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February 09 2012

Comment and Highlight on Websites with commentto


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: commentto

Quick Pitch: Comment anywhere.

Genius Idea: Commentto is a browser add-on service that allows users to highlight, bookmark, comment, save and share bookmarks and excerpts on websites.



Do you ever want to add extra knowledge to a news story or other content on the web? Well, browser add-on commentto lets you comment on anything you want.

Commentto allows users to highlight paragraphs on websites and add additional notes or comments. Users can also save information from a webpage to a personal commentto account folder. In the commentto popup, users can edit the title of the clip, add comments, and place the excerpt into a folder. Commentto does not track website history, but keeps a digital record of the websites and excerpts saved.

This add-on feature is especially helpful for those doing research and want to return to a webpage at a later date. Students could benefit from sharing notes, too. It can also be a useful tool for programmers, or anyone really.

“I code everyday, and many times I search online for solutions to problems I have with my code,” said Kandarp Dave, the founder of commentto. “When I find a solution, all I do is select, and save the information to commentto.”

Dave started working on commentto in 2009 while he was studying computer science at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He earned a master’s in computer science in December 2011 and now his complete focus has turned to his startup. Commentto relaunched last month with a shinier exterior. Dave said he listened to feedback from its 185 users to make the site better, faster and easier to use.

He has built commentto solely with his own funds. The add-on has not been profitable, but Dave hopes to accept advertising in the future.

“I started commentto, because I was really bothered that I always had to comment at the end of, say, a news article,” he said. “That’s not really a conversation. If we want to bring real-world conversations online, we have to provide users a way to comment anywhere.”

Mostly Dave’s friends and social network are the ones using the site. He hopes more will try it out. To start using commentto, sign up for the add-on’s free service and then download the browser extension on Firefox or Chrome. From there, a user can comment on anything on the web and save content to folders. Watch Dave’s video to see the browser add-on in action.

“Once you start using it you will really love it,” Dave said. “It is very easy to use.”

The positive side to this add-on is knowledge could be more widely shared. The down side — comments could clutter the web or be completely inaccurate. Although, only those who have the commentto add-on can see comments.

Will you use commentto? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.


Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark


Microsoft BizSparkThe 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: add-ons, bizspark, commenting, Commentto, firefox add-on, spark of genius series, spark-of-genius

For more Business coverage:


December 17 2011

Cloth App Organizes Your Wardrobe on Your iPhone


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: Cloth

Quick Pitch: Create an easily accessible catalog of your favorite outfits.

Genius Idea: In the App Store, there are more than a few solutions for snapping, saving and sharing your outfits with others. None, however, offers as clean a user experience as Cloth [iTunes link], nor (in most cases) as many privacy options.

Unlike Fashism, Pose or Go Try It On, Cloth has no built-in social network and no registration is required. By default, any photos you take of your clothing are saved in the app alone — ideal for those of us who want to remember and organize our outfits, but don’t always (or ever) want to broadcast them to the world.

Still, those who would like to share your ensembles can: The app lets you cross-post your images to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. You can also send your photos to ClothApp.com to be featured on the site.

Images can be allotted to one of several categories (such as work or evening) and tagged (I tag my outfits by season, color and designer), although there’s currently no way to browse looks by tag. You can also leave notes and save images to your device’s photo album.

Photograph enough outfits, and you’ll have an easily accessible thumbnail catalog of your entire wardrobe. You can also go back and edit your uploads at any time.

Cloth was developed by Maxim senior editor Seth Porges and his girlfriend, fashion designer Wray Serna. As the story goes, Porges recognized a need for the app after watching Serna use her iPhone to take photos of outfits she was packing for a trip.

Cloth costs $1.99 in the App Store, a price Porges hopes people will be willing to pay because the app doesn’t require them to fork over their personal details or view ads. “We’ve seen a huge trend towards free, ad-supported business models online, and I think people are so burnt out on always having to sell their souls to use anything,” he observed in an email to Mashable. “[I think] there may be a movement towards people willing to pay a few bucks for a no-strings-attached utility such as this.”


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: bizspark, cloth, fashion, iphone app, mashable, spark-of-genius


December 03 2011

JolieBox Brings Beauty Samples by Subscription Service to Europe


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: JolieBox

Quick Pitch: Get four to six sample-sized cosmetics products delivered to your door each month.

Genius Idea: JolieBox, which shamelessly pitches itself as the “French equivalent of Birchbox,” is quickly advancing into additional European markets. On Friday, the startup acquired Boudoir Privé — the ‘UK equivalent of Birchbox,’ if you will. Boudoir Privé’s existing team will become JolieBox UK.

Like Birchbox, JolieBox delivers a “Beauty Box” containing cosmetics products from high-end manufacturers for €13 ($17.42) per month. (Birchbox’s costs $10 per month for four to five samples.) Samples range from moisturizers and fragrances to hair conditioner and makeup. Lancôme, Laura Mercier and L’Occitane are among the more than 30 brands which have participated in the service.

Unlike BirchBox, Joliebox does not allow users to purchase full-sized versions of the products they ship out on their site — a missed revenue opportunity, in our opinion. The company does however provide information about where subscribers can purchase full-sized products.

The less than one-year-old startup has approximately 10,000 subscribers, and raised €1 million in funding from Alven Capital in October. No additional expansion plans have been announced to date.


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: beauty, Birchbox, bizspark, joliebox, spark-of-genius

For more Business coverage:


November 26 2011

Ex-Googlers Launch iPhone App for Tapping Into Friends’ Reviews


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: Stamped

Quick Pitch: An iPhone app that lets you find and share recommendations with people you trust.

Genius Idea: Although review sites can be handy while trying to secure a last-minute hotel reservation or — deep breath — finding a hair salon in a new neighborhood, nothing evokes more confidence than taking the recommendation of a friend whose tastes you know and trust. But there doesn’t yet exist a convenient platform or library for sharing and storing recommendations with your friends.

Enter Stamped, a Google Ventures-backed iPhone app launched by a team of (mostly) former Google employees this week. The app, which is coming soon to other smartphone platforms as well as the desktop, lets you keep track of and share the things you like. You can also tap into the recommendations of your contacts and well-known tastemakers, such as chef Mario Batali (an advisor to the startup) and New York magazine.

It works like this: After downloading the app, you’re given 100 stamps, which you can use to recommend restaurants, books, movies and albums, among other things. You can also see what your friends are recommending by authorizing the app to pull in your contacts from your phone, Facebook and Twitter. If someone likes your recommendation, he or she can give it an additional stamp, and you’ll earn two more stamps to give out. Recommendations can also be liked and saved to a do-list.

Pulling up your friends’ recommendations is easy. You can browse by category (such as books) or location (including nearby), the latter of which is displayed conveniently on Google Maps. You can also search for terms like “sushi” or “iPhone app” to hone in further.





Get recommendations from tastemakers such as chef Mario Batali, film critic Peter Travers and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff.

Click here to view this gallery.

“People are very prone to sharing and exchanging, there just wasn’t an efficient way to do it,” says cofounder Bart Stein of his team’s desire to create the app.

Like many a startup entrepreneur, CEO and cofounder Robby Stein (who, according to Stamped’s about page, is not Bart’s brother) says he and his team are “100% focused on building a product that delights our users.” They have, however, also recognized immediate opportunities for revenue. When you see a recommendation for a restaurant for instance, you can click through to book a reservation on OpenTable. Likewise, you can purchase movie tickets through Fandango, books through Amazon and songs through iTunes. Stamped has an affiliate relationship with each provider.

So there you have it: a truly useful, beautifully designed app — with a plausible business model — from a talented, well-backed set of young entrepreneurs. This is hands-down one of the most promising startups I’ve seen all year.


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: bain capital, bizspark, Google Ventures, iphone app, spark-of-genius, stamped

For more Business coverage:


November 12 2011

Create Your Own Online Clothing Boutique, Earn 10% of Sales


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: StyleOwner

Quick Pitch: Create your own online boutique and get a 10% cut of sales.

Genius Idea: You’re stylish and influential. You have Klout. You’ve probably helped sell a clothing item or two through a recommendation you made over Facebook, Twitter or on your blog. Shouldn’t you be getting a cut of those sales?

That’s the premise behind StyleOwner, a Manhattan-based startup that lets users create online boutiques featuring merchandise from a range of 75 individual brands, as well as big-name retailers such as Saks and Nordstrom. Users can host their boutiques on styleowner.com and on their own blogs. For every sale made through their stores, users get a 10% cut (minus taxes, shipping and, where applicable, return costs).

The startup is helmed by an impressive crew: Joel Weingarten, who previously taught robotics at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting research fellow; Jordana Silver, who worked in design and sales at Michael Kors for eight years; and Tracy Gardner, formerly the president of J Crew retail.

Weingarten says StyleOwner primarily targets three groups of users. The first group is made up of entrepreneurial 21-year-old college students and stay-at-home moms who are passionate about fashion and love to make recommendations to friends. The second group is composed of stylists and industry professionals who want to extend their personal shopping businesses. And the third group is fashion bloggers who want to start earning affiliate revenue on items they’re already featuring on their blogs.

In addition to boutique owners, StyleOwner also gets a cut of each sale made. The startup raised $1.97 million in an angel round earlier this year from Accel Partners, Forerunner Ventures and a number of prominent individuals, including Andy Dunn of Bonobos. One thousand stores have been created to date. Now the company is focused on building out its feature set for store owners, including a mobile app.


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: bizspark, spark-of-genius, styleowner

For more Business coverage:


October 22 2011

3 Neat iPhone Apps Designed to Entertain


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.

Each weekend, Mashable handpicks a few startups that we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

Here we’ve selected three iPhone applications for your weekend enjoyment and entertainment.

Roamz is a location-based application that will guide you to nearby happening places and activities, based around your interests and the social media activities of your friends. Mynd, meanwhile, will be your personal entertainment curator and point you in the direction of the best gaming, reading and television apps based on your tastes. And DimSong will delight you with music that moves as you do.


Roamz: An iPhone Tour Guide


Quick Pitch: Roamz is a location-based app that helps you find out what is happening around you.

Genius Idea: Interest-based place and event recommendations surfaced via social media.

Mashable’s Take: What’s happening around you? It seems like a fairly simple enough question to answer, especially considering the bevy of location-based applications and services on the market. And yet, more often than not, the answer is harder to come by then it should be.

Enter Roamz, an iPhone application that culls information from your Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter accounts, and takes into account your expressed interests, to surface hot tips and pictures on nearby (or afar) local events and attractions you might like. Of course, you’re also encouraged to use the app to share local happenings — the startup calls these “Roamz moments” — with other users as you discover them.

Roamz, which launched earlier this week, is not the perfect anecdote for the what-to-do conundrum (yet), but it’s a step in the right direction.


Mynd: Your Personal Entertainment iPhone App Assistant


Quick Pitch: Mynd wants to be your personal entertainment curator.

Genius Idea: Find, rate and share the best entertainment apps on your iPhone.

Mashable’s Take: You’ve got more than 500,000 iOS applications to choose from on the App Store. Clearly, finding games, books, or television and movie apps best suited to your tastes can be a daunting, if not impossible, task. Mynd to the rescue.

Mynd, from Seattle-based mobile development studio Liquify Digital, is an iPhone application that curates and recommends games, books, music and film applications just for you. The app uses a combination of machine learning techniques to make its picks and gets more sophisticated every time you interact with it.


DimSong: Interact With Music


Quick Pitch: DimSong is a reactive and adaptive app that creates customized remixes of music based on your input, movement and surroundings.

Genius Idea: Music remixed by your movement.

Mashable’s Take: If you’ve ever wished for a dynamic music listening experience that matches your mood or tempo, consider taking DimSong for a musical spin on your iPhone.

The iPhone application, built by VenLabs, provides an always in-flux and funky listening experience that oscillates with movement, touch or light.

In shake mode, tracks automatically pick up intensity as you dance or flail about. Switch to light mode and your iPhone’s camera will adjust audio based on the amount of light in the room. Or go in to touch mode to manually mix music with the on-screen slider.

Right now, DimSong is limited in track selection, but the application will eventually work with songs from your favorite artists.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Kristopher Wilson


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: bizspark, spark-of-genius, Startup Weekend Roundup

For more Business coverage:


October 20 2011

Kyoo Turns Social Media Buzz Into 24-Hour News Channels


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: Kyoo

Quick Pitch: Kyoo is a social media aggregator that intelligently finds, indexes and displays social content surrounding a topic on one dashboard.

Genius Idea: Social media-sourced channels for keeping up with hot topics.


Information travels faster than ever thanks to always-on social media services and an ever-expanding online community of accidental and intentional citizen journalists who document and react to breaking news stories and events. Kyoo aggregates it all to create all-in-one dashboards, called “kyoo channels,” around trending topics.

Kyoo is structured a bit like a newspaper. It features hot topics bubbling up in U.S. News, World News, Business, Science & Tech, Entertainment, Politics, Sports, What’s Viral and Lifestyle sections. You can browse sections or search for topics of interest.

Each topic page is an amalgamation of topic-related tweets, public Facebook status updates, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Delicious bookmarks, and top news stories from Digg and Reddit. It reminds us of the social media search engines of yore, albeit with a slick interface designed for consumption.

You can follow the real time buzz in the left-most column, keep an eye on the photos and videos flooding in via the center section, drill down into a social heat map to see where the buzz is coming from and look at the latest posts associated with the trends-within-a-trend.

With a broad spectrum of channels, Kyoo provides a real-time, contextual glimpse at what’s happening in the world based on the updates pouring in from social media sites, making it akin to a crowdsourced 24-hour news network.

Kyoo is free to use for consumers, though it does offer a separate business product for companies that starts at $349 per month. The business versions allows organizations to aggregate and display content on their own sites, with moderation tools, in a similar fashion.


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: bizspark, Social Media, spark-of-genius

For more Business coverage:


October 19 2011

Lemon Makes Lemonade Out of Your Electronic & Paper Receipts


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: Lemon

Quick Pitch: Lemon gives you the tools to collect all your receipts in one place and analyze the data in a simple dashboard.

Genius Idea: A personalized email address for shopping.


Chicago-based startup Lemon aims to be the single place where you store and manage all of your receipts — whether they be the paper kind collecting dust in your wallet or the electronic variety lost in your inbox.

After operating under-the-radar for several months, Lemon officially launched its web and mobile receipt system to the public last week. It has managed to attract more than 100,000 registered users who are already using it to pluck receipt data off the printed or digital page and place it in a dashboard for safe-keeping and future reference.

Lemon’s system is simple enough to use: You can either send your electronic receipts to username@lemon.com or scan paper ones via the startup’s mobile applications for iPhone and Android.

Lemon then grabs the relevant purchase data from your receipts — date, amount, merchant, tracking number and the like — to create monthly summaries and purchase reports. You can, of course, revisit all your receipts and apply labels to make tracking expenses or storing receipts for tax returns an easy process.

Soon enough, you’ll be able to share receipts individually or by label with folks who might want quick access — like your accountant, for instance.

But Lemon isn’t just intended for the expense or tax-reporting crowds. “We want Lemon to be an application for absolutely anybody,” Lemon co-CEO Wenceslao Casares says. He points to heads of households, college students, small business owners and anyone else looking to retain information about their purchases (regardless of how, when or where they make them) as potential users of the service.

“Mobile phones are going to change the way we live,” Casares says. “And they’re going to change the way we transact.”

Lemon, with its current receipt-saving system and an eventual bill-payment product, Casares insists, will play a part in the mobile revolutoin he anticipates.

Lemon, which has 20 employees, has raised roughly $10 million funding.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Kate*


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: bizspark, spark-of-genius, startup


October 15 2011

3 Fresh iPhone Apps for Your Mobile Convenience


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.

Each weekend, Mashable selects startups we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

In celebration of the release of the iPhone 4S, we’re featuring three startups with iPhone applications that will help you maximize your mobile lifestyle.

CardFlick’s answer to the digital business card is one of the best we’ve seen. Crowdmug could help you figure out where to go for a exciting night out. And Floop proffers both an entertaining and informative mobile polling experience.


CardFlick: iPhone Business Cards


Quick Pitch: CardFlick lets you create and share digital business cards with your iPhone.

Genius Idea: Digital business cards with panache.

Mashable’s Take: We know you’ve got (too many) options, but if you’re still searching for just the right digital business card application, consider giving CardFlick a whirl.

The application offers by far the simplest and most elegant card creation experience on the market, and it provides you with top-notch card design themes. Best of all, if you’re in the same room with another CardFlick user, you can literarily flick to send your card to your new contact. Our only gripe is that we’d love to be able to create more than one card.

And despite competition from a boatload of similarly-purposed applications, CardFlick reports it saw nearly 50,000 downloads in a 30-day period.


Crowdmug: See What’s Happening


Quick Pitch: Crowdmug lets you request photos or videos of places to see what the scene is like before you go.

Genius Idea: Cash-incentivized visual status updates.

Mashable’s Take: Finding the right bar scene can be a pain, so much so that startup Crowdmug is testing the theory that you’ll offer up a few bucks to get a first-hand glimpse at what’s happening at a particular venue.

The Crowdmug iPhone application lets you make location-related requests. You tell Crowdmug what you want to see (either a photo or video), where you want to see it and how much you’re willing to pay for your request. Your request is then sent off to app users in the area.

The app could, theoretically, come in handy if you’re curious about iPhone 4S lines, the crowd at the pub across town or the status of tables at your favorite local coffee spot.

You can also use Crowdmug to follow city-specific feeds of photos and videos being shared by other users who are out and about.


Floop: iPhone Polling


Quick Pitch: Floop is an iPhone app for polling and visual opinion graphing.

Genius Idea: Poll graphs that update in real time.

Mashable’s Take: This nifty iPhone application lets you measure the pulse of your friends or the community at large on a topic of your choosing. You can watch the opinion line graphs fluctuate in real time as responses pour in, cast your vote in others’ polls, and participate in group text or picture threads related to polls.

Plus, playing with Floop’s voting tool can be rather fun — just slide the yellow dot up or down to express your response to a question. Then, rotate your phone to landscape mode to see how others have voted over time.

Image courtesy of Flickr, pamhule


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: bizspark, spark-of-genius, Startup Weekend Roundup

For more Business coverage:


Fashion RSS Reader Bloglovin’ Signs Up 1 Millionth Member


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: Bloglovin’

Quick Pitch: A visual RSS reader and community for style blogs.

Genius Idea: Bloglovin’, a web and mobile-based newsreader and community centered primarily around fashion, celebrated its 1 millionth user registration this week.

With 2 million user-submitted blogs, it is the largest single blog index in the fashion category, pulling in approximately 3.5 million uniques and 65 million pageviews per month, says Stockholm-based founder and CEO Mattias Svenson. Its audience is, predictably enough, young women obsessed with style: the average visitor is a 22-year-old female who visits 50 times per week, according to Bloglovin’s advertising page.

Svenson says the idea for Bloglovin’ came out of a coffee meeting with style blogger Carolina Engman in late 2008. During breaks in the discussion, she would pull up dozens of blogs in separate browser windows to see if any of her favorites had been updated — something that struck Svenson and his co-founder, CTO Patrik Ring, as a process that could be improved.

Two weeks later the pair launched a beta version of Bloglovin’, which brought in more than 1,000 signups in its first week. The site’s growth has been driven largely by widgets bloggers have posted on their own sites, urging readers to subscribe to them on Bloglovin’, says Svenson.

Beyond its visual RSS reader for the web, iPhone and Android phones, Bloglovin’ also functions as a discovery vehicle. Users can browse a feed of popular posts by category, such as lifestyle or photography, and see which blogs have built the largest followings on Bloglovin’ and/or are quickly amassing them.

The bulk of Bloglovin’s undisclosed revenue is advertising. The startup has worked with numerous large brands, including L’oreal, MTV, H&M and Levi’s to develop display campaigns, as well as facilitate partnerships with various bloggers. Svenson acts as the go-between for said partnerships, connecting brands with bloggers not only with the largest audience, but also ones that are a good fit for the brand in question.

Svenson says that right now the startup is focused on improving the mobile reading experience, which he doesn’t believe is as easy or seamless as it could be.


How It Works: Video



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: bizspark, bloglovin, spark-of-genius

For more Business coverage:


October 13 2011

CircleMe Is a Social Network That Connects You to Yourself [INVITES]


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: CircleMe

Quick Pitch: CircleMe is a new social platform to track, engage with and share all your true likes in one place.

Genius Idea: Helping web users get more out of their digital lives.


Who are you? It’s a metaphysical question with an ever-changing answer. But in the age of Facebook “Likes,” Foursquare checkins and continual social updates, perhaps the answer can be found in what we share.

CircleMe, a newly launched social site from UK-based startup Cascaad, is the inverse of the typical social network. Instead of focusing on connecting you with friends and family members, CircleMe connects you to you — for a deep dive into your sense of self, as defined by the various kinds of digital things you like.

“We wanted to provide a place for people to able to engage more than themselves,” Cascaad founder Erik Lumer says. “The idea is to provide a way to collect, in one place, all the things that you really like — whether that’s music, movies, famous people or things that you’re fond of.”

The CircleMe user can pull in a selection of favorite people, places, movies and things from their Facebook “likes,” Foursquare checkins and Netflix streaming activity. The end result, with a little tweaking, is you — or a digital rendering of your likes in a classy, customizable profile that can be shared with others.

CircleMe, explains Lumer, has three key functions: To help you collect your likes across a broad range of categories in one place, to give you a way to express your likes in a visually stimulating and emotional way, and to allow you to engage and cultivate interests through the discovery of new information.

And why might this be important? For the same reason that Facebook created Timeline — because much of what we share on the web is ephemeral.

“You’re collecting likes just as a byproduct of sharing with other people,” says Lumer, “but you’re not creating them with the idea that you’re collecting the most important things in your life.”

“The only value of having those likes is for advertisers,” he adds. “We really wanted to provide a way for users to get more out of their likes.”

For a still-maturing private beta product, CircleMe delivers on its promise rather well, and its first few thousand users, says Lumer, have responded positively to the product.

CircleMe launched into private beta last week. Mashable readers can sign up to get early access to the service.


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: bizspark, spark-of-genius

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October 10 2011

A Twitter Client for Budget Shoppers


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: Tweetalicious

Quick Pitch: A shopping discovery engine built on the Twitter platform

Genius Idea: Although many retailers, brands and consumers share information about discounts and other offers on Twitter, it’s not easy for shoppers to browse these deals in aggregate.

Tweetalicious, a six-person startup out of Pennsylvania, is aiming to address that very problem. The team has released a Twitter client for the web and iPhone devices [iTunes link] that surfaces deals shared on Twitter based on a users’ preferences by category, such as apparel or home, and designer.

Users can give offers a thumbs up to help Tweetalicious better understand what they like, as well as save deals to a wishlist for later perusal. Deals are refreshed every few days to make sure they are up to date and relevant, says CMO Harrison Lee.

The client isn’t robust enough for a heavy Twitter user, but it will serve the needs of casual users primarily interested in shopping, particularly as its algorithms are further refined. The company currently scrapes deals from Twitter and a handful of online retail partners, but is working with mall operators to facilitate offline shopping at the local level as well.

“We don’t just want [Tweetalicious] to be a community of online shoppers,” Lee says. “We also want to reach people who primarily shop within [their own] general vicinity.”

Tweetalicious, which has not yet raised any funding to date, is currently focused on improving its existing product and growing its userbase. Soon, the startup hopes to incorporate deals pulled in from other social networks, including Facebook and LinkedIn, and to add verticals for users with interests outside of shopping.

An Android app is in the pipeline but no launch date has yet been set.


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: bizspark, shopping, spark-of-genius, tweetalicious, Twitter

For more Business coverage:


October 08 2011

3 New Mobile Apps For Video-Sharers, Fitness Phobics & Creatives


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.

Each weekend, Mashable selects startups we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

This time we’re calling your attention to Keek, Nexercise and Clefit.

Keek keeps it simple and makes video-sharing via web or mobile a 36 seconds-or-less experience. Nexercise makes an iPhone application that just might actually encourage you to work out every day. And Clefit makes creating and publishing via iPad a design-by-fingers experience.


Keek: Send Mobile Video Clips as Status Updates


Quick Pitch: Keek lets you share “microvideo” moments with friends and family as status updates.

Genius Idea: 36-second video clips

Mashable’s Take: Who says a status update has to be text? Not Keek, a newly launched startup and video social networking service with applications for iPhone and Android.

Keek encourages users to share status updates as video clips up to 36 seconds in length. These clips — called “keeks” — can also be posted to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Keek reminds us a bit of Klip, another video-sharing service that limits users to one-minute video clips. The startup joins a growing lineup of application developers hoping to capitalize on the rise of video-sharing via mobile.

Toronto-based Keek launched out of beta roughly two weeks ago. The startup has since announced that it closed $5.5 million in its first-round funding.


Nexercise: Incentivizing Fitness on iPhone


Quick Pitch: Nexercise is a fitness app for iPhone that uses gamification and social media to make fitness more fun and rewarding.

Genius Idea: Win stuff for working out.

Mashable’s Take: If looking good isn’t enough motivation to work out, perhaps a medal, deal or prize will get you off the couch.

Washington D.C.-based Nexercise hopes to help you kick it into high gear with an iPhone application that rewards you for completing 15 minutes of physical activity per day. Use the application to measure your workouts and you’ll earn virtual medals, points and random rewards as you go. And the more you work out each month, the more likely you are to earn a Nexercise grand prize at the end of the month.

Nexercise uses the motion of your device and your location to collect data to judge physical exertion. A few bonus features we like: You can compete against friends, exercise with friends for bonus points (you’ll need to Bump phones to activate this), and view what others are winning.


Clefit: Create Interactive Media via iPad


Quick Pitch: Build and share professional quality interactive media with Clefit.

Genius Idea: iPad publishing

Mashable’s Take: With Clefit, creatives are given a blank canvas for fashioning anything from their collection of digital media — all via iPad.

Start by creating a project, add photos, videos, audio and text to begin building fliers, collages, photo books, brochures, mockups or any other item of your choosing. The touch-based experience makes for a simple design-by-your-fingers experience.

The application is designed for professional and aspiring writers, illustrators, photographers, bloggers, digital scrapbookers, fashion designers, teachers, actors and others who love to create.

Clefit was released on the App Store Thursday. It’s a product of Los Angeles-based Flambe Studios.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, kate_sept2004


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: bizspark, Clefit, Keep, Nexercise, spark-of-genius, Startup Weekend Roundup


September 14 2011

Gift Engine Predicts What Your Facebook Friends Want


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: GiveEmThis

Quick Pitch: GiveEmThis is a personalized gift engine that analyzes your friends’ social media updates to recommend relevant gift ideas.

Genius Idea: A bevy of gift suggestions for every Facebook or Twitter friend.


Facebook’s 750 million-member social network makes connecting with family members, friends and occasional acquaintances easy. More friends means more birthdays and anniversaries to remember. For the thoughtful among us, that equates to more gifts to buy.

Herein lies the promise of GiveEmThis, a simple to use gift-giving assistant from Imply Labs. It promises to help you discover gift ideas your Facebook friends might actually want.

Sign in with Facebook. Select a Facebook friend. Enter the friend’s gender and age (the info will auto-populate if it’s in your friend’s Facebook profile), and enter the person’s Twitter user name (if he has one). A few seconds later, GiveEmThis will spit out a selection of gift ideas — all sourced from Amazon for the time being — tailored to your friend’s interests.

The GiveEmThis prediction engine, powered by Imply Labs’ predictive technology, considers a Facebook user’s demographic data, as well as her on-site behaviors and patterns. Events, status updates, shared links and “Likes” all factor into Imply Labs’ arcane algorithmic calculations. Twitter data is computed, albeit to a lesser extent, and natural language processing is used to understand the context of status updates.

The sum total of everything Imply Labs can glean about a person via social data makes its way into individual user profiles. These profiles rub up against Amazon’s catalogue to generate product matches.

How well does it work? Imply Labs founder Zack Oates says 87% of users found the right gift for themselves, based on survey data the startup collected from alpha testers.

Even so, we think GiveEmThis has plenty of room for improvement. It works really well — except for when it doesn’t. I highly doubt my friend and colleague Ben Parr, a diehard Chicago Bears fan, would ever appreciate Green Bay Packers gear.

“The more users that we get, the more that we can improve the algorithm,” Oates counters “It’s a constantly learning system.”

In due time, GiveEmThis product listings will expand to include Zappos’ product catalog, and Imply Labs will eventually allow companies to add their own products to the system. GiveEmThis will also get Google+ and LinkedIn integration, Oates says.

GiveEmThis is the consumer-facing version of the startup’s prediction engine. Imply Labs will also provide businesses with a white label version of its predictive technologies.

Founded in 2009, Imply Labs is a privately funded Utah-based startup.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Chris P.


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: bizspark, GiveEmThis, spark-of-genius


September 13 2011

CTRL + C Your Way to Instant Search Queries & Social Sharing


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: Click.to

Quick Pitch: Click.to turns copy, pasting and sharing or searching into a single action.

Genius Idea: You’re just one CTRL + C command away from copying content to your favorite app or service.


Select, copy, open application, paste and submit. We repeat these actions on a daily basis any time we want to share links with friends and followers on Facebook or Twitter, query a search engine or ecommerce site, and grab videos or images to send to colleagues via email.

Click.to, an add-on for Windows 7, XP or Vista, packages up all these actions into the CTRL + C command. Once installed, highlight whatever video, text or image content you want to look up, post, share or save, press CTRL + C and select the app icon of your liking.

“Click.to extends the most used short cut in the world: CTRL + C,” explains co-founder Peter Oehler.

Should you want to quickly Google a few words in a text document, Click.to comes to the rescue. Instead of selecting the text, opening a browser and pasting it into Google, you can copy the text and hit the Google button in the Click.to pop-up — voilà, you just CRTL + C’d your way to instant search results. Rinse and repeat.

Click.to works in much the same for sharing content on social networks. Say you want to post a picture to Facebook. “Click.to will start your browser automatically, it will select www.facebook.com, log into your account, choose picture upload and publish it on your wall … with one click,” Oehler explains.

This simple, little convenience could certainly save you a lot of time, especially since Click.to”s quick copy-to third-party service list is quite exhaustive and includes support for Facebook, Google, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Box.net, Wikipedia, Evernote, Amazon, Pastebin, Outlook, Word, Excel and others. You can even click to convert text into a PDF, and create your own shortcuts for the web services and programs of your choosing.

Best of all, perhaps, is that Click.to works system-wide. So what’s the catch? Click.to is PC-only for the time being. A Mac-compatible version is said to be in the works.

Click.to, released in early July, is a product from Axonic Informationssysteme GmbH, a Germany-based startup.


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: bizspark, spark-of-genius, startup


September 08 2011

New iPad Rental Service Targets Travelers


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: Flying Connected

Quick Pitch: iPad, smartphone, GPS and mobile broadband rentals for individuals.

Genius Idea: Catering to travelers by delivering to airports or hotels.


The Internet makes it easy to rent books, movies, high fashion, kid stuff and pretty much anything. But most iPad rental services don’t rent to individuals. Unless you own a business, it’s still easier to rent a speedboat than an iPad.

Flying Connected, an electronics rental site that launched in New York City last month, aims to make it easy for individuals to rent electronic companions for their trips.

Rental prices on the site vary depending on the renters’ choice of insurance package, accessories and pre-loaded media. The company’s most popular item, the iPad 2, can be rented for $18 to $28 per day. For a small fee, it will deliver a device to an airport or hotel in New York City.

Founder Zalmy Raskin says that he’s targeting travelers for a couple of reasons. First, traveling with mobile electronics that require a data plan, like a smartphone or an iPad when it’s not connected to the Internet, is a pain.

“Even if you have it with you, there’s always the frustration of when you turn it on you can’t using without roaming charges,” says Raskin, who moved to New York from London a few years ago. “You’re on payphones. It’s frustrating.”

Raskin thinks that domestic travelers might also find use for his service — whether they’d like to take a new device for a trial whirl, avoid lugging a laptop on a business trip, or view movies and other media on the plane.

The just-launched startup’s clientele is still small in both the national and international travel departments, but it hopes to partner with car rental companies and smaller hotel chains to grow its user base by offering a discount to their customers.

If the concept takes off, building a customer base through these partners could prove less of an issue than keeping up with one. Maintaining an inventory of expensive electronics won’t be cheap, and the startup is bootstrapping its efforts.

Raskin has devised a plan that he hopes will help it keep up. Anyone who agrees to lend their device to the company for a period can keep a percentage from rentals and keep their device after the deal ends.

Is that a deal that you would take? Would you ever rent an iPad or another electronic device for a trip? Let us know 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: Flying Connected, iPad rental, travel

For more Startups coverage:


September 07 2011

Tagstand Wants to Make NFC Technology Simple for Businesses


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: Tagstand

Quick Pitch: Tagstand is an NFC platform that simplifies the NFC stack for businesses and developers.

Genius Idea: Program and manage NFC stickers on the web.


“The way your phone interacts with the real world is going to become quite fundamental,” predicts Kulveer Tagger. Tagger is betting on the trend with Tagstand, a startup serving as a platform that businesses and developers can turn to for NFC tag procurement and management.

Customers can purchase packs of stickers, and then use the Tagstand Manager to program — and reprogram as often they see fit — how those stickers function on objects in the real world. They can also track sticker usage.

Tagstand could theoretically, depending on the whims of the tag owner, allow a consumer with an NFC-enabled device to touch his phone to a sticker to check in on Foursquare one day and view a promotional video or product page the next. The point is clearly to commodify NFC technology — to package it up, sell it to businesses and marketers, and make it consumer-friendly in the process.

One problem: consumers aren’t yet toting around NFC-enabled devices en masse. But should that change — and research firm Juniper forecasts that it will — Tagstand, says Tagger, hopes its first-mover status will solidify it as a harbinger of the NFC revolution in the states.

In the right-here and right-now, Tagstand appears to be pulling in impressive sales and traction for a three-month startup in a nascent market. “We’ve had loads of developers and businesses contact us,” Tagger says. “We’re basically finding out what we think are going to be the first applications of NFC.”

Outdoor marketing is surfacing as the most popular application, he says. A Tagstand customer in India, for instance, made a bulk purchase of 20,000 tags for $10,000. The customer plans to put tags on movie posters at malls and cinemas in India, he says.

Next on the agenda for Tagstand is to give startups access to NFC payments capabilities and release an API for its tag management system.

Tagstand is a graduate of Y Combinator’s summer of 2011 session. The startup is in the process of raising additional funding.


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: bizspark, nfc, spark-of-genius, Tagstand, y combinator

For more Startups coverage:


September 03 2011

3 New Mobile Apps Offering a Twist on the Expected


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.

Each weekend, Mashable hand-picks startups that we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

This week’s selection of startups have created mobile applications for iPhone and Android that offer a twist on the expected.

EyeEm is a mobile photo-sharing application unique in its ability to surface similar photos in real time. Life Is Crime mixes up mobile gaming with location-based gameplay, and Liquid Fare, perfectly suited for barhoppers, offers an updated interpretation of the mobile reviewing app.


EyeEm: Photo Capture for Photo Discovery


Quick Pitch: EyeEm is a photo capture, sharing and discovery app that learns your tastes from the pictures you take.

Genius Idea: Photo vibes.

Mashable’s Take: Berlin-based EyeEm puts a fresh twist on mobile photo-sharing with an app for iPhone and Android that emphasizes discovery.

Yes, the app does include filters, likes, comments and social sharing — staples in nearly every mobile photo application these days — but we think you’ll like it for its more refined qualities.

Filters, for instance, are applied in your camera’s view pane, even before you snap a photo. Photos are automatically arranged into photo albums called vibes, categorizing photos by either place, people or content. Plus, the app auto-tags your photos with location and activity descriptions, making manual entry completely optional.


Life Is Crime: Mobile MMO Set in the Real World


Quick Pitch: Life Is Crime by Red Robot Labs is a location-based MMO mobile game where players commit virtual crimes in real places.

Genius Idea: Combining social and hardcore gaming elements with location-based action.

Mashable’s Take: Developed by former executives at Playdom and EA, Life Is Crime tasks mobile users on Android (and soon iOS) to commit virtual crimes, perform missions, challenge other players to take over real-world locations and become criminal masterminds.

The game takes the high-octane elements of complex, narrative-based video games for consoles and PCs, throws in social gaming standbys like virtual goods and gameplay with friends, and uniquely places all of the action in your surrounding neighborhood.


Liquid Fare: A Mobile Wingman


Quick Pitch: Liquid Fare provides an easy way to find local bars, lounges and clubs organized by age, style and attractiveness of the crowd.

Genius Idea: Mobile users crowdsource their way to a better night out on the town.

Mashable’s Take: Liquid Fare for iPhone and Android promises to be the compass that points you towards the hippest hotspots nearby, depending on your personal preferences in crowd style, age and attractiveness.

The application crowdsources its establishment assessments, encouraging users to rate the scene at venues they visit.

Liquid Fare, from the New York-based startup of the same name, was first piloted in New York and San Francisco. The application rolled out for all audiences in the U.S. in August.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Roger’s Wife


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: bizspark, EyeEm, Liquid Fare, Red Robot Labs, spark-of-genius, Startup Weekend Roundup

For more Startups coverage:


Personalize & Protect Your iPhone With a Handcrafted Wood Back


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: JackBacks

Quick Pitch: JackBacks makes customizable wood and glass back replacements for the iPhone 4.

Genius Idea: Protect your iPhone 4 in style.


The ubiquity of the iPhone 4, means everyone else’s phone looks just like yours. Plus, the iPhone’s durability is really put to the test should you drop it on its back.

Sure, you can bedazzle and bling out your iPhone with many a quirky or colorful case. Those looking to give their devices a radical makeover, and better product the back of their devices in the process, can turn to JackBacks.

JackBacks creates customizable handcrafted bamboo, mahogany, cherry, maple and walnut wood backs you can use to replace the stock glass back your iPhone 4 shipped with. Less adventurous types can also turn to JackBacks to purchase replacement glass backs and restore a shattered iPhone 4 to new.

The backs start at $89 for a basic bamboo replacement. Custom etching and different wood types will set you back a bit more.

The one-man shop was started by trained woodworker Adam Baumgartner in late 2010 after he scoured the web for a high quality bezel and back replacement. A few failed purchases later, Baumgartner was inspired to create his own better, more durable back replacement from wood. One business and entrepreneurism class later — combined with positive feedback from friends, of course — and the JackBacks brand was born.

Baumgartner processes, handmakes and ships each and every order, all while still maintaining his developer day job — no easy feat considering that he saw 46 orders amounting to $8,000 in sales in August. “I’m working my butt off,” he says. “It’s challenging, but fun.”

The hard work is paying off. Baumgartner’s backs have attracted clientele of the Hollywood and Silicon Valley celebrity breeds. Former Facebooker and Path creator Dave Morin happened upon JackBacks. Morin first ordered a few backs, but returned to purchase custom etched Path backs for his entire startup. Arrested Development star Tony Hale (a.k.a. Buster Bluth) also totes around his iPhone 4 in a JackBack.

Baumgartner hopes to turn his self-funded endeavor into a more scalable and sustainable business. His next challenge will be figuring out how to build backs for the pending iPhone 5.

“What’s it going to take to get me there?,” Baumgartner questions aloud. “I don’t quite know yet … I’m waiting in anticipation of the iPhone 5.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, Robert Scoble


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: bizspark, iphone 4, iphone accessories, JackBacks, spark-of-genius

For more Startups coverage:


September 02 2011

iPhone App Helps You Discover Upcoming Movies


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: Can’t Wait!

Quick Pitch: Can’t Wait pushes new movie trailers to your phone, helps you share your favorites and reminds you when they hit theaters.

Genius Idea: Social movie discovery and automatic reminders for movies you want to see.


Movie buffs and occasional film fans alike know the adrenaline rush associated with discovering a new movie that they just can’t wait to see in theaters. Can’t Wait!, a Y Combinator summer of 2011 class graduate, caters to this crowd with an iPhone application that promises to find them upcoming flicks to get excited about.

Connect to Facebook or Twitter to create an account, then you use the iPhone app to find and watch movie trailers for upcoming feature films. If something catches your eye, click the “Can’t Wait” button to share the activity with your social network friends. The application will later follow up with a reminder when the movie premieres in theaters, and you can choose to purchase tickets in-app via Fandango.

“We want to send you new trailers … help show you what your friends are watching and remind you when movies come out,” Can’t Wait! co-founder Eric Florenzano says. “People want reminders for the movies they’re excited about seeing,” he adds.

The application may sound not all that dissimilar from Flixster or other movie-focused applications, but the difference, says Florenzano, is that Can’t Wait! is all about building excitement.

“If you look at all apps out there, they’re all about what’s out right now,” he says. “It’s a useful thing … they’re totally tailored for when you’re in the mood to see a movie. What we’re trying to do is be all about what’s coming up … it’s a fundamentally different experience.”

Also different is the app’s simple, slick and inviting user interface. The experience pivots around movie discovery in an elegant fashion that should appeal to even the most cynical moviegoers.

Can’t Wait! sources its movie trailers from YouTube, a strategy that helps the startup avoid licensing costs but also keeps it dependent on YouTube’s API. Sometimes that’s a liability — for instance, early Thursday a broken YouTube API led to app users being unable to watch trailers for several hours.

Released on the App Store in late August, Can’t Wait! has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. The application has even received App Store promotional love from Apple.

Florenzano sees the startup expanding beyond movies and into video games and consumer electronics. Can’t Wait! currently earns a percentage of the receipts from ticket sales sold through the application, and sees additional monetization opportunities in featuring studio trailers, offering group buying discounts and video game pre-orders.

Can’t Wait! is funded by Y Combinator and has raised an additional undisclosed amount of seed funding.


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Image courtesy of Flickr, Anders Adermark


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: bizspark, Can't Wait!, spark-of-genius, y combinator

For more Startups coverage:


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