Friday, October 28, 2011

Get Your Groupon

Pretty much anyone who is computer savvy has heard of Groupon and other group coupon websites. Groupon offers one amazing deal every day in each of its markets. Deals include everything from restaurant certificates to manicures, pedicures, massages and more, for between fifty and ninety percent off retail price. Groupon is the brainchild of Andrew Mason, who is currently the company’s CEO. With a million dollars in seed money from former employee, Eric Lefkofsky, Mason launched the company in 2008.

Businesses in each of Groupon’s markets submit deals they’d like to offer and Groupon selects just one to offer each day. Sometimes national companies, such as and The Gap, offer deals across the country. Deals are typically of two types: a specific service or product at a reduced price, or an amount of money to spend on goods or services. Consumers love Groupons because they offer savings on services and products they normally use as well as the opportunity to try new things without spending a fortune. It also appeals to the bargain hunter inside everyone. The company prides itself on customer service and honesty and does its best to point out any catches plainly up front, so customers are not disappointed with the Groupon experience.

Groupon, which is currently worth more than $1.3 billion, offers deals in forty-three countries, including Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa. The company offering the Groupon deal typically keeps fifty percent of the sale price and Groupon takes the other 50 percent. Each deal has a minimum quantity that must be purchased before the deal becomes active, but meeting the minimum is typically not an issue. Groupon has turned down purchase offers from both Yahoo! and Google. An initial public offering is expected in 2013.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Save Some Green with the GasBuddy App

With gas prices continually fluctuating — and typically on the rise — it’s good to know what the prices are around town before you fill up. This is especially important considering for people who are out of work or struggling to make ends meet. While entrepreneurs Jason Toews and Dustin Coupal were brainstorming about Web start-up ideas in Minneapolis in 2000, they came up with the idea of a website that would help people find the best gas prices in their area. was launched in 2000, relying on user data for up-to-date gas prices. 

While the site was helpful, users needed to write down or remember gas prices until they could get to a computer to input the information. Data was gathered slowly and there were often mistakes since the information was entered at a later date. As mobile apps gained popularity, Toews and Coupal realized that a mobile app could be the solution to their problem. Using the app, users could log in and update gas prices at the pump, rather than waiting until they got home.

The GasBuddy app was introduced for both iPhone and Android in 2009 and quickly became one of the most popular downloads. The app has been downloaded more than six million times and about fifty thousand new downloads occur every day. There is no cost to download the app and there are no advertisements on the app.

For those who need an incentive for taking a moment to enter a gas price to help others save money, the site offers points each time you enter price information. These points can be used for drawings for free gas and other offers. Many “Spotters” update several times a day, updating prices as they drive to and from work or run errands, earning points and helping hard-working people save money.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coherix Seeing the World in Detail

Coherix Inc. creates machines with amazing abilities. Its machines can see to one millionth of a meter – ie, one micron – in three dimensions. Yeah, and you thought Google Earth was cool, huh?

Coherix does this, according to its website, in order to “supply Robust 3D products that enable customers to produce their products with higher precision and with higher yields, leading to high quality products produced at a lower cost per unit.”

The means by which Coherix goes about accomplishing this mission seems to be working, since in September, 2011 (according to this press release) the company received a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract from the U.S. Naval Warfare Center.

This contract was awarded to Coherix for the purpose of enabling the company to “develop a system for Surface Mapping of Corrosion on Complex Curved Surfaces.  Coherix will apply its unique and proprietary 3-dimensional holographic metrology technology, previously delivered by Coherix for precision measurements in worldwide transportation industry manufacturing applications, to provide the Navy with the capability to detect and measure corrosion to the micron level of resolution.”

Coherix developed a method that deploys holographic technology to measure and determine the shapes of “critical mating surfaces ‘where microns matter.’” According to its corporate profile, two relevant fields using its machines are the vehicle and semiconductor industries. In total, the company has developed and field-tested more than 150 functional tools that are being used in more than 3,000 locations across the globe.    

To learn more about Coherix, visit:
abc story
cbs story

Sunday, October 16, 2011

oDesk: Bringing the World Together One Freelancer at a Time

The workforce is changing, and jobs are moving and shifting around. To survive, workers and employers alike have got to be able to adapt and take advantage of this ever-changing environment. oDesk is one of the most effective ways for employers to match up with employees that possess the exact skill sets they are looking for.

oDesk is an online platform that is home to a global job marketplace. It works simply by providing a place for employers to post help-wanted type ads online, which thus simultaneously offers a way for prospective employees to apply for these jobs. Once a contract has been assigned, oDesk tracks an employee's hours worked and takes screen shots of the work being done, giving the employer an effective means to monitor the work as it is being done. oDesk also handles the payment process, and it guarantees that hourly workers get paid. For this, oDesk receives 10% of the payment. There are no other fees.

Created in 2003 by Greek entrepreneurs Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis, the Redwood City, CA company – according to CEO Gary Swart in this article – has at least 1.5 million freelancers working for 250,000 employers. Most of oDesk's employers are small companies and its employees come from all around the world. Employers can find work writing, translating, developing software, statistical analysis and virtual personal assisting.  

People can decry the shifting landscape of employment, of the moving of jobs around the world. People can also celebrate it and take advantage of it. However, what people must not do, is deny it.

To learn more about Odesk, visit:
Interview with Odesk CEO Gary Swart
CNN Odesk Article

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CopyMe: Giving Expert Traders the Power to Build Investment Businesses

Investing is tough. Investing is vital to a happy future. But when done poorly, investment can financially destroy a person. Many do not know where to turn when it comes to investing. However, there is good news, for there is a new technology that is introducing a great number of expert investors into the world, peddling their wares, their skills and their expertise.

The technology is CopyMe, an application that gives individual expert traders the power to showcase their skills and create their own investment businesses, in order to create an additional stream of income.

The application has so much promise that it earned its company, eToro – the world’s largest investment network, – its second consecutive Best of Show award at FinovateFall, a technology awards show.

eToro CEO, Jonathan Assia, was honored to have won the award, saying in this profile, "We are very proud to be recognized by Finovate on both sides of the Atlantic. This award confirms industry endorsement for our vision to enable every expert to easily create their own respectable investment business and to offer potential investors with a fully transparent and performance-based investment alternative."

CopyMe works by giving expert traders access to eToro’s OpenBook, which in turn gives them the opportunity to showcase their trading skills to the more than 1.75 million registered eToro members. As eToro users are able to examine the success of these expert traders, they will be able to sign up the expert of their choice to potentially realize the same levels of profit that the experts do.

To learn more about eToro’s CopyMe, visit:
cnbc Article
Award for Copy.Me
Trends: Finovatefall