Roi Koi is a very simple concept. At its core, it is a leaderboard that anonymously rates people you know based on one single criterion — “Would I hire this person at a job and work with them.” Read More
TechCrunch » Social
The bright minds at Stanford who created Omlet have a different idea about how communicating — and more importantly, the data that goes along with communication — should be handled these days. Read More
TechCrunch » Social
Trusper, an app that collects lifestyle tips from users, has gained five million users in eight months. The initial numbers look promising: Users view over 10 million tips per day, outpacing similar lifestyle apps.
And this all happened in beta, through word-of-mouth marketing.
Trusper’s tips primarily focus on health and beauty, but the service plans to expand into other categories, such as home and garden and relationships. Frequent submitters earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards and discounts at many popular stores.
Now, backed by $ 6.17 million in funding led by DCM, Charles Schwab, and other investors, Trusper’s gone gold. The app officially launched today and is available on the App Store and Google Play.
The app’s users are mainly women aged 18 – 45. While Trusper said in its press release that “monetization is not currently [its] primary focus,” it also said it is currently in talks with unspecified companies to allow sponsored tips and offers. By comparison, it took Twitter four years to add sponsored tweets and Facebook seven years to add advertising to users’ news feeds.
It’ll be interesting to see how Trusper implements these sponsored tips without risking the app’s main draw: tips submitted by users for users. But for now, it looks like the company could create a tip on how to drive product adoption with little marketing.
VentureBeat » Entrepreneur
If you want your crowdfunding campaign to accept Bitcoin, Crowdtilt has you covered.
The crowdfunding company today launched CrowdtiltOpen, an open source crowdfunding solution that enables anyone to crowdfund anything on their own sites. It’s the polished version of Crowdhoster, which the Y Combinator startup unveiled and beta tested last year.
The CrowdtiltOpen feature list is huge: It supports Bitcoin payments, recurring billing, analytics integration, and all sorts of customization options. Registered non-profits can use it to produce tax-deductible receipts for crowdfunded donations. Entrepreneurs can easily turn a campaign that’s hit its funding target into an e-commerce landing page, like the Beep campaign, which reached its goal after an hour or two.
If there’s a feature you want that isn’t available, you can always build it, because CrowdtiltOpen is open source. There’s room for premium services, too: BackerKit, for example, is building a customer relationship management system on top of CrowdtiltOpen. That’ll cost a bit extra, but Beshara promises the core version of CrowdtiltOpen will always be free.
“Crowdtilt exists because of the open source tools that we’ve been able to make use of, so this is our way to give back to the open source community,” Crowdtilt CEO James Beshara told VentureBeat. “It will produce wildly more interesting results by giving it away for free than if we tried to monetize this thing.”
CrowdtiltOpen’s support for Bitcoin has the potential to simplify international crowdfunding. If you’re in Mexico or Indonesia and can’t find a credit card processor to help with your project, you can choose to accept Bitcoin as your sole crowdfunding payment option. Or if you want to accept payments from any country in the world, you can add Bitcoin support alongside other payment options.
“Crowdtilt loves Bitcoin — and that’s not just plastic bullshit corporate sponsorship of something that has become trendy,” said Beshara. “As developers, we’ve been big fans of Bitcoin for a long time.”
Hundreds of folks ran crowdfunding campaigns using Crowdhoster, but now that Crowdtilt is no longer vetting the campaigns, Beshara expects a flood of activity. He’s particularly excited about CrowdtiltOpen’s implications for commercial, civic, and political crowdfunding, which are currently overshadowed by crowdfunding for creative projects.
“Nike wouldn’t use Kickstarter or Crowdtilt or Indiegogo, but it definitely would host a crowdfunding campaign on its own domain,” he said. “A couple big brands have turned to crowdfunding but haven’t truly embraced it … this new tool allows them to control the thing … they want to control the most: their brand.”
There’s a queue of 4,000 organizations ready to use CrowdtiltOpen, said Beshara, including some major brands (he declined to disclose which ones).
“I think crowdfunding is going to be 15 percent of commerce on the web in five years — it’s going to be so massive,” Beshara told VentureBeat. “But the only way to really rip the lid off this thing it to provide accessible tools.”
Crowdtilt is based in San Francisco, Calif., and currently has 34 employees. It raised $ 23 million in December, bringing its total capital raised to $ 37 million.
VentureBeat » Entrepreneur
Bing launched three news Windows Phone 8 apps Tuesday: Bing Food and Drink, Bing Health and Fitness, and Bing Travel.
In addition to the new apps, Microsoft's search engine updated its existing Windows Phone 8 apps, and announced that all Bing apps will now sync across Windows 8 devices.
"Set up your favorite cities for weather, pick your favorite sports teams, chose the news topics you want to follow, and those things will be with you at your PC at work, on your Windows 8 tablet in the living room or on your Windows Phone when you are on the go," Bing said in a blog post announcing the changes. Read more...
Snippit is a just-launched app offering a twist on photo-sharing.
The idea is pretty straightforward — instead of sharing a photo on its own, Snippit allows users to add a 4-to-10-second clip of their favorite song. The song can be something that’s downloaded on their phone, or they can select from the 30-second song previews that are available on iTunes (yep — a clip of a clip). They can also add text captions and location check-ins and tag friends.
Co-founder and CEO Joe Grano said he first started thinking about this on a trip back to New York (he currently works in Los Angeles), when he realized that instead of just declaring “I’m in New York!” or posting an NYC photo on Facebook, he wanted to share a clip of a relevant Jay-Z song. More broadly, he suggested that this is a way to give a picture more personality and emotion than it would have on its own.
This is one of those social media ideas that might be a little too simple, but hey, simplicity can be an advantage, particularly in smartphone apps. The photo/music combinations that I saw in the app today were pretty fun, and the limit on the clip length makes it easy to browse the feed without getting bogged down.
The length, Grano said, also means that Snippit’s usage falls under fair use, so the company doesn’t need to negotiate deals with the recording companies (and can therefore avoid the licensing costs that other online music services struggle with). At the same time, since users can buy the full song from iTunes (earning revenue for both the record company and a small affiliate fee for Snippit), he suggested the company could start making promotional deals with those same companies.
Given Snippit’s dependence on downloaded music and iTunes, I asked Grano how he felt about the rise of subscription music services like Spotify. He replied that with the iTunes preview integration, users don’t have to own a song to use it, and that if Spotify or other services want to release an open API, “I think it would be great for the app.”
The company has raised $ 500,000 in seed funding. It was basically “an internal family round,” Grano said, with investors including his father Joseph Grano, CEO of Centurion Holdings and former chairman of UBS Financial Services.
Apparently, Grano has been building Snippit while also working as an executive assistant at production company Leverage Management, whose credits include the TV show Entourage. It’s been like “doing two full-time jobs,” he said, but in about a month he’ll leave Leverage to focus entirely on the startup.
TechCrunch » Social
Chrome 32 Launches With Tab Indicators For Sound And Video, Improved Malware Blocking, And New Win8 Metro Design
Google today released the latest stable version of its Chrome browser. Version 32 includes many of the features that recently arrived in the beta channel, including improved malware blocking and tab indicators for when a site is playing sound, accessing the webcam and sending video to your Chromecast. Google uses a speaker icon, blue rectangle and red dot to indicate these different functions.
Those indicators are a godsend for anybody who has ever tried to figure out which tab suddenly started playing music or a video. Google first started playing with this idea in early 2013, but the beta only got this feature in November.
This new version also includes Google’s new malware blocker, which arrived in the experimental Canary build of Chrome last October. With this, Google will automatically block any downloads its systems have flagged as malware.
For Windows 8 users, the new version now sports a new look in “Metro” mode (Google still uses that term, even though Microsoft itself has moved away from it and left it rather unclear what the new terminology should be). In Metro mode, Chrome now looks like ChromeOS with its integrated app launched on Windows. In previous versions, the Metro mode simply presented users with the regular Chrome interface. This never looked quite right, but with this new interface, Google is actually using the Metro mode to its advantage and is basically bringing ChromeOS to Windows.
Also new in this version is support for Chrome’s “supervised users” feature, which is officially still in beta. With this, family members can check on a kid’s browsing history, for example, and set up site restrictions through chrome.com/manage.
As always, this release also includes a good number of security fixes (21 in total), as well as stability and performance updates.
Ion Interactive CTO and marketing technologist Scott Brinker has released version 3.0 of his “marketing technology landscape supergraphic.”
It’s certainly super.
The icon-strewn graphic contains a staggering 947 companies that offer mostly web-based software as a service for marketers — yet another indication of the degree to which technology has consumed the marketing industry.
Brinker’s first version, from 2011, contained just 100 companies. The second, a year later, ballooned to about 350 companies. And the current third version more than doubled, as the art of marketing is quickly being supplemented by science — or at least data — in every space, including what Brinker chose as his six major categories: marketing experiences, marketing operations, “backbone platforms” such as CRM, infrastructure such as databases, marketing environments such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and a new category of marketing middleware that ties it all together.
Those six classes are further divided into 43 subcategories, making it a very forgivable offense for a marketer to feel like he or she should have attended comp sci classes in college — and very smart for future MBAs and growth hackers to acquire a very solid technical underpinning of knowledge as they learn their trade.
But don’t think that 947 companies is the full story.
“[This] comes with one main caveat: this graphic is not comprehensive,” Brinker posted this morning. “It is just a sample, albeit a large one, of the many different kinds of software available to marketers today. There are many more companies — indeed, entire categories — that were not included, merely due to the constraints of time and space. And by the time you read this, it will inevitably be out of date due to new launches, re-launches, expansions, exits, and mergers. The pace of change in this field is breathtaking.”
So is, perhaps this graphic. Click for a full-size version:
VentureBeat » Entrepreneur