Category Archives: Global Startups

Pluggd.in Global Startups

Canadian startup PlayIt Interactive raises $1.1million USD For India Launch

Canadian based start-up PlayIt Interactive has raised funds worth USD 1.1 million in a move to set up its office in India. The funding will help the firm to deploy its mobile fan engagement offering to media companies and sports brands in the Indian market.

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Play it, a mobile content platform for sports fan, plans to  to engage a wide audience of sports fans in India by enabling immersive experiences, that are accessible to mobile subscribers at the lowest price point possible.

PlayIt, founded in 2013, piloted its engagement platform via a Fantasy Football app, to coincide with the FIFA World Cup, for an Indian audience. During the event Play It saw over 500,000 users, with an average user session time of over 14 minutes. These early indications point to tremendous engagement potential of the platform in the Indian market.

The Canadian start-up will be recruiting local talent to enhance and localize its product offering as well as manage local partnerships.

Angel Investor, Rehan Yar Khan Launches Rs. 300cr Fund – Will Invest From Seed to Series A and B

Rehan Yar Khan, one of India’s prominent investor who has made investments as Seed, Series A and Series B investor in many startup companies, has raised  INR 300 Crore for his maiden Venture Capital fund Orios Venture Partners, highlighting the growing interests of  Angel Investors in the startup market.

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Khan, who a founding member of Indian Angel Network’s (IAN) Mumbai Chapter has made 19 angel investments, 15 of which have made remarkable growth.

He is one of the first investors in car rental service provider Olacabs and security software maker Druva. His angel investments have attracted follow on rounds from VCs like Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Tiger Global, Matrix Partners, IDG Ventures and Inventus Capital. Some of his recent investments include Snaplion, IndiaCollegeSearch and PrettySecrets.

Orios Venture Partners comprises of an eminent advisory board of industry veterans including Rajan Anandan (Managing Director, Google India), Anupam Mittal (Founder and CEO of People Group which owns businesses such as Shaadi.com) Shujaat Khan (Blue River Capital) and Raj Chinai (Harvard Angels).

Orios will invest in early stage companies from Seed to Series A and Series B with investments ranging from Rs. 50L to Rs. 20cr in key growth sectors like India internet and B2B Software Products for Global markets.

Boomerang Commerce Helps Price Items on E-Commerce Stores Just Right

E-commerce giants like Amazon have their own analytics division to help price their products just right and attract customers. Thanks to a startup called Boomerang Commerce, smaller e-commerce companies don’t have to bother about getting the price just right, all the time. Boomerang Commerce’s SaaS based solution will do the work for you.

Boomerang Commerce was started by Guru Hariharan, a Delhi Institute of Technology and Wharton alumnus. Headquartered in San Francisco and with a sizeable workforce in India, Boomerang Commerce uses price optimisation solutions to help retailers automatically and dynamically price products.

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“We wanted to do something to bridge the gap between Amazon and the other guys. Amazon was crushing everyone when it came to pricing. So we thought, if we’re on the bottom of the pile, lets start looking at things and working from the top,” said Guru who is ex-Amazon and ex-EBay.

How Does Boomerang Commerce Work?

Companies plug-in the the Boomerang Commerce pricing engine onto their platforms using flat file integration or through the company’s API itself.

Boomerang Commerce uses its Dynamic Price Optimisation engine to help price according to strategy.

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The companies can use the dynamic price optimiser to set goals. They can choose between just maximising margins or doing both – maximizing margins and revenues. This can be done both at a category and sub-category level.

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Boomerang Commerce’s system uses A/B testing on various pricing strategies to help reach the output/target that an e-commerce company wants.

The analytics platform to help reach the target has two layers to it – competitor intelligence and profitability intelligence.

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Competitor Intelligence – Boomerang Commerce uses a retailers catalog, factors in competitor’s pricing, and tracks how competition price competing products in almost real time.

Profitability Intelligence – Boomerang Commerce also factors in profitability levels by the unit for every online transaction by taking into account various variable costs including COGs, transport and logistics.

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Thereafter, the dynamic price optimiser will use both the mechanisms to give the e-commerce company pricing at an SKU level.

Monetisation is on a subscription fee based on revenues obtained.

“Various companies that employ our platform have increased their sales by 5-20%. We have also doubled their margins,” said Guru. “While we have already created a price algorithm, in our next version we will allow companies to do game theory,” he adds.

Boomerang Commerce’s platform is currently available for use by e-commerce companies in the US, Europe and China.

3 Startups That Help You Build Your Own Internet of Things

We have seen startups providing home automation system in various domains using the concept of Internet of Things (IoT). While those were the systems already provided with built –in functionalities, Spark,ThingsquareCarriots are those startups that in fact help you create your own Internet of Things device. While the solutions IoT provides definitely looks no less than jargon to a layman, these startups have particularly stressed on building the Do-It-yourself (DIY) kit in a way that even layman can lay his hands on it.

Let us understand it with an example: You are working on an assignment that asks you to survey the caffeine viz. tea, coffee consumption in an office on different days like a light day, appraisal or hectic days etc. This is where the DIY solution comes into picture and can make the solution much simpler and accurate for you.

IoT 1

The solution proposes to install a flow meter between the coffee drum and the tap. The flow meter is equipped with sensors that send electronic pulses to the connected wire when a fluid passes through its internal blades. A calibration method has to be set up have a conversion constant from pulses to a volume unit (ml) and the work is done. Arduino board is the recommended one for accurate pulse record. When pulses are read, collected information is then sent to the Raspberry Pi. Then RPi handle reads, keep a log and send data to clouds. Each time a coffee is served the information is sent to the cloud. Then, all data is stored and pushed to external information systems to extract useful information by the smart Business Intelligence guys.

Such kind of solutions can be built with the components, be it hardware or software provided by the startups such as Spark, Thingsquare and Carriots. For instance, Carriots provides its cloud services and has its own intelligence system that consists of listeners (for calibration and counting purposes), triggers(for pushing data), and different APIs. The custom dashboard can be built in any web technology with a precondition that it should be capable to talk to the Carriots platform via API. It comes with a licensing cost in various plans.

Spark is also an open source system. It provides a solution called ‘Spark Core’ which is a Wi-Fi development board that makes it easy to create internet-connected hardware. Spark Core is a chip that can be installed in any of the devices that you want to control remotely. The device is capable of being programmed in the C/C++ or assembly language, wirelessly without attaching it with the PC. It can be reprogrammed. It connects directly to the cloud provided by the Spark through the Wi-Fi module in the chip. With the help of the cloud, the devices can be accessed from anywhere in a safe and secure manner through REST API. The devices can also be accessed without the cloud support, through the TCP and UDP communication protocols. The kit comes at $39.

IoT 2

Thingsquare works in a similar way. In the solution provided by them, chips are added to the devices that one wishes to control. These chips run the Thingsquare open source firmware. They connect to the cloud via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This way one can build its own home or office automation system with minimal effort. The backend connects the devices with the API. The firm has partnered up with Texas Instruments for manufacturing wireless chips. Typically the chips are compatible with lighting, metering and wireless sensor devices.

Typically these startups provide you an ideal platform to control your device as well as store and assess your data remotely in a secured manner, an ideal example of Platform as a Service (PaaS) with some in built hardware and micro controller chips required.

Tado: Revolutionizing the Heating System With its Smart Technology

During harsh and cold winters, a responsible citizen is always in dilemma: Should I let the heating run at full power while no one is at home or bear the cold for some time after I arrive at home and start the heater? While the question sometimes seems trivial when taken as an individual case, but when we come to know that one third of the energy consumed around the world is used for heating or cooling buildings, there is definitely something that needs to be done. The systems used for these are controlled by non-smart technology that is outdated and that is where exactly Tado fills the lacunae.

So what does Tado exactly do? Tado is a state-of-the-art intelligent technology that works with a heating system to keep your house at a pleasant temperature, coupled with energy saving features. Consider a scenario: You leave home every morning at 8 only to return by evening and there’s no one else at home. The tado mobile app will keep a track of your distance from home and will let the heating system go slow in direct proportion to your distance from home. As the distance increases, the heating system will start slowing down. In evening when you are done with the day, the tado will activate the heating system from its hibernation and by the time you arrive home, tado heats the home to the perfect temperature. The heating will go up with every inch towards your home.

Along with this, Tado sets the house temperature in accordance to the external temperature and time cycle of the day. Tado responds to the particular heating properties of your home which are influenced by factors such as its insulation and window surface areas. This allows it to reach the desired temperature even more efficiently.

How does it work?

Sounds interesting, eh!! The Tado kit consists of a box connected that is connected to the boiler, ultimately responsible for the intensity of heating. It is this box that contains the intelligent system to regulate the temperature according to the need. The second device of the kit, Gateway is responsible for all the remote information sharing of the heating information to and from the app. It is plugged into the router. Another device called the temperature sensor, which is powered by solar cell, measures the temperature in the living area.

Tado, as it claims, is easy to install and works with a central or split heating system. The mobile app automatically informs your heating system of your location – without you having to open the app. The app also helps you get an overview of what tado° is doing and how warm it is at home. The web app gives a detailed report with a temperature curve, heating activity and events that influence the temperature regulation. The geolocation services is provided through mobile phone tower locations, Wi-Fi access points which are close to the phone, and triangulation instead of GPS to save battery consumption.

Tado Connection Kit

According to the estimates, Tado claims to save upto 300 pounds every year. Tado considers the no. of people in the house, the no. of rooms and its area while putting forth the statistics in terms of costs and percentage of power saved. Though the smart phone app is one of the most important controller of the technology, Tado can be manually controlled. Tado, a Munich based company, has been in existence since 2010 and is augmenting its reach in German and pan-European markets.

Where’s it lacking?

However, with all this pros there are some serious issues which haven’t been addressed or mentioned like the security of the system and the app, the effectiveness of the system with the aging of boiler or heating device, et al. Along with that, one also needs to think about the state of the system if the mobile app owner is not located on its mobile due to several reasons for longer hours. These factors pose an important question to the efficiency and effectiveness of the system.

This app definitely holds future when it comes to power saving and a systematic and thoughtful implementation will only service mother earth besides the economy.

500 Startups Batch 9 Announced, 3 Indian startups & 11 with women co-founders

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Silicon Valley based accelarator 500 Startups has announced its 9th batch with 29 companies. Of them,  three are from India. This year’s list has 3 novel fashion startups and 11 of them have at least one woman on the founding team.

InterviewMaster from Bangalore, SourceEasy and TargetingMantra from Delhi are the Indian startups in the list. Here is the complete list:

AbbeyPost: AbbeyPost is a vertically integrated brand that delights customers with beautiful, well made Plus Size wardrobe classics that fit perfectly.

ArtCorgi: ArtCorgi makes it easy to commission original, personalized art from up ­and ­coming artists.

Bohemian Guitars: Bohemian Guitars is rethinking music products to create a more affordable, stylish, and sustainable way to make and enjoy music.

Bonafide:Bonafide is community powered fraud prevention for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

click2stream:Security camera video analysis platform in the cloud.

Coinanalytics : This start-up brings Big Data to the Bitcoin ecosystem by building a cutting­edge analytical framework.

Giveit100: Choose something you want to get better at and share a 10 second video of your progress every day.

GogoCoin: GogoCoin is the easiest way to buy bitcoins instantly.

GoRefi :GoRefi helps homeowners refinance their homes online, from start ­to ­finish.

Hobobe: Hobobe is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experience in China.

InterviewMaster :Interview Master is an easy to use video and mobile recruitment solution that improves the quality of hires, increases recruiter productivity, and enriches a job candidate’s experience.

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KangaDo :Like a collaborative TaskRabbit for parents, KangaDo is a mobile service that helps busy Moms & Dads chat and organize activities with friends, family, and caregivers.

Monetsu :Monetsu Technology is a software startup creating innovative solutions for crypto­currencies.

Neuroware: They develop OpenSource software solutions for digital currencies.

Pinshape :Pinshape is a 3D printing community that helps you explore, share, sell, and order 3D printable shapes.

Pop Up Archive :Pop Up Archive makes sound searchable with smart transcription tools that are built on unique language models from audio collections across the U.S.

Puzzlium :Puzzlium’s mission is to release people’s creativity to make the world smarter.

Share Some Style :The first and only personal styling service that sends a stylist to your home.

Solidarium: Solidarium connects Brazilian makers with consumers and retailers from all over the world.

sourceasy-newlogo Sourceasy :Sourceasy is a full stack private textiles sourcing service.

Sporthold: SportHold is the free prediction game for all sports, a game that gives players the opportunity to prove their sports knowledge to the world.

Stitch: Stitch is the (clean) Tinder for adults over 50, giving them companionship.

Survmetrics: Survmetrics is the online survey platform where you can create awesome and engaging surveys that improve user experience exponentially and thus generate higher response rates.

Targeting mantra

Targetingmantra: TargetingMantra is a mind­reader that figures out what people are interested in and surfaces relevant content to them.

Teaman & Company :Combining an incredible inventory of colored gemstones from all over the world with a growing catalogue of designs, Teaman & Company is setting out to be the face of custom colored gemstone engagement rings and artisanal jewelry.

Thinknum: Thinknum is a web platform for financial analysis. Collaborate on investment research with users from around the world.

Totspot : Mobile marketplace for moms to shop and sell fashion for kids.

Vessel:Vessel offers the most advanced and powerful mobile A/B testing platform allowing product managers to run deep ­layered A/B experiments on their native mobile apps.

Zootrock: ZootRock generates relevant, trending content for your social media accounts to help you increase engagement and followers.

Now Learn English in Hindi With reCaptcha Inventor’s Startup Duolingo

Duolingo, one of the hottest learning startups around is launching in Hindi. On the new iOS version of the app, users will be able to learn English in Hindi. You can also learn a set of languages such as Spanish, French, Italian and German on the app.

The popular free language learning startup, launched  by Luis Von Ahn, the inventor of reCaptcha and Carnegie alum Severin Hacker, has 28 million users worldwide. The app has been downloaded over 17 million times on iOS and 15 million times on Android.

Duolingo
Learn Hindi Onilne/ on Mobile with Duolingo

The app will always be free to its users, the company said.

The startup had raised $20 mn Series C funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. It had earlier raised $15 mn in Series B funding from NEA in 2012 and Series A from Union Square Ventures in 2011. Actor Ashton Kutcher and author Tim Ferriss are also investors in the company.

Instead of charging users for the app, the company makes money by getting users to translate texts (like how they used reCaptcha to crowdsource digitization of printed books) which is sold to media companies like CNN and BuzzFeed.

I tried the app and found it extremely useful. It is nicely gamified and uses audio-visual cues to help you learn quickly. Since I already know Hindi English,  I’m going to pick up Spanish and report on that very soon. Until then, watch Luis Von Ahn’s Ted Talk hereHasta la vista!

Preparing for GRE, GMAT? Learningpod Makes Practice Easy

LearningpodPractice makes perfect. And Learningpod makes it easy for you. The New York based startup will help you prepare for a test or learn things quicker with its library of practice questions.

It can help you prepare for exams such as GMAT and GRE. There are questions in various topics such as Art & Design, Engineering, Mathematics, Society & Culture.

The company takes question content from publishers like Kaplan and open education partners like OpenStax College, and distributes on its website.

Currently, Learningpod has over 47,000 questions including common core and Higher ed items, and is free for students and teachers.Learningpod1

What’s nice about it is the ease with which you can use it to prepare for tests. You can also share the question on your social stream, in case you’d like some help.

Learningpod lets you create questions and practice sets as well. The team is also making an authoring tool that standardizes the format and a question bank that centralizes this information and data so that it can be used by multiple companies and individuals.

What’s clever about Learningpod it also gives you an embed code that can be used to quickly share pods, or question sets. So for instance, if an educator want to quiz a class, he can create questions, publish it and quickly make it live on a website or share it with students.

With Henry At Your Service, Ecommerce Gets The Much Needed Guided Search

There are two ways to look at any ecommerce site :

A) show/sell what the site has , or

B) understand what customers want and then show/guide them what the site has to offer.

So far, most of the ecommerce companies have taken the first approach, but that often leaves customers with a lot of confusion (translates to low conversion rate)..

Israeli startup Henry At Your Service enables ecommerce companies to help customers make decisions; and improve conversion rate for ecommerce sites. The service helps customers with guided questions and presents results based on the options chosen.

Hello Henry!
Hello Henry!

How Henry At Your Service Works

The integration  is done using javascript (and the service doesn’t need to talk to site’s database to collect product/taxonomy details).

We collect data via sophisticated web crawlers. We don’t use any of the storage volume of the e-commerce sites, rather all the information (catalogs) is stored in our database. [Meir Rosilio, Cofounder]

The service is currently being used in an Israel based ecommerce store and Meir claims that 97% of consumers chose to use Henry and not the regular search. Also, consumers that use Henry spent over 5 Minutes while looking for a product.

For sure, this is a great concept that focuses on customer needs and has a universal appeal. Not that ecommerce sites do not offer advanced search like this (few days back, FinYogi and WebEngage collaborated to launch mobile buying guide), but a guided tool does provide a packaged experience.

As far as monetization model is concerned, the Israeli startup charges on commission done per sale thru’ the service.

Numbby Wants to Be the Wikipedia of Numbers and Data

Did you know that Egypt’s population 81 million? That 41% of LinkedIn’s unique visits in in Q3 2013 came from mobile? Or that the life expectancy at birth in China is 75 years? If you need this kind of data for a project being done there are usually three ways of doing it. You could either Google it, go to the official website and hunt for information, or try your luck contacting companies themselves.

A data-sharing website called Numbby is now offering a fourth way to find data, statistics and percentages all in one place.

Numbby

“We believe that by nature all of us prefer to see information in numbers and one of our main goals is to make it easy for anyone to find data/answers quickly and avoid hours of valuable time spent on the web searching for a specific number, percentage, data or statistic,” says Mauricio Rubio, co-founder of Numbby.

Numbby currently has more than a 1000 active users.

How Does Numbby Work?

It’s easy to find data on Numbby. Users can either pick from various categories, ranging from art, business, news to health, history, technology and others. Alternatively, users can just key in information required to get all the numbers related to it.

Numbby relies on its users to help source data. Users can submit data using the ‘Post Your Numbby’ form. Users,

  • Enter the number

  • Title of the number or numbby in 80 characters

  • Write a detailed note about

  • Link to the original source

  • Choose to add images

  • Give locations

Each Numbby users add also reflect on their profile. User profiles display the number of numbbies posted, and what they are. In addition to this there is also a comments and likes section.

Target Audience

“Numbby, enables people to share knowledge and information with numbers while engaging them in a sharing network that answers all your questions with numbers,” says Mauricio.

Numbby is targeted at professionals, educators, bloggers, consultants, startups, businesses and non-profits.

What’s Works for Numbby

Tonnes of data presented with great design, which users will have no problem reading just for fun

  • Likes and comments section on users’ profile, to flag down or up when a user’s numbby is wrong

What We’d Like to See in Numbby

A system to authenticate the data being provided. While Numbby does provide for a ‘source’ column, it is up to the users discretion to discover how true the source of the data is. For stats like population, Numbby could probably have a country-wise list of official Government sources to take data from.

  • A share via widget

  • Improve search functionality. While some searches yielded information, some threw up completely unrelated information

  • Show the percentage of how true or untrue a numbby is based on user votes (also make this reflect on users’ profiles)

Numbby was started in 2013, is based out of Miami, is bootstrapped and currently looking for seed funding.

Peer to Peer Network ManyShip Wants to be the AirBnB for Posts & Parcels

If you love sending stuff to relatives living abroad, you are going to love ManyShip. If you love receiving stuff from folks back home, you’re gonna love ManyShip more.

ManyShip is a peer-to-peer social shipping platform where travelers with extra space can offer to carry packages for you and in turn make money for their service.

Travelers can go to the site and make a post detailing their trip, how much extra space they have and how much they want to be paid to carry a package for someone.

People wanting to send stuff can search for the right traveler and hit them up with a request. Travelers earn rewards, money, and make connections around the world. Senders get the job done for cheaper!Manyship

The site has an intuitive user interface and makes things easy for both travelers looking to earn some extra bucks on the side and for people wanting to send stuff abroad. Search is a tad slow but isn’t too painful.

Although I couldn’t find anyone flying out from Chennai or Delhi, I was happy to find people from Bangalore going to a couple of destinations in the US. As the service picks up, you’d be likely to find more and more people coming into India or going out of India willing to carry stuff for you.

For me, the service has many things going for it. It saves time and money. It’s also environment friendly. “By connecting the millions of people traveling each day on local, national, and international levels, we aim to create a global network of people sending goods and helping others by becoming ManyShip travelers,” says Michael Bennett, the co-founder of ManyShip.

Prasad Kopanati, the other co-founder of the company is a software developer based in the US.

The natural question that comes to mind is: What about flight safety? Who guarantees safety of goods? Well, these questions were asked of AirBnB too, when they first asked people to rent out their homes to strangers. Trust networks have a way of getting better. Moreover, since travelers make money, they have an incentive to keep their ratings up.

Paris based Jib.li is attempting something very similar.

Truecaller Looking For More Partners in India, its Fastest Growing Market: Alan Mamedi, Co-Founder [Interview]

Earlier today, Truecaller confirmed that it has raised $18.8 mn from Sequoia Capital India. The company, which has 45 million users worldwide, has over 25 million users in India and is adding 75,000 users every day in the country. “One out of four smartphone users in using Truecaller in India,”  Alan Mamedi, Co-Founder and CEO of Truecaller told NextBigWhat in an interview. The company is looking to partner with exciting services from India. Edited Excerpts.

Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam founded Truecaller in 2009
Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam founded Truecaller in 2009

How many users do you have in India?

In total, we have 45 million users and 25 million comes from India. We are adding around 75,000 users in India every day from India.

What specifically do you have in mind for the Indian market?

We opened our first office in New Delhi and recruited our first team member who is partnering with OEMs and others like Twitter India. We will continue engaging the with the community and engaging with the startup community as well.

What is your broad strategy behind these partnerships?

It depends on the kind of innovation we want to create. There are great engineers and entrepreneurs from India who create very useful services. It’s not like we say we want to go with a particular type of partners. It’s more about finding great entrepreneurs.

What would your core objective behind a partnership be?

We want to bring something useful to our community.

So we’ll see more on the lines of your recent partnership with Twitter India?

Absolutely. Last time I was in India, I was getting a lot of text messages and SMS was very unreliable. It’s a very old technology. So we wanted to create something more fun and partnered with Twitter so people can communicate with others in a more open and fun way.

How many people are you in India, expansion?

The office was started last summer. Now that we have Sequoia on board, we will continue to see that team scale. At the moment we have all team of 35 people. We have three Indian engineers in Sweden where all the engineering happens. We have more than 25 different nationalities. It helps us understand different cultures and users better. In India, we will expand our team which will consist of marketing, design and engineering (for projects & working with OEMs).

Why raise money from Sequoia India? They have a global fund as well..

India is a huge market. One out of four smartphone users in using Truecaller in India. We are market leaders in Middle East. We are big in Africa and Indonesia is very interesting. It makes a lot of sense for us to raise money from Sequoia. It works pretty straight forward for us. They have offices all over the world and together, we can continue and grow even faster in other regions in Asia. We want to focus on fast growing markets.

Key learning as a startup?

We follow what many successful companies do. That is, being very active and engaged with the community. You will make mistakes. You will make a buggy product. And you have to be very open about it. For instance, we’d like to know the Indian culture better so that when there is a big holiday in India, we can engage and celebrate together with them. Our ambassador program has also been very successful. Having a very flat structure in the company is always great.

What is your take on privacy?

We always tell our users what we do. Everything is permission based and everything is disabled by default. That’s the way we have been from day one. There are a lot of misunderstanding about how the product actually works. In fact, if you download Truecaller, we don’t collect names and numbers from your phone-book and make them publicly searchable. This is a community based service and is all permission based. We will be working more to make sure that people understand how it works.

Vibe’s Anonymous Peer Feedback Platform Tells You What Peers Really Think of You

What if you could rate a colleague’s performance at work, rate a peer on what you think of them and also get feedback from peers yourself, but all done anonymously? That’s exactly what a new social networking tool called Vibe is bringing to the table.

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The New York based startup was founded by two Columbia University undergraduate engineering students – Noah Stebbins and Niger Little-Poole. And according to them Vibe gives a concise summary of feedback from peers tracking specific traits.

“Vibe has two uses, a personal and an interpersonal use. On a personal level, users can view their vibe scores and see how others perceive them. While perception is not truth, the perception others have of you is still very important,” explains Niger Little-Poole, co-founder at Vibe.

What is Vibe?

Vibe integrates your Facebook friends list with the Vibe platform and allows users to give peer reviews, feedback and comments. Once you log in you can rate a person on fourteen traits pre-specified by Vibe.

These range from attractiveness, intelligence and honesty, to fun, approachable and ambitious. Once Vibe receives feedback from all the users, it then calculates the strength in a particular category and rates a person on 10.

vibe

“If 100 of your friends believe you to be selfcentered, there is probably some truth to that(or you need better friends!). Vibe exists not to make individuals feel insecure or bad about themselves, but rather as a tool for self improvement and empowerment,” says Niger, who is pursuing a course in Engineering Management Systems at Columbia.

Apart from this, users can also answer questions about Facebook friends, like “Who Takes More Responsibility for Their Mistakes’’, “Who is more likely to pretend to be sick to get out of work,” etc.

The platform also allows friends to rate people on sub-traits based on answers provided by friends. Apart from this, the product also gives you a ‘Global Percentile’, which gives you the score on a particular category as compared to Vibe users globally.

Vibe also has a search feature where users can take a look at the Vibe scores of their Facebook friends and colleagues.

Finally, Vibe gives users ‘points’ for each question of a friend answered by them. The more the points, the more the traits you don’t like that you can hide.

vibe

Vibe has invested close to a $1000 in developing the product and wants to be the “Yelp for People”, where “when you first meet someone, you can look up their Vibe scores for specific traits to learn more about that person.”

The startup seeks to give users structured honest feedback based on specific personality traits.

Vibe currently has over a 100 users on the platform, who have generated data on over 1,200 of their Facebook friends.

“A majority of Vibe’s users currently come from New York, while data exists on people around the world, from India to California,” says Niger.

Apart from the personal challenges that the duo faced in developing Vibe, they also had to deal with privacy issues that Vibe would cause.

“There were discussions about not allowing users to hide data at all be we quickly realized it would be unethical and unfair to allow content to be posted about people without their consent. Instead a compromise was established allowing those who have data, but aren’t active to be seen by their Facebook friends,” explains Niger

That way an individual’s Vibe scores are only shared with those they have established relationships with on Facebook, he adds.

Where Vibe can Improve

It would be great to have feedback from colleagues, employers and interviewers. Vibe looks like a pretty promising platform. Right now, it reminds me of how Facebook started way back in 2004.

Sure, it will be a thing that millennials thoroughly enjoy, because it is fun and it is taking stalking to an entirely new level. But if it wants to be more than a fad that people outgrow, it has much to do in terms of product development.

1. Not all the people on a persons 1k long friends list know them personally. How do you count their votes on traits? Shouldn’t there be some sort of filter?

vibe

2. The privacy that the platform lends a user is not very convincing. Sure, they are only allowing your Facebook friends to see the data, but again, not all of them are your friends.

3. Most of the questions are not what employers, colleagues or good friends would really spend time on and take seriously. Questions like “How many selfies does so and so take” is fun to answer, but run the danger of being just that.

Vibe plans to expand into a directory than just a question and answer service.

“The idea being that a user can pre screen another user before they engage them in real life. In the near future, the team will look to mobile to see how we can expand our concept to the mobile app market,” says Niger.

Overall, Vibe looks like a pretty interesting social networking tool that can probably be great on a site like LinkedIn where they use endorsements currently. But it definitely has a long way to go and a lot of loopholes to work on.

Screencast & Share On Your Mac Quicker Than Before With Screenmailer

screenmailerIn the past, like many others, I’ve used various screencasting tools on my Mac while making demos or tutorial videos, but was never satisfied with the tools available. Most tools lacked in some aspect or the other, and when it came to sharing most tools had major downsides. At the most they would upload to a file sharing service like Dropbox after the video was recorded, there was no compression or any other sharing features of that sorts, and the whole process was time consuming.

Screenmailer, a product from a Denmark based startup, tries to solve most of the issues I have faced in the past. It is a free screencasting or screen recording tool for OS X Mavericks users. It records videos, quickly renders them and uploads it to their servers for users to share through private links.

The tool can record up to 45 minutes in a single video and is a lot leaner and smoother to run as it is built natively for the OS X platform.

The best feature of the app is that, it starts processing and uploading your video as you’re recording. For instance 30 minute recordings will complete processing and upload in about 10 seconds after recording completes on a normal Mac with a reliable Internet connection. You can share the video with a link instantly after recording is stopped.

Screenmailer page

How Screenmailer Works

You need to be online to be able to use the tool. Once you’ve logged in, you can start a new recording session or access your previously recorded videos, play them, delete them, email the link, or copy the link.

Post recording, the video is uploaded to the Screenmailer’s servers in Germany and a backup is kept with Amazon’s storage system in Ireland.You will be given a private link for sharing your video with others.

Use Cases

Screenmailer can be used in a variety of contexts.  For example, in order to provide a customer support or guidance, for teachers to record video lessons for their students, slideshow presentations and product demos. The uses can vary according to the situation.

The tool is currently free to use, but the startup also plans to offer a monthly paid service for Pro users. The Windows version of the tool is currently under development and you can register your email with the site to be notified when it launches.

Jing, Screenr and Screencast-O-Matic are some other tools that offer screen recording features.

The app currently lacks the ability to allow users to download the video from within it, a feature which the startup is currently working on. For now you can use video download extensions in your browser to achieve the same.

A major drawback of the tool is the requirement to be connected to the Internet in order to use it, but this is the price you pay for being able to share the video link soon after recording.

How Tint Crossed $1 Million In Revenues 11 Months After Launch [UnPluggd]

tint logoTint is a social media aggregation service that curates and displays various social media content at places like Facebook pages, event display, billboards, websites, etc. The product today has more than 40,000 brands using it and over 3000 paying customers. In 11 months from launch the company made a revenue of $1 Million.

Inspite of this success the startup has had an interesting journey and Tint was not their first product.

After staring up, Tint Co-founder, Nikhil Aitharaju and his team had developed a social bookmarking tool called Hypemarks. The toll bookmarked curated pages as collections and  users could share it among their followers on social media users.

Hustling for Funding

With only 1000 users, the startup managed to raise $350,000 in angel funding by hustling their angel investors says Nikhil. They managed to convince them that their distribution strategy. the strategy involved creating automatic curated pages for celebrity and influencers tweet and emailing them directly to the celebrities and influence to be shared with their followers. The strategy worked. The team mailed investor and NBA team Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban and he tweeted about the product out to his followers, who numbered at 1 million. This strategy helped them secure their angel funding round.

Inspite of the angel funding after 2 months of launch the tool managed to only get 3000 users and was soon about to run out of money. The team were in a dilemma about what next, when a San Francisco based celebrity agency liked the technology and asked if they could use it to power websites. Their first customer was American R&B singer Toni Braxton, her official website was made dynamic using their technology. The tool aggregated all her content from social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and fed it to her website giving it a dynamic look.

This website adoption of the technology was soon to become their current product Tint. As soon as they realised the idea, the team began shifting the code base from Hypemarks to Tint. But the product was slow in traction.

At that time, website building service, Wix.com announced the launch of their app market and was on the lookout for developers for their app store. Tint caught up on this opportunity and built an app for the app market and in 2 months it ranked among the top 2 apps in the store. The product now has good traction.

Tint

The team decided to start charging their customers for their product and things were now beginning to stabilise for the team. Now they had to scale. In the process they soon realised that large corporations treat higher priced product with better respect than lower priced ones and hence decided to increase their product pricing by 10 times and it worked.

They soon started marketing their product by writing about it and also about their startup journey on their blog. This started getting then a lot of inbound leads and they began to get better traction. As a team the company also decided that the best way to make every single employee motivated is by making  all aspects of the company extremely transparent.

Transparent to a fault?

Nikhil says “All our employees know our bank balance, individual equity shares, financial projections and every other aspect of the company and this transparency helps keep them motivated.”

Today two of India’s biggest celebrities of A R Rahman and Sachin Tendulkar use Tint, adds Nikhil.

At the recently held UnPluggd Nikhil Aitharaju spoke about their startup journey and the lessons learned. Watch the video below.

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