startups to watch

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Just awesome.




Barkbox is an interesting startup. You pay a monthly fee and they send you dog treats. Plans start around $25/mth which does seem a lot to me... but i am not a dog owner, so i am not sure if this is the budget dog owners spend for their companions.

The great busines model behind this is the recuring payments, people are not reminded they have to pay, and they can cancel at anytime.

Watch this startup, the concept has a lot of potential, in a very large market, a very sustainable market.


Gumroad - Selling should be as easy as sharing a link.

We want to democratize the ability to sell stuff online. You're a creative person; you create a lot of content. But most of it sits, archived, on some computer somewhere for the rest of time.

It's either too hard, or too time-consuming, or it doesn't even make sense to put in a store! We let you easily sell the stuff you haven't been able to, yet.

It turns out, that includes a lot of stuff:

  • Beta previews of a video game you are developing.
  • Some music that you never released. Your fans would love this.
  • Unused illustrations you spent hours and hours working on.
  • The source code of a killer app you developed.

Very smart idea.

Sahil Lavingia the creator of the service is a pretty smart dude, part of the founding team of Pinterest, and built turntable for iPhone...


Teach someone to code with Codecademy

Awesome ideas! The team of 6 guys could not possibly handle creating courses in every language possible... so they turned their tool to create courses into a feature anybody can access to create their own course. CLEVER.

Codecademy, the white-hot startup that teaches even total novices how to code, has launched a new tool: Creators, which lets anyone create a course on Codecademy and teach technology to an audience of over a million budding developers. “We’re going from being a content company (creating courses) to becoming a platform for others to create courses,” said Codecademy co-founder Zach Sims in an email to VentureBeat. “This is probably the biggest announcement we’ve made yet.” Codecademy started out offering just JavaScript tutorials. The Creators user-generated courses will also include courses in Ruby and Python. Course creators will also be able to use the Creators site as a reputation-building tool, and Codecademy will be screening course creators’ credentials to keep the riffraff out.


Chomp - apps search engine

The best way to find apps in iTunes and the Android Marketplace, through a unique combination of app search and personalized recommendations. Search for iPhone and Android apps and see the best app search results, on sale apps and new apps.

Chomp's proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps, so you can search based on what apps do, not just what they’re called. Try searching for “puzzle games”, “kids games”, “expense trackers”, “tip calculators” or “chat” and start finding great apps.

Founded by ex-Googlers with Kevin Rose and Ashton Kutcher as advisors.

damienarlabosse Dash - discover what you need to blog about

It's no secret that blogging is a game of page views. Without good analytics, blogging is all about watching, intuition and guesswork. After you've done some of that, you write some spaghetti posts, throw them at the wall and see what sticks. Dash gives publishers the motherlode of data about page views and how to get them. It shows them the past and the present of their site, and its ability to measure Web-wide trends offers a glimpse of the future. has been impressive from the start. Google should eat them up and offer this for free, disrupt the blogging world by allowing anyone, and not only large companies with budgets who can afford this service (starts at $499/mth), access this information and put everybody in fair competition.

A tool like Dash gives a site a huge advantage in the short term. While some sites putter along without this kind of detailed feedback, the ones who have it could dominate. The ability to see exactly which topics and events need covering, and exactly how to cover them for a particular audience, is a sort of online omniscience.


StyleSeat Is OpenTable for Beauty Appointments

StyleSeat makes it easy to find and book beauty salon appointments online.

This is a mart model. It tooks years for OpenTable to be profitable. I was actually in the start restaurant business back in 2000(?) when opentable started to spread around, and i saw them taking 10 yrs to get to the point they are at (IPO 2 yrs ago i believe?).

This is a good model, and with a groupon like feature, this could really take off. And there is no POS system for businesses to adopt, everything happens online.


Start up making an open source espresso machine

Making good home espresso is possible, but the machines tend to cost a small fortune. ZPM Espresso, a startup in Atlanta, is hoping to change that with its open-source espresso machine. If the company succeeds, it could have a nice market for itself, as the espresso and specialty coffee market have been growing quickly around the world. (Can you tell based on how many Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee places there are?). The founders like drinking espresso and they took apart a bunch of old machines to see how it’s done. They figured out how to make a machine for less money, but including important features such as PID controls, custom temperature, pressure profiles, and open source hardware and software using Arduino, a kind of microcontroller. The microcontroller governs the behavior of the thermoblock and the pump, rather than relying upon mechanical controls. That allows the data to be analyzed, saved, and shared.

To make good espresso, it helps to have the ability to control temperature and pressure precisely. Typical machines that can do that can cost more than $700, but ZPM is aiming at a target price of $300 to $400. One of the secrets is a custom-designed thermoblock that ZPM is creating itself.

Simply awesome.


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