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September 04 2012

Private Social Site Rootsy Lets You Connect With Your Family Tree

Name: Rootsy

Quick Pitch: Share photos, invites and stories with family members only.

Genius Idea: Rootsy lets you connect to family members on a private social network to share things that might be too personal to post on Facebook.

Frustrated with existing social networks and over-sharing personal family moments, a group of seven entrepreneurs at tech incubator QLabs in New York City developed a site called Rootsy.

Rootsy is a new social networking site that limits your connections to family members. So baby photos, reunion announcements and other information you might not want to share on Facebook can only be seen by select family members.

"People have their Faceboo…
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More About: Rootsy, bizspark, social network

Solvish Maps Out Local and Global Issues Waiting for Solutions


Name: Solvish

Quick Pitch: Anyone can contribute to Solvish -- a digital community board for local and global concerns.

Genius Idea: By creating follow pages on Solvish for various issues, users can acknowledge predicaments, build awareness and connect to problem solvers.

Solvish is the 21st-century community bulletin board. Users can create a "problem page" for individual local or global issues on the platform.

Once you notice a dilemma or situation in the neighborhood, you're encouraged to upload a picture and description to Solvish. On the website, users can pinpoint where the problem is located on an interactive map. The platform's users can follow and address the pr…
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More About: bizspark, startup

September 01 2012

Keep Your Style Sustainable With This Online Retailer

Name: Modavanti

Quick Pitch: Modavanti is an online retailer that promotes sustainable fashion.

Genius Idea: Interactive features like "My Closet" and in-depth designer profiles function to create a community centered around eco-fashion.

Fashion forward can mean a multitude of things depending on the context. In the case of online retailer Modavanti -- which literally translates to "fashion forward" in Italian -- the phrase refers to sustainability in style.

When it comes to fashion, tracking down pieces that are both ethically sound and trendy can be a difficult feat. Modavanti allows shoppers to purchase apparel that fits their values without compromising on style. The…
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More About: bizspark, eco, fashion, startup

August 30 2012

Schedule Your Nonprofit’s Volunteers with VolunteerSpot

Name: VolunteerSpot

Quick Pitch: Free virtual sign-up sheets and event organizing tools for volunteers.

Genius Idea: The marquee service of this site -- free virtual sign-up sheets and volunteer tracking tools -- help event organizers put all details in one place and avoid the dreaded "reply all" emails.

Getting bogged down with "reply all" emails? Or how about the numerous calendars and event reminders you have through your email, smartphone and Facebook?

Mom Karen Bantuveris was trying to balance her job, PTA meetings and Girl Scouts, but the communication between volunteers was cluttered.

"I saw many people drop out of volunteering, not because they didn’t want to…
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More About: bizspark, volunteer

Goalee Courts Professionals Like Online Dating For the Business World

Name: Goalee

Quick Pitch: Find other professionals with whom you share more than a similar field.

Genius Idea: Connect professionals and students from similar fields to each other.

Think about your experience dating online. Now think of your experience job-hunting online -- where they overlap is what Goalee has created. The new network allows employers and prospective employees to court each other in a similar way one would on a dating site.

Co-Founders, James Brown and Chris Sturgill, created Goalee when they noticed graduates turning to alumni rather than strangers in similar fields. LinkedIn may put you in touch with a vast group of professionals, but it lacks the intimac…
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More About: bizspark, goalee, job hunting, linkedin, networking

August 24 2012

This Wish List Site Makes It Easier to Get What You Want

Name: Wantworthy

Quick Pitch: Wantworthy allows you to create a clean and organized wish list for everything you're eyeing online.

Genius Idea: Drag the "Want" button onto your bookmarks bar and click it whenever you stumble upon something you need.

Anyone who shops online knows that bookmarks are a consumer's best friend. Unfortunately, no matter what your self-invented organizational system may be, regular bookmarking results in clutter, numerous folders and forgotten treasures.

Wantworthy helps you to remember what you want so you can actually buy it. The site is decidedly tidy, making adding to and re-visting your wish list enjoyable and fun—which is exactly how shop…
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More About: bizspark, online shopping, startup, wish list

Ptch Captures Your Life in Video the Way Instagram Captures it in Photos

Name: Ptch

Quick Pitch: Ptch is a way to share the stories of your life through video.

Genius Idea: The free mobile app mixes photos and videos of your favorite moments into a short video with music and styles.

A sponsored company of DreamWorks Animation, Ptch is an app for iPhones and iPads that lets users combine photos and video clips into a one-minute or less “Ptch” that can be shared instantly. Users can add styles and music to a Ptch, and friends can “reptch” or edit videos by adding their own media.

Launched in July, Ptch takes the concept of Instagram to another level by letting users mash their media together with tone and expression. The app is designed to…
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More About: apps, bizspark

Clothing Rental Startup Aims to be ‘Netflix for Fashion’

Name: Le Tote

Quick Pitch: Head-to-toe outfits delivered to your door for a monthly fee.

Genius Idea: Exchange your outfit for another at any time.

The average American buys 64 pieces of clothing per year. Driving that impressively high number are "fast fashion" retail chains like Forever21 and H&M, which produce trendy clothing meant to be worn a handful of times and then disposed of.

At the rate at which many young women are going through clothing, one begins to wonder: Why buy?

Le Tote, a San Francisco-based startup founded (and self-funded) by Ridgecrest Capital's

More About: bizspark, fashion, le tote, retail

August 14 2012

MotherKnows Creates iPhone-Accessible Health Records For Your Children


Name: MotherKnows

Quick Pitch: Digitize your child's health records and access them whenever medical forms are needed.

Genius Idea: MotherKnows does all the work, compiling accurate graphs of immunizations, growth charts, medication, allergies and future appointments. Simply sign a consent form and the startup will gather original health documents from your child's doctors.

In addition to a primary physician, children start seeing specialists for various procedures and urgent care providers for emergency care at a young age. Typically that entails a lot of paperwork.

By adulthood, average American patients sees about 18.7 different doctors. Think about how many times yo…
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More About: bizspark, health, medical records, parenting

August 11 2012

Get Back in Kitchen With This Specialized Recipe Site

Mor.sl uses your tastes, preferences and skill-level and recommends curated recipes from around the web.

More About: bizspark, cooking, startup

Receipt-Scanning App Tracks Price Drops So You Don’t Have To

Add this to your list of shopping companions: Eyeona, an app for iPhone and Android smartphones, lets you scan your receipts and sends you an email if the price drops on anything you've purchased.

More About: Android App, bizspark, eyeona, iphone app, retail, shopping

August 10 2012

iPad Wait List App Will Text You When Your Table Is Ready

Name: NoWait

Quick Pitch: Restaurant wait list that replaces pagers and eliminates lines.

Genius Idea: iPad app lets the restaurant notify their guests when their table is ready -- via text message.

Restaurant wait lists can be unorganized and frustrating – guests are often waiting for their pager to buzz or name to be shouted long after their expected wait time.

Instead of shouting names or tracking wait lists on paper, NoWait lets restaurants send a text message to their guests when their table is ready.

The innovative app eliminates pagers and lines, and allows guests to wait where they want until their table is ready.

“In today’s information age, everyone…
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More About: bizspark, restaurants

August 09 2012

Travel Startup Mozio Aims to Solves the ‘Final Mile Problem’

Name: Mozio

Quick Pitch: Mozio is a budding travel site that handles all your ground transportation needs.

Genius Idea: Find all modes of ground transportation from your airport to your end destination on one site.

World traveler David Litwak has been to 65 countries, and has lived in Paris and Estonia. And while there are plenty of travel sites on the web, "there's really no true travel search engines out there, only flight search engines," he says.

From that realization, travel site Mozio was born.

Litwak and his UC Berkeley fraternity brother Joseph Metzinizer began creating Mozio in July 2011. In the long run, their "grand vision" for Mozio is to build a compreh…
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More About: Startups, bizspark, travel

August 07 2012

Wisemarkit Lets Aspiring Entrepreneurs Launch Virtual Boutiques

Wisemarkit is an online shopping platform that rewards its members for curating successful online boutiques. If your recommendations drive sales on third-party websites, you'll earn a cut of the revenue.

More About: bizspark, online shopping, wisemarkit

August 04 2012

Is This App the Next Siri — or the New Big Brother?

Name: Saga

Quick Pitch: Saga observes your real-world activity through the eyes of your mobile phone.

Genius Idea: After Saga has become familiar with your patterns of activity, it starts making personal recommendations.

We all have our daily routines -- bus route, favorite coffee shop, the corner deli. Once habits are formed, they are difficult to break, even if there are better options out there.

With Saga, a new app from Seattle startup A.R.O., users are given a chance to try new things based on their past choices.

Saga keeps track of where you are, how you got there and who you're with -- all without you having to check in. The app uses senors already embedded in y…
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More About: apps, bizspark, startup

August 03 2012

Meet The One Your Friends Forgot to Introduce You to with Circl.es

Name: Circl.es

Quick Pitch: Date people your friends haven't introduced you to -- yet.

Genius Idea: Help people find romance by connecting them to their friends' friends.

The world of dating has changed a lot in the past few years. It's been just over a decade since online dating hit the mainstream, and only the past five years for it to become part of our collective online culture. However, the idea of meeting a stranger in person for the first time still leaves a lot of people feeling uneasy.

Justin Krause, the creator of Circl.es found the solution -- friends of your friends. Many people manage this without the help of the Internet, but for those who have difficulty meeti…
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More About: bizspark, circl.es, online dating

August 02 2012

Compare Local Service Prices With Centzy

Name: Centzy

Quick Pitch: Centzy is an online platform that provides rates for local services.

Genius Idea: By showing specific price-points alongside reviews, Centzy saves you the trouble of calling around to find the best rate.

Choosing a hair salon or dry cleaning service based on quality is easy -- with the amount of user reviews available online, you never have to chance a bad visit to a new business. Finding actual rates online, however, proves a bit more challenging. After all, "$" and "$$" aren’t very specific.

That’s where Centzy comes in. The new price comparison site allows you to see prices for local services alongside reviews from Yelp, Citysearch and mo…
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More About: bizspark, startup

July 26 2012

With Wajam Great Minds Shop Alike

Name: Wajam Social Shopping

Quick Pitch: Wajam Social Shopping is a new comparative shopping feature that allows you to gain valuable insight from your friends while you shop.

Genius Idea: Enjoy product pricing and alternative shopping destinations, and see what your friends have said about a given product before you purchase it.

Whether you partake during your lunch break or late at night in the comfort of your own home, online shopping is generally a solo activity. But does that mean you have to forgo the valuable opinions of those closest to you?

Wajam doesn’t think so.

The social search engine that brings your results from your friends straight to your search launche…
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More About: bizspark, social shopping

May 10 2012

Find Deals, Buy Food, Store Receipts with PayDragon App

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: PayDragon

Quick Pitch: An all-in-one food finding and mobile payment app.

Genius Idea: Use PayDragon to find restaurants, local deals, pay for meals and store receipts.

Imagine this: When in a long lunch line at a local eatery, simply grab your smartphone to pay for your meal. A new app called PayDragon lets you pay for food with a few taps.

PayDragon is like a bunch of cool food-finding and paying apps rolled into one. Use the app to find local restaurants near your location. Check out which spots are offering deals, like “free fries” or “drink with purchase.” Use the app to pay for the meal and store a digital receipt.

To use PayDragon, download the free app then set-up you payment information. Users can scan QR codes created by restaurants to order and pay for the item on their smartphone. If you want to bypass the whole QR code thing, restaurants will be able to create menus for the app which users can select entrees from and pay for them through the app. The bill is paid with one click.

Where does the dragon name come in? The company’s logo is “Swoop in. Swoop out.” And this app could make transactions quick. The video on the app’s website shows people purchasing items from a food truck. Users of the app can place and pay for orders with PayDragon when they’re blocks away. Shop owners can process orders quicker and move through more customers.

The only drawback is currently PayDragon only works with participating merchants (20, at the moment) in select cities. Currently, those locations are Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, but details on the app’s App Store page say it’s expanding to new cities soon. New York City will be added this Friday.

PayDragon was created by Paperlinks, a Y Combinator startup that is the main platform for creating QR codes. The app made its debut at SXSW earlier this year. CEO and founder Hamilton Chan leads a team of five employees at PayDragon, based in Los Angeles.

The app is available on both iOS and Android devices. It has a 4+ rating in the App Store and a 2.1 rating in the Android store.

What do you think about PayDragon? Would you use it? Tell us in the comments.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: apps, bizspark, deals

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