2013 Startup Superlatives!

By December 23, 2013 Blog, Special Issues No Comments

The writers team of CORE works hard to compile over very own list of Startup Superlatives of the year 2013! What are “The Most xxx” startup out there in the world? Check them out, and don’t miss anything amazing before 2013 ends!

1. How did I not think of that?: BeerGram

2. Most Ambitious – “Get Water! For India

3. Most Essential During Finals – Noisili

4. Most Underrated – Hipmunk

5. Most Controversial – LuLu

6. Most Dubious – Third Love

7. Likely to be forgotten in 2014: Distractify

beergramHow did I not think of that?: BeerGram

By Bob Hackett

Nothing says friendship like a cold, frothy pint. It’s your birthday? Here, have a drink. Got a promotion? Bottom’s up. Tough day? Drown your sorrows. BeerGram is more than a social network, it’s – at its finest – a truly liquid network, in every sense of the phrase.

The startup, which was launched by Andrea Sanchez two years ago in Austin, Texas, serves as a discovery engine for beer and other beer enthusiasts, through Foursquare-like public check-ins, as well as a means of staying in touch with friends. Piggybacking on the craft beer boom, Beergram also provides breweries and consumers with a user-generated database of reviews. The venture leaves me smacking my head to hangover-like effect: Why didn’t I think of that? As their website puts it: “Because being “liked” by your “friends” is nice, but getting real beer from real friends is better.”

Cheers.

Most Ambitious – “Get Water! For India

Get Water

By JyHyun Jamie Song

“Get Water! For India” is a free iOS game created this year by Decode Global in partnership with Charity: Water. Decode Global is a Montreal-based start-up that specializes in developing mobile games for social impact; their mission is to create fun games that “make the world a better place”. In the game, “Get Water!” the player has to help Maya, a girl who struggles to go to school because she has to collect water, and manages to attend after an action-packed adventure.

The game’s mission is to increase Indian females’ access to education and clean water. Although “Get Water! For India” may appear as a naïve approach to the grand issue of water shortage, it  raises people’s awareness about the issue in a fun way. Furthermore the game is helping the situation indirectly, as Charity: Water is working with 100 villages in India. Not bad for playing a game, right?

 

Most Essential During Finals – Noisili

By Jiaying Lim

noisli

Finals period is characterized by sleep deprivation, abject misery, and the constant struggle to keep focused. Founded this September, Noisili with its sleek, minimalist design, offers a slew of background noises to enjoy such as chirping birds, rain (a spectrum of light drizzle to noisy thunderstorm), crackling fire and coffee shop buzz. Better yet, try all of them together!

This is a great way to focus on work. There is even a simple text editor for distraction-free writing. The background colours change imperceptibly and although chromotherapy may not have rigorous scientific evidence backing it up, it’s easy on the eyes and fun to use.

Definitely a charming site to keep in mind for the next finals period!

Most Underrated – Hipmunk

hipmunksuitcase310

By Will McAuliff

Having already received numerous accolades from ForbesBusiness Insider and Entrepreneur, you may be wondering why Hipmunk is listed as our “Most Underrated” startup of 2013? Let’s be honest: when you explain that Hipmunk is a company that offers a hotel and flight search service intended to make travel easy and simple, most people would respond, “Why does the world need another way to buy travel?”. The truth is that the product they offer is miles ahead of their competitors: instead of painfully clicking through endless pages of search results, Hipmunk’s search algorithm only presents the most relevant results.

Based on the assumptions that you might prefer certain airlines, and that most travellers avoid flights that leave early, arrive late, and are more expensive, Hipmunk collapses undesirable flights away from view, leaving the options you’re probably most interested in. Steve Huffman, cofounder of Hipmunk, says that their service is able to collapse between 70% and 90% of all search results, taking the hassle out of travel planning.

The next time you need to get somewhere, forget the other travel sites and give Hipmunk a try!

Most Controversial – LuLu

by James Xue

Lulu_app_logo

Ever wish there was a Yelp listing for that crush of yours? Well now there is – if you’re a girl. Lulu is a women-only mobile app that allows ladies to log in with their Facebook information, and rate men based on commitment, appearance, sex, and manners. The pre-set hashtags range from positive attributes such as #kinkyintherightways, to not so positive (#ownscrocs). Alison Schwartz explains the motivation behind creating the app: “You wouldn’t hire a babysitter without a reference. Why wouldn’t you get references for relationships?”

Of course, none of your lady friends will admit to using the app, despite 3 million users, encompassing 1 in 4 women in college. After all, the app has certainly raised a few questions. As a guy, should it be right for a girl to “study” me before the first date? Why doesn’t the same app exist for men – gender equality, right? Does it overtly encourage women to put down men for the sake of revenge?

Some have said that the app is empowering women, affording them the opportunity to get their digital revenge against men who have traditionally dominated the ‘hook-up culture’. How does this affect the lives of the men reviewed? Should it even be allowed in Apple’s App Store?

 

Most Dubious – Third Love

third love

By Jiaying Lim

Oxford’s Word of the Year is “selfie” – and no wonder. I can’t count the number of times I’ve spotted students stopping mid-stride to contort their faces for their camera, or attempting to surreptitiously look nonchalant while taking it. Launched in September 2013 with a $5.6 million seed round, the startup Thirdlove capitalizes on our obsession, taking it to a new level.

The app tackles sizing issues that often frustrates the online shopper. Users are able to personalize bras by taking two selfies of their chest, for computer vision to determine the custom measurements.

If their computer algorithm truly works, it may be a coup for the online shopping industry, applicable for all sorts of clothing. It’ll be interesting to see if this catches on but for now, privacy is naturally a HUGE concern. As a commenter on a Business Insider profile snarkily expressed, “Chances that I will send strangers photos of my breasts: Zero.”

 

Distractify

Likely to be forgotten in 2014: Distractify

by Bob Hackett

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy a good listicle or [insert cute animal] gif as much as the next person. And I agree with Jonah Perretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, when he invokes the Parisian cafe defence of his media venture – that “you don’t become stupid when you turn away from the philosophy [of Sartre] and pet the dog.” The model seems to work; but I’m wary. As social networks compete to be the best source for news consumption, and as new media startups exploit quirks in their code, the BuzzFeed bandwagon may crowd out. It is, I think, inevitable. Google, too, has been known to throw gamers for a loop.

So have at it for now, Distractify and ViralNova and the rest. I will like you for daily fun, but be prepared for capricious code changes. Remember the fate of Zynga.

Compiled and Edited by Krishna Vadakattu, Exchange Student in SEAS