Among.io – A Product Review
Posted on September 28, 2015 Leave a Comment
Good morning! Hope everyone had a great weekend. I wanted to start off this week with a new app review. For those who follow my blogs, I am part of an amazing group called StartupStudyGroup (SSG for short). If you’re new to my blog and are unaware of what SSG is, I’ve gone ahead and linked a previous post of mine that goes into detail about what SSG is. Now for the juicy stuff, I was introduced to a very interesting app over the weekend, called Among.io. Founded by Patrick Frey, Among is a unique app where it’s a dedicated anonymous chat/forum discussion platform for industry professionals. Think of it as an open forum, but generalized towards working professionals. There’s no hidden catch, and users don’t have to feel ‘pressured’ that they need to be wary about what they say or how they represent themselves as their company employee. It’s anonymous, meaning you can create a username and not have it affiliated with your company via linkedin or any other social network you might use.
Stop “Networking”. Start Talking. – Among.io
I was fortunate enough to get an invite code through SSG, and downloaded the app. The UI/UX is very sleek and simple to use. The signup process was simple enough and I was immediately connected once I finalized my registration. Navigating through the app was also very simple. You can scroll down and browse through the different various topics of discussion, such as: startups, tech, and much more. Similar to forums, you can also upvote certain topics that interest you. Along with browsing, you can also comment and tag people to respond directly. The app itself ran very smooth with no crashes or bugs. Not only did I have no issues, I even went to test its ‘link sharing’ feature by sharing a YouTube clip. Everything worked seamlessly, and I could definitely see a lot of industry professionals using the app to have great discussions. Since it doesn’t request for any social profiles, or a full blown profile itself, the ability to stay anonymous was refreshing. It really is a pretty cool app.
If you’re big into new apps and all about talking startups, tech, and entrepreneurship, I suggest you download the app. You can request an invite code here. I’ve also gone ahead and taken a few screenshots of the app below for your enjoyment :).
Carpool.vc – An Awesome Way To Gain VC Knowledge
Posted on September 26, 2015 Leave a Comment
I’m a big fan of doing VC research and learning about new knowledge regarding the startup world. It’s always great reading what new startups are popping, what founders are doing to kick start their companies, and any other advice entrepreneurs share amongst each other. VCs are no different, and they love to share their thoughts and opinions just as much as founders do. Some don’t realize, VCs are HUMAN too, and many of them, are quite humorous and are genuinely awesome people. I wanted to share an amazing YouTube series that I came across awhile back, called Carpool.vc.
Started by Jonathon Treist and Brett deMarrais, founders of Ludlow Ventures out in Michigan, the YouTube series is a cool carpool series where they drive around their area while speaking with various tech entrepreneurs and VCs via phone. The very first episode I ever saw of their series was one with none other than Brad Feld, a VC I love to follow and highly respect. You can view the episode featuring him here. The episodes they do are highly entertaining as well as informative. No matter the guest, they discuss the latest tech stories, as well as ask interesting questions to their guests to answer. For example, in a recent episode featuring Mark Suster, VC at Upfront Ventures, they start off with asking about sports. What I love about the series is that they have casual conversations. It’s not always about business with VCs, and it’s great to see them just be cool and down to earth. One of the biggest advice that I always take to heart from VCs is that they are very vocal in that entrepreneurs should “get to know them” before approaching them. Carpool.vc is one way to try and gain knowledge about VCs. Although you might not personally know any of the guests, you can get a better feel of what type of person he/she may be. No different, all the guests on Carpool.vc give sound advice and their honest opinions. If you’re an entrepreneur like I am, I highly suggest you start watching the series. Below is the latest episode featuring Mark Suster. Enjoy :).
PitchCraft Episode 9 Recap
Posted on September 24, 2015 Leave a Comment
Had the pleasure of tuning in to another great PitchCraft (click link to learn about PitchCraft from a previous post) session via Sol Weinreich. No different from previous PitchCraft episodes, the focus on this week’s Blab.im session was connecting Startup founders/entrepreneurs, with a VC/Advisor, to answer the question “What keeps you up at night?” The question is asked to the founders and then answered by the VC/Advisor. Sol’s great at connecting startups with those who are industry veterans in the startup space. On this week’s episode, Sol’s guest VC was Adam Carver, a VC at Mesa Ventures and former TechStars alum. Opposite Adam, were two startup founders, Noah Rosenberg – Founder of Marco, and Martin Basiri – Co-Founder of ApplyBoard.com.
Live now PitchCraft ep. 9 with @AdamCarv (Mesa+) w/ @adamcarv@nrosehttps://t.co/lEwhHBgOH7#blab
— Sol Weinreich (@SolfromBrooklyn) September 24, 2015
First up, was Noah. To give a little background on Noah’s company, Marco creates ‘digital tags’ for your physical goods. For example, using Noah’s service, you can link your wallet with a tag, which then allows you to know exactly where it is. In case you ever forget where it is you put it ;). The dialogue between Noah, Sol, and Adam was great. It was my first time learning about both Noah and Adam, and boy let me tell you – Adam is a sharp VC. With the allotted time given for Noah to semi-pitch his company to Adam, there was a hardcore Q&A that went on :). You can click on the image to be taken to Marco’s website to learn more about their product.
After Noah’s session was up, Martin was next. His company, called ApplyBoard, was very unique, in that it was a college connector for international students. By connector, I mean his platform links international students outside of the U.S and Canada, to colleges and universities within the two countries. Call it an ‘agency for international students,’ ApplyBoard’s mission is to help international students with the process of applying and handling all the necessary steps in attending a college or university in the U.S & Canada. With over 90+ universities already signed on as partners, Martin’s platform seems to be making headway. No different to the pitch previous by Noah, Martin, Sol, and Adam go into some hard discussions regarding Martin’s business. Adam listened carefully to Martin’s business structure, how it earns revenue, and its overall functionality. Again, some very keen discussions went around amongst the three. To learn more about ApplyBoard, click on the image below.
Overall, it was yet another great PitchCraft session. Thanks to Sol, I was able to learn about 2 new companies and their founders, and a new VC. If you’re into learning about new companies and VCs, I highly recommend you follow Sol on Twitter, and tune into his PItchCraft episodes every week. Great job Sol and can’t wait until next week!
You can view the entire PitchCraft episode below:
Jot – The New Hip Spontaneous Group Chat
Posted on September 23, 2015 Leave a Comment
A while back, I came across an interesting app founded by Jeffrey Noh and Peter Pelberg, called Jot (Not the Jott Messenger app). I don’t recall exactly how, but all I remember is I saw someone Tweet about the app asking to join them in an real-time conversation they were having. As always, being an explorer, I decided to give the app a try to see what it was about. What I do remember was the conversation topic had to do with something regarding college students, snap chat, and picture taking for memories. I’ll spare all the details on what was discussed, and instead, tell you about my experience with Jot. Click here to download the app for iOS.
Upon signing up and registering, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into. However, as I navigated through the app, I immediately noticed what it was for. It was a place for individuals to start conversations based off of topics of interest. There was no catch and there were no separate categories in which you had to choose. Each Jot was a unique individual conversation. Conversations were anything; ranging from how one felt about oatmeal to discussing the VMAs. Whatever it was, it was a private place to have discussions with other Jot members. The app didn’t require me to sign up via any social network account or give my phone number. All I needed was a valid email and I could create my own Jot account. Also, as a user, I didn’t have to add a profile picture, or let alone, fill out a crazy profile in general. All you had to do was choose a user name, thus making you a Jot member by username only. The UI/UX was simple to use, and navigating through the app was pretty straight forward. You got push notifications (if you allowed) for new posts, or for when someone tagged you (by username) in a response.
Immediately spark a conversation with a thought. – Jot
Fast forward to today, I am still using the app. There are so many interesting conversations from a number of members. As I’ve continued to use it, I’ve also noticed its user base growing as well. Nobody judges you for your conversations. It’s a community for discussion. Thoughts, ideas, advice – you name it, are all shared and discussed. What I like most about it is, the feeling of a tight-knit community. Since it’s not public, you don’t get the sense of ‘feeling judged.’ It’s an closed platform for open discussions. I have not seen any instance where any of the users are rude or misbehave (they do give you the option to block someone in case it ever does happen). So far, my experience has been nothing but pleasurable. I’ve gone ahead and taken some screenshots to show you a glimpse of the app as a platform below:
Kudos to Peter and Jeffery for creating such an amazing platform for conversation curation. I know that I will continue to use the app and I hope his user base continues to grow. Keep up the great work!
5 Truths Entrepreneurs Must Know Beforehand – via @Peter Voogd
Posted on September 23, 2015 Leave a Comment
Ran across this great post via AlleyWatch, written by Peter Voogd. Titled 5 Truths Startup Founders Must Understand about Entrepreneurship, Peter discusses 5 truths he feels all entrepreneurs should get a grasp on before jumping into the startup business. For those who are unfamiliar with Peter, he is the founder of Game Changers Academy, and has been an entrepreneur himself since he was 15 years old. To learn more about him, you can visit his Twitter page linked above. In his post, he lists 5 must know truths, which I’ve gone ahead and summarized below:
Although it looks glamorous, real entrepreneurship takes hard work and frequent failure. – Peter Voogd
- It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
- Peter says that being an entrepreneur is a tough business. The higher to strive, the more chaotic it can get. This is something that all must understand before hand. However, even though it’s a tough business, it doesn’t mean one should stop pursuing.
- Resourcefulness is the ultimate resource
- To be an entrepreneur means to be resourceful. Those who say ‘I don’t have the resources’ aren’t fit to be an entrepreneur. No matter what obstacle comes your way; money, people, team – a true entrepreneur finds solutions to these problems.
- Your circle of influence will make or break you
- Surround yourself with positive and powerful people. Do not open your mind to negative remarks or comments. Who you link up with is very important towards your success.
- Habits trump inspiration
- Form good habits and stick to them. No matter what, every entrepreneur should formulate good habits and behavior. It will only help you further.
- The only thing guaranteed is failure
- Success doesn’t happen overnight nor does it happen instantaneously. Overcoming failure makes you that much more of an entrepreneur.
Click on the link here to read the full article.
Overall, Peter’s advice is solid. I advice all entrepreneurs to try and understand what he’s saying, and try to heed his advice. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but it’s something that can be learned with help and advice from others.
/Slash – The New All-In-One Keyboard For Mobile
Posted on September 22, 2015 1 Comment
I came across a great new product that was featured on Product Hunt today via Twitter. Called Slash, the product is basically an all-in-one keyboard app for iOS. Co-founded by Cem Kozinoglu, Nick Barr, and Bulent Sik, the app – currently available for iOS (click here to download it), is a one-stop-shop that lets users easily share their favorite GIFs, stickers, Foursquare, and much more with a simple command – /xyz. What I mean by this is, let’s say you’re in a conversation with a friend via iMessage, and you wanted to quickly find a GIF, then change your mind and want a sticker instead. With Slash, all you would have to do is type /GIF – /Sticker
Upon viewing its feature on Product Hunt, I immediately went to check them out and downloaded the app. Just like any other keyboard app available, it was simply download – install – add keyboard – give permission. Voila~ Slash was officially added and I could select it while using iMessage. I played around with the app some more and noticed how seamless and smooth the app actually was. I could easily type ‘/ whatever’ and it would immediately pull up my request (See my screenshot below). Along with ability to send quick GIFs and stickers, Slash also enables you to quickly share contacts, search for cool local places, and much more. I can definitely see a lot of users downloading this app to save time and alleviate the hassle of having to close their current conversations, open up a different copy, copy, and re-open iMessage…you get the picture :). So far, my experience with the app has been nothing but positive. I haven’t experienced any crashes and the UI/UX is pretty simple. I’m a big fan of GIFs, and it’s awesome to see them use GIPHY’s api to port directly into their platform.
Oh, by the way, this app is FREE. I highly suggest you download it and test it out yourself. Can’t wait to see what new updates they come up with and hope that the founders continue their momentum and gain more success.
GetCroissant – A Hip New Way To Find Shared Space PT. 1
Posted on September 18, 2015 1 Comment
Edit: I’ve added an awesome YouTube video that’s been done by the Croissant Team!
This is a follow up post to yesterday’s post on The Power of SSG – linked for you to read if you want. I wanted to do a separate post regarding a new product/company I came across thanks in part to Sol Weinreich’s PitchCraft episode on Blab.im (Click here to view the full replay broadcast). If you want a full rundown of what the Blab session was about, click on the link “The Power of SSG” above. During the session, an amazing company, called Croissant, was featured. Two of its Co-Founders, Dave Idell & Nisha Garigarn, were linked with Jeremy Shure, Director of Innovation at Horizon Media // Mentor at TechStars, through Sol’s show, to ask any pertinent questions they had regarding startups and strategies.
We are on a mission to enable people to create from anywhere. We seek to make beautiful work spaces easily accessible, and to fill seats seamlessly. We want people to focus on making the next big thing, not finding a place to work on it – Croissant Team
I checked out Croissant myself, and really liked their story. What they do is provide a service for anyone who is in need of finding a quick and accommodating spot to work. Anything from a co-working space to a nice hot spot on top of a roof top, Croissant members can get access to “spaces” to do their work. What caught my attention the most was that they’re about promoting a creative and productive work space, for a monthly fee. What this means is: their service enables you to find the perfect location that fits your needs; fast WiFi, creative atmosphere, unique space, and much more. Croissant gives an example from their own story regarding a situation that involved going to their favorite coffee shops, but never being able to get the internet connection they needed, or able to find enough seats for their team to work and collaborate.
We loved the creative vibes and the great coffee, but were frustrated by the lack of comfortable seating and fast wifi. – Croissant Team
How Does It Work?
The way Croissant works is: users sign up and get monthly “hours” based off of membership tiers. Depending on which membership one chooses, they are then allowed to use the “hours” they receive per month, to utilize any of the spaces Croissant provides within their network, based off of the amount of hours they have. For now they are only NYC based, but sounds like they are working on adding more Cities. Oh, and if you use more than your allocated hours with the Part-Time membership, you then have to wait until your next billing cycle. If you’re a Full-time member, the maximum number of hours you can work per venue is 60, but have unlimited hours. I like this idea, as it seems like a way to make sure there will always be open seats for both Part-Time and Full-Time members. To learn more, click here to be taken to their features page.
Croissant has two tiers of pricing for its services: Part-Time member for a monthly fee, or a Full-Time member for a monthly fee. I’ve gone ahead and summarized both tiers, and what you get from the screen shot below (click on the image to be taken directly to their pricing page):
Do they have an app?
YES! This was MOST refreshing to know. They have both an iOS and Android app. I’ve gone ahead and linked them for those who want to download :).
Overall, I really like their product and idea. If you’re in NYC and in need of something new, I suggest you check them out. Great work by the Croissant Team and can’t wait to hear more updates!
Here’s there YouTube video!
The Power Of SSG – Startup Study Group
Posted on September 17, 2015 4 Comments
Edit: Added the YouTube video for the episode. Enjoy!
I recently came across this great Blab.im session that was shared by Charles Jo, founding member of SSG (Startup Study Group) – I’ve linked a previous post of mine that discusses SSG. The only reason why I was able to find out about the awesome live Blab, was because of my affiliation with SSG. Conducted by Sol Weinreich ( a member of SSG 🙂 ), the session was part of his weekly roundup, called PitchCraft. Based out of NYC, Sol conducts weekly sessions via Blab.im, that discusses all things startups, tech, and VCs. See his Tweet below:
PitchCraft ep 8 with @jeremyshure ( Horizon Media, Techstars mentor, Huffpo) w/ @JeremyShure @GetCroissant https://t.co/J25OyieGkH #blab
— Sol Weinreich (@SolfromBrooklyn) September 17, 2015
Edit: I learned more from Sol via SSG that PitchCraft is a blab show that connects startup founders with Investors/mentors.
We try to help answer one question. What keeps you up at night? Startups are super hard and mentorship makes it a little easier. – Sol Weinreich
This was my first time viewing one of Sol’s Blab.im roundups, but it was really great. The session featured him connecting a few startups/founders with Jeremy Shure, mentor at TechStars NYC, who also runs an accelerator out of Horizon Media. The Blab featured some great discussions by the startup founders, Sol, and Jeremy. What was amazing to see was how Sol was connecting these founders to Jeremy. It was great to see a mentor like Jeremy, provide his analysis, knowledge, and expertise to the founders. I’m a big fan of TechStars, so when Charles shared the live Blab link to Sol’s session, I immediately jumped on to view what was happening. It truly was inspiring to see Jeremy and Sol giving back to the Tech/Startup community through the Blab live chat. What made it even better was that I was able to learn some great knowledge thanks in part to my membership at SSG.
Below is a screenshot from Sol’s PitchCraft Episode:
SSG is not just your ordinary startup group. It’s an organization that has a number of intelligent people, startup gurus, passionate founders, and tech-savvy entrepreneurs. Sol’s Blab.im session was incredible, and was inspiring to watch as an entrepreneur. The startup business is tough, and trying to get advice from esteemed mentors such as Jeremy is even tougher. People like Sol should really be recognized for giving back to the community. Also, startup groups like SSG should gain more traction as well. SSG is a community that gives back, and helps each other out. And furthermore, more mentors like Jeremy are needed for entrepreneurs and startup founders. If you’re an entrepreneur and reading this, I highly suggest you join SSG, follow Sol’s Twitter and Blab, and also follow @JeremyShure. Thanks to @Sol and @Charles for sharing this awesome moment. Keep up the great work guys!
Now, without further adieu, I present you the link to the PitchCraft episode by Sol. If you want to learn more about GetCroissant (Will do a separate post on them later) click here.
A Dating App Based on Bacon? – Whaaaaaat?!
Posted on September 16, 2015 Leave a Comment
So, I was doing my usual morning Twitter browsing, and came across this INTERESTING story. Apparently, according to Adweek, Oscar Mayer (Yes the company that produces everyone’s favorite Hot Dog) has just released a new dating app – based off of your love for BACON. Dubbed, “Sizzl” this new dating app, matches users with others that share their love of bacon. You can read the full article here.
The Bacon for Bacon Lovers – Sizzl (Oscar Mayer)
From what I read from the Adweek article, Sizzl basically functions like this:
- User downloads the app
- Sets up preferences based off of “bacon preferences”
- Creates user profile
- Begins to “swipe” through other users’s profiles
Uh, so – is anyone else as confused as I am? Why in the world did Oscar Mayer, a company that produces consumer goods that are physically consumed, create a frickin dating app? This just has me completely perplexed. I mean, dating apps are hot right now, but to make one based off of your affinity for bacon? Let alone by Oscar Mayer? COME ON. Honestly, I can say this: Oscar Mayer will never be the same in my book. If you’re still in disbelief, you can check out their official page here. If you go to their ‘FAQ’ section, there’s a Question that asks if the app is legit (see screen shot below).
Still don’t believe me? You can check out the official app that’s available for iOS here. Or, you can just watch their ridiculous video advertisement below :P.