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10 Interesting Startups to Watch Out For This Year

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10 Interesting Startups to Watch Out For This Year

Startups have amassed huge popularity in the past decade. Everyone dreams of launching a startup on their own. A mindboggling 100 million startups are launched annually, according to figures in the GEM Global Report.

The majority of them perish without having any impact. Only a few make it to the coveted upper echelons of the business world. Here are 10 very interesting startups to look forward to in 2016.

1. Brigade

1

    Founded by Sean Parker (cofounder of Napster) and Matt Mahan, Brigade aims to encourage users to understand civic issues and seek reform.

    The mission of the company, according to Mahan, is “to empower people in their civic life and to have influence over the direction their society goes in by having them articulate and identify where they stand on issues, uncover alignment with friends, get organized into groups of like-minded people and ultimately act collectively to shape the policies that affect their lives.”

    Last November, the company launched interactive ballot guides in San Francisco and Manchester, New Hampshire to educate voters about ballot initiatives and candidates.

    With the presidential battle heating up for this year’s ultimate showdown in November, this political app will definitely garner more users.

    2. Operator

    2

      Gone are the days of traditional shopping when we used to hop from one store to another, painfully searching for things to buy. Thanks to plenty of well designed e-commerce sites and business apps, we can shop easily from our own homes.

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      However, online shopping can still be tedious because of the overwhelming amount of options it offers. The Operator app intends to take the painful part out of your shopping.

      You simply text what you need to find and within no time a person begins working on your request to present you the best options.

      Started by Uber cofounder Garrett Camp and former Zynga executive Robin Chan, this app is currently only available for the iPhone.

      3. Nextbit

      3

        The Nextbit Robin, dubbed the only cloud-first smartphone, is one of the most awaited phones of this year. The phone garnered an astonishing $1.3 million in 30 days from its Kickstarter campaign.

        Robin comes with: a 5.2-inch 1080p touchscreen, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 chipset at the helm, 3GB of RAM, a 13 MP rear camera with face detection, autofocus and dual-LED flash; a 5 MP selfie snapper, a USB Type-C port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; NFC, GPS, and a 2,680 mAh battery.

        What makes it different than other smartphones in the market is that it backs everything into the cloud. With the purchase of this smartphone, you get 32 GB built-in storage and an additional 100 GB of cloud storage.

        When the internal memory starts filling up, the phone uploads your inactive data, apps and media to the cloud, and deletes them from your phone. So, when you need this inactive stuff, you can easily get it back.

        Nextbit is the brainchild of Tom Moss, former head of Android business development, and Mike Chan, former head of Android power management.

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        4. Distrokid

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          Last August, the hip hop group Jack & Jack hit No. 12 on Billboard Top 200, the first time for an indie music group. On top of that, they kept 100% of their sales and streaming royalties.

          This was made possible by Distrokid – a music distribution service started by entrepreneur Philip Kaplan. Artists who want to sell music on platforms like iTunes need to be signed by a record label, or go through a distributor like Distrokid. It allows you to get your music to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and 100+ other stores.

          For a small fee of $19.99, Distrokid allows you to upload unlimited albums and songs for a year. Furthermore, it takes no royalties on the sales you have made. Thus, it is very useful for indie artists without a record label who want to get their music to listeners.

          5. Magic Leap

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            Augmented reality has caught the attention of the world for some time. Unlike virtual reality which replaces the real world with simulated one, in augmented reality, computer generated images are layered on top of the real world.

            Magic Leap, founded by Rony Abovitz, is one promising startup working in the field of augmented reality. It recently raised $793.5 million in new funding in what might be the largest “C” round in Internet history.

            Magic Leap may not have made any product available for public consumption, but it definitely has plenty of resources to usher us into an era of augmented reality in the near future.

            6. 3Scan

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              3Scan has undertaken the task of revolutionizing the field of anatomic pathology by changing the way doctors, biotech companies and researchers study tissue. The company has transferred the task of analyzing cells and tissues from analog to digital technology.

              3Scan uses its patented “Knife Edge Scanning Microscope” (KESM) to generate 2D and 3D models of tissues. 3Scan’s technology is very effective in applications requiring high throughput of a large volume of samples. It also provides data processing software to model 3D tissue reconstructions, provide interactive image views and apply quantitative analytics.

              7. Zeek

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                What do you do when you get a gift card that you are unlikely to use? You’ll probably keep it, hoping it might come of use someday. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could just get cash in exchange for the card? The founders of Zeek thought so.

                Zeek is a mobile and web based platform that allows users to sell their gift vouchers for cash. In addition, it allows you to purchase, at a discount, gift cards to stores from which you are more likely to buy.

                The market for unused gift cards is huge. It is estimated that around $450 million worth of gift cards go unredeemed each year in the U.K. alone. Zeek intends to penetrate this market and expand its service to other European countries in near future.

                8. Luxe Valet

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                  Parking your vehicle can be tough and exhausting if you live in a city. Luxe Valet, founded in 2013 by Curtis Lee and Criag Martin, can relieve this problem for you.

                  This smartphone app-based service lets you call one of their valets when you need to park your vehicle. For a small fee, the company’s valet will take your car and park it in one of their parking lots. They will even get your car washed or refueled if you want them to do so.

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                  First started at San Francisco, Luxe Valet has expanded its service to seven major U.S. cities.

                  9. Mobcrush

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                    Mobile gaming has carved out a big share in the global gaming market. As more powerful phones get introduced, mobile games are becoming increasingly sophisticated. With this in mind, Royce Disney has come up with Mobcrush, a platform for live streaming of mobile games.

                    Mobcrush enables users to broadcast, watch and chat about games played and streamed in real-time. Similar PC based live streaming platforms, such as Twitch, were bought for almost $1 billion by Amazon last year. And, Mobcrush has shown potential as it has already raised $15 million from various investors.

                    10. Fuse

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                      If you are an app designer or a developer, watch out for Fuse. Fuse is a UX tool suite that helps you create beautiful, smoothly animated user experience in native mobile apps. This app comes with visual tools that facilitate the collaboration between designers and developers.

                      It allows you to create, edit and preview your app in real-time on multiple devices simultaneously. Founded by a group of experienced designers, Fuse has received funding from Northzone and Alliance Ventures.

                      Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm9.staticflickr.com

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                      Last Updated on August 25, 2021

                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

                      As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

                      Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

                      According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

                      “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

                      A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

                      What Is Your Personal Brand?

                      “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

                      Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

                      Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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                      I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

                      A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

                      Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

                      Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

                      Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

                      In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

                      According to Castrillon,[2]

                      “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

                      The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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                      As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

                      In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

                      “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

                      When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

                      The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

                      Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

                      The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

                      5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

                      These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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                      1. Set Your Personal Goals

                      What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

                      2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

                      Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

                      1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
                      2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
                      3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
                      4. What makes you different from others like you?

                      The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

                      3. Write Your Professional Story

                      Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

                      4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

                      Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

                      5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

                      A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

                      The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

                      Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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                      As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

                      Other People’s Stories

                      Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

                      Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

                      Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

                      “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

                      So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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