Tag Archives: start up


Sqwiggle: Remote Working Made Awesome


Sqwiggle is remote working, made awesome. The web and desktop app provides a playground for video collaboration and a stream to share assets, code, or general discussion in real-time. The “always on” video workroom gives remote teams the ability to communicate at any without the crazy background noise and high bandwidth usage of classic video conferencing apps. When you want to speak with someone, just click and start talking – it’s as simple as tapping a colleague on the shoulder and saying ‘hey’.

Starting a startup can mean working with team members in their own remote settings making it feel disconnected. Sqwiggle provides that access to water cooler discussions with productivity in mind where people can work through a virtual office space yet still communicate all day long. Sqwiggle is free to try for 14 days and after that the better collaboration tool runs at $9 per user, per month.


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Meet like-minded people who are also new in town

Built by a team of three passionate people, who recently moved to London. Being newcomers to a big international city, they found that connecting with strangers and discovering the city on ones’ own can be challenging. That is why they believe that it should be shared with like-minded people.


Pokke is their solution to solve that problem and help users with their journey in the cites they moved in recently. The Pokke team tells us: “What makes our application different are the matching algorithms and filters we use to showcase only relevant results – like mutual interests, nationality and music taste. We also enforce people to meet in real life, visit an event and generally spend less time online.”

pokke meet people new in town

pokke interface

Currently in beta, the application, as we mentioned yesterday, builds on our need to meet new people and discovery. Connecting with people whom have shared interests helps ensure that those you meet offline will bring an experience that can be adventuresome, laid back or a non-stop party (all determined by your personality). Request an invite for when the startup launches on their teaser page.

via NSU

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SnapDish app makes your food prettier

SnapDish’s ability to make food photos look better is a feature that its competitors don’t have, but does that make it worth having another food app on your device?

There’s been a bit of buzz on Twitter today about the SnapDish app, a food photo-sharing app, so I thought I’d check it out. According to The Next Web, the Japanese app recently moved into new markets by adding seven new languages and adding an app for the Kindle Fire.
It looks like SnapDish is a direct competitor to Foodspotting, but it also does some of the same things that FourSquare and Evernote Food do.
The first thing I wondered was, “Do I need yet another food photo sharing method?” No, I don’t. I used Foodspotting for a while, but it got old quickly for me. It also got old for my dining companions, many of whom don’t care about cherishing the memory of every single meal by looking at photographs of it for years to come.
I’ve been using FourSquare a lot recently for quick food photos and to learn how it works simply for business purposes. It gets the job done if I want to take a photo of a specific dish and add a few notes, then share it with others.
So, if SnapDish was going to be a keeper, it would have to function for me in some way that meets my specific needs at the time. Here’s how SnapDish works:
The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices. I downloaded it to both my iPhone and my Kindle Fire. After creating a free account, I started to play around on my Kindle Fire. Every time I tried to take a photo of food, the app would crash. It’s useless on my Kindle.
I had more luck on my iPhone. I was able to take photos and import photos from my iPhone library of previous dishes I’d taken at restaurants. Here’s where I found one feature that none of the competing apps has. Before hitting done and uploading the photo I’d taken or uploaded from my library, I could use the blur feature to make items in the background blury and have the app automatically make the photo look sharper using the “rare, medium or well-done” feature.
Take a look at the following three photos.
This is a photo I took at a Philadelphia tapas bar a couple of weeks ago of some incredibly delicious bacon and date empanadas. It’s blah, like most food photos taken in restaurants with an iPhone.
This is the same photo when after I clicked on the “medium” button in SnapDish, and it was automatically altered a bit. The colors are brighter and the food really does look more delicious, which is what the app says it will do for your food.
This is the photo after the original had been imported into iPhoto on my computer, and I used the automatic “enhance” feature. I tried it just to see how well it worked, and I don’t think the enhancement is as much as the SnapDish improvements.
If you take quick photos of the food you eat with your phone and you want to share them with a social network AND you want those photos to look as good as possible, SnapDish seems like it’s the best app for that. It doesn’t, however, give you the ability to crop photos.
Other than the “rare, medium, well-done” feature, SnapDish seems to have one other feature not common on other apps. You can put in recipes of the food in your photos, but the app advises you not to share someone else’s recipes, only your own. So if you make a recipe you found on someone else’s website, you can post of a photo of it, but not a copy the recipe.
With SnapDish you can connect with others who use the app, make comments about their photos and share them, and, as the SnapDish website says, “record your dishes as a life log with elegance and style.” Other apps allow you to do the same.
I don’t think I’ll be leaving the SnapDish app on my iPhone and using it regularly, but I can see why some people who are interested in recording every dish they eat might want to. I do think that I’ll be re-installing it from time to time simply to use the photo-fixing feature that’s one of the better free ones I’ve seen.
Full Article @ MNN

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Tech Spotlight: Neighborhood data with Sitegeist

Sitegeist is new iPhone and Android app that helps you learn about your surroundings with visually uplifting and stunning graphs and details. Drawing in localized information from the U.S. Census, Yelp, Foursquare, and weather information the app helps you learn about your neighborhood in regard to average age, climate or average income in certain areas.

Developed by the Sunlight Foundation, the app is categorized into People, History, Housing, Fun and Weather, but they are working on more, much more. They plan on adding data to the app regularly, giving users the chance to learn more and more everyday about their surroundings.

sitegeist weather and average age

From age distribution to recommended restaurants, the app is a clever production to help us understand what is possible with free APIs and great design, which was done in consultation with IDEO.

sitegeist foursquare and income average

You can get the app for free at the App Store and Google Play. The app only provides information to for the U.S. but hopefully that changes as more government APIs are utilized by Sitegeist.

Full Article @ NSU

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BROpener Turns Anything Into a Bottle Opener

If you prefer a real bottle opener to say, less conventional methods, then check out this BROpener. The device is made from aircraft grade aluminium and can be attached to the side of a counter (or almost anything else) via a super strong adhesive. When the top is popped, the cap will stick to the BROpener’s magnetic face rather than falling to the floor, where it would be forgotten until your foot finds it on some dark, foreboding night.

Funding for the project is currently being collected on Kickstarter. If successful, it will be released some time in March. Hit the jump to check out a promo vid.

(Kickstarter via OG)

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New music streaming service hacks your brain to make you a better employee

A new startup, focus@will, claims to have found the secret to music actually making you productive instead of distracting you.

Music is one of the great work day companions. Whether doing homework, blogging, or staring at a spreadsheet all day, we listen to music to fill that otherwise sonically-vacant space with something pleasing enough to inspire us to get some work done. One problem: It doesn’t actually make us any more productive. A new startup, focus@will, is trying to change that by introducing a streaming music service that encourages productivity instead of active listening.

Focus@will was designed with getting work done in mind, the culmination of two years of research and music curation that encourages concentration in lieu of distraction. According to CEO Will Henshall, the effect is creating a system for music not to be listened to.

“The idea of commercial music is that you listen to it,” Henshall said. “[But] this is not music for entertainment. This is something new. We’re creating a music service that specifically helps focus.”

To accomplish this, focus@will conducted studies on their patrons — work Henshall jokingly describes as, “sticking brain machines on people and seeing what happens.” What they found was that music interacts with the limbic system, the evolutionary center of the brain that controls the flight-or-fight response. In this case, the limbic system interrupts the concentration flow state in a typical productivity cycle.

The researchers found that instrument music — mainly jazz and classical music for the time  being — are particularly effective at quieting the flight-or-fight response. However, the team also discovered that instruments like the tenor saxophone and viola create similar interrupt responses in the brain because they resemble the human voice’s unique timbre. Complicating matters, instrumental music the subject already knows triggers a memory response that was also disruptive.

To counteract this, focus@will curate their own exclusive library of focus-friendly music while also commissioning and remixing the work of commercial artists to help build their system. Songs are then analyzed in their specially-designed cloud audio engine, which weighs the key, intensity, and emotional value of each track, arranging them in a way that’s both unfamiliar to the listener’s ear and soothes the limbic system so as to prevent an interruptive signal.

Henshall, a former member of British-based R&B group Londonbeat (unfamiliar? You must click here then), believes that the service, which is currently in private beta, will complement current music platforms.

Full Article @ DT

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Get to know a Toronto startup: The Mantry

As a man, you have a slew of manly choices when it comes to marinating your chicken, but few turn to the Congolese Hot Sauce banned in 3 continents to make an impression. Reggie Milligan and Kyle Zien are helping us change that. It's called The Mantry, a clever naming spin on the modern man's pantry. Every month, the guys at The Mantry scour the planet to uncover guy-specific food and beverage greatness that is delivered directly to your door. Sounds awesome? That's because it is.

With a strong background in the culinary arts, Reggie and Kyle believe that guys deserve better when it comes to getting advice in the kitchen. In a recent poll of modern men, it was proven that Rachel Ray's cooking advice isn't exactly resonating with the average guy (yes, they made that up).

Even though they were swamped filling orders, I managed to carve out some time in their calendar to learn a bit more about how their life has changed since they launched The Mantry.

Before we jump into the Mantry, tell me a bit about your backgrounds?

Reggie received a $40,000 scholarship to culinary school and burnt out at The French Laundry before he was 19. He was lucky enough to work under Thomas Keller in 2004 as The French Laundry was voted the World's Best Restaurant. Kyle also spent the last few years in the restaurant/beverage industry traveling throughout North America.

We both have spent enough time being passionate about food to recognize that guys deserve better when it comes to getting good products and no BS advice on how to use them.

Talk to me about The Mantry. Where did the idea come from?

We went back to a buddy's place for a little after party and as usual, everyone was hungry. We scoured his fridge and cupboards and found nothing but a container of Hellmann's mayo and a bottle of French's mustard. We realized that guys are busy, and even if they love food and want cool products, they just don't always have the time to make it happen.

Our belief is that a big chunk of guys are being misrepresented as hopeless in the kitchen, when realistically, the modern guy is completely competent when given the right tools and relevant advice. A pantry is like your closet for food. If you have a couple decent items you can always throw something respectable together. If it's empty, you're most likely not going have that lady back for a second date.

What comes in a typical Mantry box?

It's Christmas once a month for our subscribers. Except instead of Mandarin Oranges and Razors, guys get Reindeer Jerky and an award winning sauce from a hipster who spent three days making it in Brooklyn.

What is the furthest place you have shipped to?

What sounds trendy? Osaka? Lisbon? Buenos Aires? No, we'll go with Buenos Aires.

I'd go with Osaka, but that's just me. On that topic, who is the typical Mantry subscriber? Is the subscription usually purchased as a gift (by loving women) or are men actually checking out the service?

We originally aimed to hook guys up with interesting products that they could share with their bro's or use to impress a lady. Soon after, emails started piling up from girls admitting they actually peek in dudes cupboards and automatically pass judgment. We have women subscribers who are buying for their guys as gifts all the way to women who are just fully buying for themselves. Even though the majority of subscribers are men, we're psyched to see the ladies getting involved as well.

Order subscription services seem to be getting some media attention (Dollar Shave Club's awesome viral video and Manpacks), what sets you guys apart?

Whether it's razors, socks or underwear, it all just comes down to convenience. Our main difference is that with food, it's tough to find products from the world's most talented artisans and producers at your local supermarket. We take care of the discovery for you.

Are there any big plans for the Mantry in the near future?

Scrap, claw and hustle to stay alive so one day we can shamelessly spin this thing into a Food Travel Show. I heard Bourdain just jumped ship for CNN and we're game for his old Travel Channel gig. It would be tough going to work every morning knowing that your job would be traveling the planet boozing and schmoozing with everyone from elite chefs down to the 80 year old woman who makes the best bowl of Pho in Hanoi.

We have also been thinking about having celebrities start curating boxes with their favorite items. We're looking at you Zach Galifianakis, seriously, what the hell is in your pantry?


Full Article @ TO

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Answers to your questions in Blurtopia

Blurtopia is a decision helping app that isn’t a new concept to the app store, but is the most user friendly version with well designed components to date. The mobile social network helps answer life’s little questions. Users simply choose a Blurt type (This/That, Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, or Rate 1-5), add a photo and decide whether they want to ask the whole Blurtopia community or just friends. Feedback on Blurts is immediate, results are aggregated through a user-friendly interface, and a chat system enables conversations to emerge around the “Blurts”.


blurtopia design

blurtopia ux

Founded by Ryan Bettencourt, Keiran Flanigan, Grant Bostrom from San Diego, the team built the app after noticing the lack of a useful decision helping app. By sending out “Blurts” users can get feedback instantly, so when you’re deciding what shoes to wear or what to cook for Thanksgiving, blurt out the question and let others help you decide. Get Blurtopia in the App Store.



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Create Your Own Seasoning Blend with Spestle

When I read Spestle’s pitch for Startup Alley I thought it was either a prank or a goofy placeholder for a stealth startup: “Spestle lets you create custom seasoning & herb blends.”

But Spestle is real and serious. It’s a service that enables you to create a custom seasoning blend, complete with your own packaging, and sell it online. When someone buys your spice mix, Spestle will make the blends to order, handle fulfillment, and cut the creators a check — just like a print-on-demand service.

Here’s how it works: Once you’ve figured out your blend, you login to Spestle and use the virtual cutting board (shown above) to input your recipe. Then you upload your artwork and voila — you’re in the pork rub business.

Is that really a business model? Perhaps not, but co-founder Steven Waskey says there’s another angle: wholesale.

“What if you’re a restaurant owner and you want to share your secret recipe with your employees?” he asks. You could have Spestle manufacture custom blends to send out to your store managers with them none the wiser as to what’s in it. You still have to share your secret with Spestle, though.

That sounds like an edge case to me. What seems more likely is that a chef would come up with a blend that they’d like to sell, but don’t want to spend their time, or their employees’ time, measuring out spices.

via TechCrunch

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15 Year Old Creates Candy Line Using 100% Natural Ingredients

Unreal, a new line of candy made from only natural ingredients, will debut soon in CVS, Target, Kroger, BJ’s Wholesale, and other stores. It is the brainchild of 15-year-old Nicky Bronner who decided to “unjunk” snacks after his parents took away half of his Halloween candy because they said it was bad for him.

Unreal candy features five alternatives to some of America’s best-selling candies, with candy coated chocolates, candy coated chocolates with peanuts, peanut butter cups, a chocolate caramel nougat bar, and a chocolate peanut caramel nougat bar. Each is made with real ingredients, less sugar and without hydrogenated oil, corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. They contain 45% less sugar, 13% less fat, 23% fewer calories, 149% more protein and 250% more fiber than industry leading brands, on average per unit.

Full Article @  PSFK:

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