3G.
This device runs our own client software which is currently built on Windows CE, however, Widows CE is neither accessible nor even visible to the user. The purpose of this is to present an application specific, touch optimized interface to the user. The software is first organized around various subjects the student is taking during the academic year. For each subject, there is a textbook, an exercise book and multiple audio visuals (this organization of content may change based on the school system). A book reader application is used to read the books. The application comes with the ability to write on the book, as well as highlighting. The ability to write on the book is especially important to solve the exercises in the exercise book. In addition, there is a notebook attached to each book as well as various navigation options to navigate within the book. There are also supplemental content such as a dictionary and an encyclopedia which can be accessed either from within the book or from the top level. Currently, the audiovisual formats supported are music, pictures, video, and Powerpoint presentations. In the near future, we will be supporting Adobe Flash content, which will allow us to leverage existing interactive content written for web based education applications.
Our client software is designed to operate as a book (including all audio visual content) even when a network is not present. When the student goes to school, the device connects to the network and the client software performs various synchronization tasks such as downloading content, which may include the teacher’s notes for the day, uploading homework and student usage statistics. The client software also supports multiple distributed applications in conjunction with the back end. These may include shared whiteboard applications, teacher controls, educational multi-party gaming, and centralized or individual testing.
Back End Systems
The function of the backend system is to manage users, content, and applications. When the student is first handed a device, it is typically empty. When the student completes authentication the device downloads all relevant content for that student as soon as it is connected to the appropriate network. The back end, from then on, is responsible for all content synchronization and book keeping for that student. It is also responsible to make sure that the student is properly licensed for all content received. This may include full license, limited seat license, individually paid license, etc.
The back end also keeps track of all student usage and performance related statistics and makes them available to all other applications. For example, a math exercise application may make use of student math aptitude information gathered by a separate math application. A history teaching application may use information on whether the student learns better by reading or listening, which may be assessed by a separate application.