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10 Interesting Startups to Watch Out For This Year

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

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    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

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      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

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        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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                      Nabin Paudyal

                      Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                      Last Updated on November 19, 2018

                      How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

                      How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

                      I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

                      Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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                      1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

                      A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

                      2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

                      Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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                      3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

                      One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

                      4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

                      On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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                      5. Failure is often the best way to learn

                      I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

                      Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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