Monday, June 24, 2013

Cody: A Fun and Non-Intimidating Fitness App

Founded by former Microsoft product managers Paul Javid and Pejman Pour-Moezzi, Cody is a “fun, light way to share workouts” with others and celebrate your fitness accomplishments. But before you groan, roll your eyes, and say, “Oh great, another fitness app!,” let it be known that Cody isn't merely jumping on the mobile fitness bandwagon. In fact, Javid and Pour-Moezzi built Cody to offer an experience other fitness apps don't. While most apps are aimed at hardcore fitness enthusiasts, Cody, on the other hand, focuses on casual fitness enthusiasts by emphasizing sharing instead of data tracking. Think of it as more Vine and Instagram than RunKeeper and Nike+.

Available on iPhone and iPod Touch, Cody lets you log your workouts with not just the conventional measurements of time and distance, but also with visual photos, notes, and locations. Additionally, you can share your workouts to your followers and receive motivation via likes and comments. Workouts can be logged and shared in various activities such as Crossfit, Barre, yoga, weightlifting, walking, running, and cycling. According to the co-founders, 70 percent of the workouts logged on Cody are outside of running and cycling, and 85 percent of user sessions don't even include a workout. Which is actually good news, since Pour-Moezzi and Javid are looking to tap into the fast-growing group fitness movement and build a social fitness experience.

Cody is also a virtual fitness coach that suggests workouts, friends, advice, and other information based on your interests and activity. You can discover workouts and people on your own with the new “Explore” feature or hashtags as well. Because users are grouped into categories, it's easy to find and follow fellow yogis or Crossfitters, for example. And if you're in the mood for something new, Cody has hundreds of workout routines that you can try.

MobiZebra: Product Reviews in the Palm of Your Hand

With so many products, services, and businesses out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed and worse, end up disappointed with what you purchased. Prior to the Internet, we turned to our friends and family for their opinions before we bought something. We still do that today, but also check out review sites for additional information. Now an upcoming mobile app aims to make the modern shopping process even more convenient.

Launching soon on Google Play and the Apple App Store, MobiZebra helps you decide what to buy or what not to buy right in the store. Just scan the barcode of any item to see what other people have to say about it, and whether the general public loves, likes, or dislikes the product. Contributing your opinion to MobiZebra is easy as pie as well. Simply scan the barcode of the product you'd like to review and vote with a tap of a button.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Squrl: All Your Favorite Videos in One App

“Effortless video” app Squrl is a powerful video search and recommendation engine for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. With Squrl, you can watch online videos from all over the web in one place. The app integrates both free and premium video platforms, including YouTube, Netflix, TED, Vimeo, Hulu, Aol,, and more. Aside from providing access to these aggregators, Squrl makes video recommendations based on your interests, what's trending, and what your friends are watching.

Squrl recently got an upgrade, and the new version comes with a more simplified design and improved social features. The revamped easy-to-navigate home screen shows nine options, including recommended and featured videos, your activity, as well as videos you've watched, liked, and added to you queue. Squrl has previously allowed for sharing to Facebook and Twitter, but now you can also share content and send private messages to your friends within the app itself.

Fancy Hands: Personal Assistants for All

Headquartered in New York City, Fancy Hands is a team of personal assistants serving clients around the world. Clients who are normal people like you and I. The startup believes that anyone can benefit from having someone else do small yet necessary jobs for them, such as scheduling an appointment with the dentist or finding a list of reasonably priced places to eat in a certain area. You don't have to be a corporate hotshot or a Hollywood star to have a personal assistant. The idea behind Fancy Hands is that we don't have time to do it all and don't even want to do some of the tasks on our to-do lists. With Fancy Hands, you can free up some time to focus on the things that matter to you the most. Have someone else schedule your meetings, book your reservations, do your research, and more.

Fancy Hands was founded by developer Ted Roden, who got the idea for the startup when he was sitting in a maternity ward with his wife and newborn. He was working for the New York Times and writing a book at the time. With his personal and professional lives fully booked, he wondered when he would ever have time again to do tasks like paying the electric bill or making a dinner reservation. According to Roden, “The idea came totally out of a need. Rather than make a simple phone call to take my wife out to dinner, I built an elaborate platform.”

For the first six months of its launch in 2010, Roden was that elaborate platform's only user. These days, Fancy Hands' thousands of US-based personal assistants work for clients across the globe. Plans start at $25 per month, which will get you five requests. Fancy Hands has been featured in several media outlets, including Lifehacker, Forbes, TIME, The New York Times, and Slate.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Giggem: Matchmaking for Musicians

Headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, Giggem is a new matchmaking service for the music industry. Founded by Emir Turan in mid-2012, Giggem automatically matches musicians, bands, songwriters, and industry professionals, as well as provides them with the tools they need to promote their music and roster.

Once you sign up and input your background, interests, and other relevant info, Giggem's advanced algorithms will recommend people you should connect with. Bands can find members and managers, musicians can find a band to join and meet labels, songwriters can connect with musicians, and industry professionals can discover new talent and promote their roster. In addition, fans can use the site to find new music.

Giggem's algorithms doesn't take into account if you will get along with your matches, but Turan says it helps people find the most likely candidates that they wouldn't have found otherwise. Anyway, users can always search the site manually.

Piccolo Automatically Prints Your Facebook and Instagram Photos for Posterity

If you have a mobile device and social media accounts, then chances are you take a lot of pictures and share them with friends and family online. A newly closed beta launched subscription photo printing service called Piccolo believes that if a picture's worth sharing, then it's also worth keeping – which is why the startup is offering to send prints of your Facebook and Instagram photos to you every month. Starting at $10 per month, Piccolo “prints pictures the same way you share them,” automatically printing the most popular pictures you've shared for the month. You can always choose which photos get printed, though – on the first of each month, Piccolo will send you an email showing the pictures that are about to get printed. You have two days to edit the selection if you're not entirely happy with it. The startup will then send your prints via snail mail.

Piccolo's prints are printed by a professional lab on archival quality paper that will last for generations. After all, isn't that the point of having your photos printed in the first place? You can also have your prints sent to family and friends automatically – just buy them a subscription and all they have to do is confirm their address.

Piccolo was founded by Nicholas Hall and Kate Oppenheim, who came up with the idea for the startup. Oppenheim had been using an IFTTT recipe to automatically save her Facebook and Instagram photos to Dropbox. However, when it came time for her to locate the pictures she wanted to print, she found it “very frustrating” to sort through thousands of files. In addition, existing photo printing sites required her to download her photos and upload them again. With Piccolo, everything is more or less automated. Hall and Oppenheim plan to roll out support for Flickr, Picasa, Tumblr, and other services next.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wix: Easy, Beautiful Websites for Free

In 2006, Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan launched to help people without any design or coding knowledge build beautiful and professional websites. Now the world's leading DIY web publishing platform, Wix boasts more than 35 million users worldwide, with 1.3 million new users joining every month. To date, over 31 million websites have been created by Wix users for their businesses, hobbies, causes, passions, and more. Wix is available in nine different languages and has users in North America, Europe, and Australia, among others.

Easy to use and customize, Wix is the only drag-and-drop website editor that utilizes HTML5 technology. With hundreds of designer templates available, users can literally build a website overnight without designing a graphic or writing a line of code. They're not limited to websites, though, as they can also create mobile sites, Facebook pages, and blogs. In addition, Wix provides reliable, top-grade hosting for free. The Wix team believes that everyone deserves to have their own stunning website at no cost.

The Israeli-American company operates on a freemium business model, earning profit through premium upgrades such as increased storage and bandwidth, e-commerce capabilities, Google Analytics, removal of Wix branding, and more. Last October, Wix launched a new app market and SDK, allowing third-party developers to integrate their apps into the platform and distribute them to Wix's user base.

Employing a team of nearly 400 professionals, Wix is headquartered in Tel Aviv, with offices in New York, San Francisco, and Dnepropetrovsk. The company is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, and Insight Venture Partners. Wix recently announced that it has submitted a draft registration statement to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a possible IPO, which will most likely begin after the SEC completes the review process.

Trunk Club Turns Style-Challenged Men Into Dapper Gents

Men's clothing service Trunk Club was founded in late 2009 to help guys look their best even if they hate or don't have time to go shopping. With Trunk Club, men work directly with a dedicated style expert who will pack their trunk with handpicked clothes that suit their personal style. The garments are sent to the customer's home for free and they have 10 days to try on everything. Customers return any items they don't like using a prepaid FedEx label and only pay for the clothes they keep.

Trunk Club focuses on high-end men's casual wear, carrying over 50 brands including Jack Spade, Eton, and Grant. There are no membership fees, minimums, or long-term commitments, and trunks are only shipped at the customer's request. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Trunk Club employs more than 175 people and is backed by Anthos Capital, US Venture Partners, Greycroft Partners, and more. The service currently has over 30,000 users.