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Finalists run the gamut from social and mobile to "up-cycling" and workers' rights
Vator Splash is underway at Café du Nord on a balmy February day in San Francisco, and the party’s hoppin’! Ten Splash finalists are getting ready to pitch to the VC panel, which includes David Thacker from Greylock, Dara Bazzano of KPMG, Saad Khan of CMEA, Jed Katz of Javelin, Jay Jamison from Blue Run, Tim Chang of Norwest, and Raj Kapoor of Mayfield (also the lead singer of Coverflow).
So let’s take a look at the startups that are about to go in front of the VC judges.
Twezr: a free iPhone app that acts as a personal organizer. The app organizes all of your contacts and the content they’re sending your way, including emails, direct messages, tweets, or posts on your wall. The app alerts you when you get a message, showing one dot if it’s a wall post or tweet, and showing two dots if it’s an email or a direct message. The company employs a freemium business model and expects to reach a $3-4 billion market by 2013.
Codif.ly: a mobile QRcode and link shortener, Codif.ly features a dynamic system that identifies the type of device reading the QRcode (Android, iPhone, RIM, etc) and pushes the user to the correct app store. This solves the problem of trying to market an app in a cost-effective way, and without having to develop several different links to different app stores. The company's ideal client is a startup with a national advertising campaign or a mobile application across multiple platforms.
LaborVoices: a social for-profit company that aims to end labor abuses by creating a rating platform (like Yelp) where employees can anonymously rate their employers, thereby giving employers an incentive to provide fair working conditions to their employees to improve their ratings. The platform is unique in that it's completely mobile, allowing potential employees to call ahead to get information on a prospective employer. The company is currently running a pilot project in Bangalore, India and has plans to reach one million workers by 2012.
e-Appointments: a website that allows customers to schedule appointments online from any Internet-connected computer or smartphone. By simply entering a zipcode and the type of provider needed (dentist, doctor, chiropractor, etc.), the user can quickly and easily set up an appointment using the easy-to-navigate e-Appointments user interface.
uBlanket: a Web-based "up-cycling" startup that converts old materials into new products. Right now the company is offering a blanket made out of customers' own T-shirts. By signing up, customers receive a welcome kit with a prepaid shipping bag for their shirts. They follow that by going online and designing their own quilt on the website, which the company produces using the T-shirts and mails back to them.
Who’s Free: a mobile app created by MeeBee that allows users to locate nearby friends and find out who is free to hang out. It's like a cross between Foursquare and Twitter. Your friends check in and set their status as either free or busy, and should you be looking for someone to grab a beer with, you can simply check the app to see who's around and available.
Arrivu Technologies: a company that calls itself a "software platform for dummies." Using artificial intelligence, the platform cuts the Software Developer out of the equation, allowing the user to build business applications like dashboards, data analysis, etc., simply by telling the computer in plain English (as opposed to code) what he/she wants. Arrivu Technologies has already raised $2 million in funding.
iBuildApp: exactly what it sounds like. Similar to social marketing, iBuildApp emphasizes mobile marketing by helping businesses create and manage their own apps and engage customers across different mobile platforms, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. The free DIY platform requires no coding and currently hosts more than 2,000 apps from over 100 different countries.
Job Rooster: a mobile platform that texts job alerts to customers' phones as they pop up. Mobile phone owners don't need a computer or even an Internet connection. By simply texting the word JOBS to 27697, entering their zip code and preferred job type, Job Rooster will begin sending job postings to customers' phones sourced directly from job boards like Job.com and Beyond.com. Users can also get volunteer opportunities and classes sent to their phone.
uBoost: a platform for encouraging student retention and performance, uBoost utilizes gaming mechanics, social tools, and virtual currency to engage at-risk students. The company has worked with Kaplan, Scientific Learning, Connections Academy, and K12 Inc., and clients claim to see dramatic improvement in student performance and retention rate.
90-Day Guides, Inc: an online media company built around the idea of helping users set, track, and achieve their goals and resolutions within 90 days. The site currently features a 90-day guitar guide and claims to offer a scientifically valid process through which users can set and achieve their goals. Each 90-day guide topic will feature commentary and lessons from an expert in the field.
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Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs
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High school dropout rates in urban school districts surpassed 50% in 2008. US student performance consistently ranks in the lower quartile for developed countries. Students often lack motivation because they don’t believe they can achieve competency and the curriculum isn’t consistently interesting or relevant. Federal regulation and new competition have created tremendous pressure on educational institutions to increase graduation rates.
uBoost is an award winning, online rewards and recognition platform utilized to increase frequency of “target behaviors”—behaviors of our clients’ customers, students or employees that impact their bottom line. Utilizing social tools, gaming mechanics and redeemable currency in a fully integrated online program, clients see dramatic increases in retention and test scores.
uBoost has been cash flow positive since June 2010 and clients such as Kaplan, Scientific Learning, Connections Academy and K12 Inc are showing increases in test scores and student retention from using uBoost’s platform. The Software Industry Association recognized uBoost’s early impact on education and awarded it a prestigious CODiE award in 2009.
uBoost was designed to enhance the engagement of any content by automating frequent recognition of incremental performance. Interest and achievement are boosted by frequent, relevant recognition thereby maximizing performance. By employing social tools and gaming mechanics (gamification) uBoost is able to change both the level of engagement and the confidence of underperforming students.
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Twezr is a personal organizer – the best way to stay in sync with close friends and co-workers. Twezr organizes all the contacts and all the content they’ve shared over email, Facebook and Twitter in one place. Twezr helps people quickly find, view and respond to the messages from their close friends and co-workers. Twezr is available for free in the iTunes app store.
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90-Day Guides is an online media company. We attract our audience by helping people set, track and achieve their personal goals and resolutions over a 90-day period of time. We leverage these deep relationships by aligning category exclusive sponsors as part of the solution, charging a premium to the advertisers while keeping the service free to the consumer.
90-Day Guides will become a powerful brand by inspiring tens of millions of people to take action towards personal improvement and will become the dominant platform motivating users to move from contemplation through preparation and into action.
Examples of goals are: Lose Weight; Go Green; Start a Hobby; Gardening; Learn Guitar; Start a Business; etc. (there are over 80 identified already)
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LaborVoices is a for-profit company with a social mission: ending labor abuses by enforcing labor market transparency. LaborVoices (LV) uses pervasive mobile technology to draw information from workers on abusive or deceitful employers and encourages employer responsibility for providing safe work environments. To accomplish this, LV provides a mobile technology platform for migrant workers - think of a cross between Yelp and Ask.com - to ask questions over the phone about a destination and receive answers from hundreds of workers currently at the site. LV gathers these questions and answers to generate reliable reputations of employers and worksites. This data is transparent, encouraging employers to improve conditions for better ratings; it’s also anonymous, ensuring that workers who report abuses are safe from employer reprisal. No smartphones are necessary - simply a normal cellphone capable of sending and receiving calls. We are currently running a pilot in Bangalore, India, and plan on reaching one million workers by 2012.
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iBuildApp, the startup in Mobile App space, makes it easy and affordable for any business to build and manage mobile apps.
iBuildApp hosting over 5,000 mobile apps from 100+ different countries. Our mobile content management platform provides a cost effective solution for businesses to build and optimize their mobile presence for all smartphone devices (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile).
We help companies to connect and engage customers to promote business, to keep customers updated and encourage their loyalty with rewards by enabling a number of key features including Mobile Commerce, Mobile Advertising Management, Social Networking Tools.
iBuildApp is the established “do it yourself” platform to make iPhone/Android apps, with no coding required. The self service web platform provides easy way for any organization to create their own mobile (iPhone, iPad, Andorid, Symbian, Win Mobile, Blackberry) applications and publishing materials.
Creating a mobile app with iBuildapp is absolutely free. You can have an app published within minutes. The Publication Tool allows individuals, businesses and corporations to create customize apps and manage their own iPhone/iPad Application via online application creation engine. The idea is to offer an easy way for traditional media publishers to port their content to Apple’s devices via web based interface.
Our customers can create their own Catalogs, Flyers, Brochures, Reports, Digests, etc and deliver it via our SaaS solution. Marketing and Social Media can create their social communities easily within minutes and communicate to the clients instantly.
Founded in 2009, IBuildApp is providing solutions to Fortune 2000 and small businesses, not-profit organizations and media artists.
Market Opportunity: Nielsen Co. says consumers this year will download 17.7 billion apps from the biggest providers: Apple's App Store, the Android Market, RIM's App World, Microsoft Marketplace, Samsung Apps and Nokia's Ovi Store
Revenue from apps is projected to be greater than $15.1 billion in 2011, up from $5.2 billion in 2010. Between now and 2014, app revenue is expected to keep growing and reach $58 billion - more than a 1,000 percent increase over 2010
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Codif.ly is the world's first mobile centric QRcode and link shortener switchboard solution. It allows you to create device and location specific business rules for your shortened link or QR code. This way you can drive more conversions and help effectively enhance your media buys for larger organizations.
Using it is extremely easy and quick. Codif.ly also integrates open API for distribution for external application development. The common client/user would be one that has a national advertising campaign or a mobile application across multiple platforms. After being asked over 200 times in 2010 "how do I market my application?" by potential clients with mobile application startup ideas, we realized that the mobile application marketplace has a positive feedback loop built into it.
Apps in the top 25 stay in the top 25, and it is difficult for a new app the break into that market without a major marketing budget. SEO is not as effective for mobile applications as it is for internet applications. The search within itunes is lacking, and Android doesn't really even have a proper online marketplace. Mobile application developers need a way to market their apps cost effectively and not have to worry about providing six links to each app version in the different app stores.
With a dynamic system that identifies the device reading the QRcode, Codif.ly can push the user to appropriate app store, android market or app world.
Give it a try at www.codif.ly.
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Job Rooster texts jobs postings directly to your mobile phone. Get free job alerts, company info, and send jobs to your inbox without ever needing a computer or Internet connection.
Text the word JOBS to 27697 (or to 415-787-3906 for MetroPCS), enter ZIP code and job type, and customized jobs will be sent to your phone. Jobs are sourced through various job boards partnerships with partners like Beyond.com, Job.com, and Indeed.
For employers, Job Rooster's service helps pre-qualify candidates, saving time and allowing HR specialists to identify the best applicants quickly.
At Job Rooster, our vision is to connect every worker to the global marketplace of opportunity through affordable, accessible text messaging services. We want to empower the World Wide Workforce!
As a social enterprise, Job Rooster is working to redress social and economic inequalities that prevent everyone from enjoying the full range of opportunities they deserve. Through our service, you can have local job postings, volunteer assignments or educational class listings sent directly to your mobile phone.
What began as an idea to help connect local businesses and organizations to their communities has grown into a larger mission to put people back to work in jobs that fully engage them and help reduce unemployment and underemployment worldwide. By building our workforce services around an easily accessible and widely available platform – the mobile phone – we hope to connect underserved communities to the professional opportunities that will help them realize a rich life.
Job Rooster is easy to use, and can be accessed by job seekers at their mobile phone at any time of day, anywhere. Now you don’t need to be in front of a computer to find the next great opportunity! Work smarter, not harder with Job Rooster, and join thousands who “rise to their calling” every day.
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uBlanket is a web-based consumer products company specializing in upcycling, converting waste or useless materials into new products. At this time we sell a T-shirt blanket that is designed in our web-based layout software. Customers can design unique blankets from T-shirts that they have collected from high school, college, sports, or other lifestyle activities.
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MeeBee is an award winning internet startup that develops web & mobile applications for the hot social media & geolocation space.
We were recognised by Techcrunch as a top 100 global startup, and Winner of the prestigious Red Herring Top 100 Europe award.
Our new mobile app: Who's Free is a cool little app that shows you who's free to hangout!
So you can see your Facebook friends that are NEAR you & FREE to socialize. No other app does that!
Just because you've "checked-in" somewhere, doesn't mean you're "free" to hangout.
Suddenly got 30min for a coffee in b/n meetings?
Want to invite more friends nearby for drinks now?
Playing street-ball & need another player near you?
Who's Free is perfect for this!
meebee, the web app, solves the problem of endless phone calls and emails to find agreeable times for a meeting between people. It’s great for scheduling catch ups with mates, or hot sexy dates.
meebee contains a state-of-the-art meeting/events organizational interface which is time-efficient, personalized and secure. meebee gives the user control over their social/business/dating or family lifeby allowing multiple profiles. meebee is actual syncing of data coupled with privacy controls and notification.
Its Fun, Fast, and Friendly!