Monday, September 30, 2013

Deka: The World's First Customizable Bluetooth Headset

Bulky and boring. That's how Bluetooth headsets have been since – well, forever. Entrepreneur Erik Adams wanted to make Bluetooth headsets more stylish and personal, so he founded Deka.

The world's first customizable Bluetooth headset, Deka is on a mission to disrupt the Bluetooh industry. With swappable faceplates, Deka lets you change the look of your Bluetooth headset to match any setting, occasion, and even your outfit. Some of the designs that Deka has created so far include a skull, a daisy, and a basketball, but the possibilities are endless with 3D printing. Moreover, you can send the company your very own design for a faceplate that's uniquely yours.

Deka is more than just a cool-looking gadget, though. Adams and his team are serious about quality and comfort, so they've sought the best hardware and software engineers to build a topnotch product. Deka headsets are equipped with Bluetooth 3.0, a microphone, an HD speaker, a multi-color light visualizer, a sound sensor, and the latest noise cancellation technology. Deka is also coated with Liquipel to protect it from sweat, rain, and accidental drops of water.

To make Deka one of the smartest Bluetooth headsets on the market, Adams and company created an accompanying mobile app to let users get the most out of the product. With the Smart Mobile App, users can find their misplaced Deka headset with the touch of a button; change the light color of the headset base; and set color alert notifications for text messages, voice calls, and emails. In addition, the app allows for hands-free voice activation, so users can answer or ignore calls and carry out other actions without lifting a finger, literally.

Deka is now raising funds on Indiegogo and has raised $13,356 of its $100,000 goal as of this writing. Early birds can get their own Deka Bluetooth headset for $48.

New App Makes Creating Great Video a Cinch

Thanks to modern technology, it's now easier than ever to film all of the exciting and wonderful moments in our lives. But have you ever recorded a special occasion or a fun experience only to discover later that a lot of your footage is shaky and unwatchable? That's what happened to Alexandra Kinloch while she was on holiday. Unable to share her experiences with her friends and family, she founded Cinch with Ben Rashleigh to help everyday people make remarkable video.

Currently available on the App Store for free for a limited time, Cinch makes fantastic video easy for everyone by providing onscreen guides and tips that help you get that perfect shot. You can then edit your footage by trimming and rearranging clips. Once you're done, you can share your video instantly to YouTube and Facebook or via email, all from within the app.

Kinloch, Rashleigh, and the rest of the Cinch team believe that everyone is capable of making great film.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sold: The App That Makes Online Selling Really, Really, Really Easy

We all have items that we no longer want or need. Stuff that we've only used a few times and other people will still find useful. Fortunately, it's easy to find new homes for our things these days, with sites such as eBay and Craigslist. But if you're too lazy or busy to sell your stuff online, there's now an app for that. Enter Sold, which sells your things for you. From pricing your items to finding a buyer to getting you paid, Sold takes care of pretty much everything.

Founded by Matthew Blackshaw, David Lakatos, and Tony DeVincenzi, Sold launched on iOS in April and recently arrived on Android. The co-founders believe that trying to outdo established e-commerce sites wouldn't add value to the marketplace. Instead, they decided to focus on simplifying the online selling process.

So how does Sold work? Post an item (for free) and Sold's pricing engine will generate “the perfect price” right away or within a day. There are no shipping costs or extra fees, and once you accept the price, the Sold team will start looking for a buyer. According to the startup, selling an item can take up to a few days, but really popular items can be sold in an hour.

Once you sell your item, Sold will send you a free, pre-paid, pre-insured, and tracked box filled with bubble wrap. Pack up your item, schedule a pickup or drop it off, then get paid via bank transfer or mail.

Sold says it currently has over 2,000 unique products in its marketplace. The average purchase price of items is about $260, and the most expensive item it has sold so far was an $8,000 watch. Sold focuses on “things of value” such as electronics (tablets, smartphones, laptops, cameras, headphones) and accessories (sunglasses, handbags, watches, shoes).

Find Online Courses and Learn New Skills With SkilledUp

These days, you can learn just about anything from the Internet. However, searching the web for online courses and tutorials can be a tedious process, and you often get different and contradicting views on how to do something. Enter SkilledUp, a website that aims to make it easy to find the best online courses. Run by a small team in NYC with members across the world, SkilledUp lets anyone search over 70,000 courses from more than 300 providers, including Treehouse, Lynda, and Udemy, just to name a few. You can find courses about blogging, marketing, HTML, SEO, graphic design, and more, and filter search results according to course type and price.

SkilledUp also has a Learning Hubs section where experts review courses, offer tips, interview professionals, and round up the best online classes and courses out there. The SkilledUp team believes that online courses can help anyone gain and improve their skills and provide more tangible results than degree-focused options.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Turn Your Dream Dress Into Reality With DressMyWay

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, DressMyWay is a personalized dress design and production company dedicated to helping girls and women create one-of-a-kind dresses for their special occasions. Ladies often have dream dresses in mind, whether it's for their quinceaƱera, prom, or wedding. The problem is, they won't always find what they want in stores. And while having a dress custom-made is an option, it can be expensive. Enter DressMyWay, which aims to revolutionize the custom dress creation process.

With DressMyWay, clients retain full creative control and are paired with a professional fashion designer to help them bring their vision and ideas into reality. The company involves the end customer in every step of the design process, from sketching to fitting. DressMyWay also keeps its frocks affordable by cutting out the middlemen and relinquishing rush charges and alteration fees. Prices start at $299 to $1,099, depending on the type of dress. Clients will know up front how much their one-of-a-kind dress will cost.

“People tend to think that personalization and customization is time-consuming and costly, but we show them the experience is not so overwhelming and actually quite affordable,” says founder Jay Wang, who's originally from China.

DressMyWay is not only inexpensive, it's fast, too. Custom-made dresses usually take five to eight months to create, but DressMyWay has developed a streamlined process that reduces turnaround times to three months. The results are just as professional, though – the company promises flawless fit and beautiful construction for each dress.

DressMyWay has partnered with several Art Institute locations around the US to provide new growth opportunities for up-and-coming designers. According to Wang, “We want both our designers and customers to be able to pursue their dreams, and when we are able to successfully empower somebody, they bring that passion right back to empower us in return.”

Startup Treats Book Lovers to Unlimited Reads

Founded in 2012, Oyster is a New York startup that seeks to “evolve the way people read.” With a belief that a well-rounded, well-read life is a richer one, Oyster offers unlimited access to more than 100,000 books for $9.95 a month, with new titles being added regularly. Currently available by invitation only for iPhone and iPod Touch, the app gives bookworms one-tap access to infinite ebooks and lets users share their favorite reads and explore their friends' recommendations. Oyster also promises a better reading experience with attractive design and typography.

Based in New York's NoMad neighborhood, the Oyster team is composed of avid readers with technology backgrounds who have all contributed to products used by millions of people every day. Their mission is to build a reading experience that is both communal and personal and can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Oyster is backed by some of the best in technology today, including Founder Collective, SV Angel, Founders Fund, Sam Altman, and Chris Dixon.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ansa Enables Off-the-Record Messaging

Ansa is a new messaging app that lets you communicate like you do in person – that is, without leaving a trace. With Ansa, you can go “off the record” and every message will be automatically deleted 60 seconds after it's been read. The app also has a self-destruct timer that lets you send photos, drawings, and videos that disappear seconds after delivery. Messages and media that are deleted from you and your recipient's phones are deleted from Ansa's servers at the same time. Meanwhile, on-the-record conversations are stored on the startup's servers, allowing you to view your conversation history.

But messages that you've already sent days or months ago can still be deleted, if you wish. Called synced deletion, the feature not only removes old messages from your phone, it also deletes them from your recipient's phone.

Ansa is now available on Android and iOS. The eight-person company is based in San Francisco, California.

KidZui Makes the Internet Safer for Children

The Internet is an excellent resource, but it can also be a scary and unsafe place, especially for children. Parents who are concerned about their kids stumbling across inappropriate YouTube videos or chatting with strangers online may want to check out the KidZui browser, a free, award-winning Internet browser for little ones.

With the KidZui browser, parents can relax while their children have fun and explore the Internet safely. The KidZui browser only features content that have been pre-screened and approved by KidZui's editorial staff and advisory board of parents and teachers. The millions of YouTube videos, games, and websites accessible via the KidZui browser are all child-friendly, and hundreds more are added each month to keep the content fresh and engaging. In addition, parents receive weekly activity reports so they can keep tabs on their child's evolving interests. Today, the KidZui community is composed of over a million kids and parents, with tens of thousands of new users downloading the browser each month.

Based in San Diego, California, KidZui was founded in 2006 by Cliff Boro and Thomas Broadhead on the belief that the Internet should be “big, fun, and safe” for children. The company also developed the kid-friendly websites and ZuiTube is where children can watch and discover child-friendly YouTube videos, while ZuiGames hosts online games that young ones can play without registering or downloading anything. KidZui has released the ZuiTube app for iPhone as well, allowing kids and parents to watch videos anywhere.

KidZui has been featured in TechCrunch, USA Today, CNET, The Wall Street Journal, and more. The company has won the NAPPA Gold Award for Best Children's Software, the Parents' Choice Award for Best Website, and the Editor's Choice Award from Children's Technology Review. KidZui is backed by several investment groups, including Scholastic, Emergence Capital Partners, Maveron, Mission Ventures, and First Round Capital.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Adly: Sparking Branded Conversations Between Celebs and Fans

Thanks to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more, fans are now able to get closer to their favorite celebrities and learn what they're wearing, where they're going, and what's going on in their daily lives. In short, celebrities have become more accessible. Adly, a startup based in Los Angeles, realized the potential of working with celebrities through social media to spark engaging, branded conversations.

Adly helps brands find the right celebrities that speak to their target audience and start authentic online conversations between celebs and their fans. The company claims to have the largest network of celebrity publishers in the digital world. Adly has relationships with 75,000 influencers, 2,000 of whom are celebrities in the traditional sense – that is, those you would recognize if you saw them on the street. Though, the other 73,000 have influence that's useful to advertisers.

“We are a very good mechanism for raising awareness,” says chief executive officer Walter Delph. According to him, Adly's services are similar to that of TV commercials. The average celebrity on Adly has over 1.5 million followers, which is about the same reach as a mid-sized cable network.

Unlike television commercials, however, Adly doesn't just place a brand in front of an audience, but also generates conversation and engagement. Adly tracks these conversations and identifies the factors that make content go viral as well, measuring the reactions and behaviors of consumers for optimization. Depending on the level, an Adly campaign can cost between $25,000 and $500,000.

“We try to market that we are a technology company that provides this consumer insight about celebrities,” says Delph.

This past May, Adly raised $2 million from GRP Partners and Siemer Ventures, bringing its total funding to $7.5 million. The funding will go towards adding more engineers and sales staff to the Adly team. Online Comparison Shopping Made Easy

The industry pioneer in online comparison shopping, provides free and unbiased information about products, services, and merchants to millions of consumers every month. Over the years, the company has established itself as the most trusted and most effective destination for online comparison shopping through constant innovation and a focus on providing the best user experience.

Shoppers use to find and compare millions of products and services in a number of categories, including clothing, books, babies and kids, computers, electronics, home improvement, flowers and gifts, furniture, and more. The website connects consumers to merchants of all sizes, from large companies to smaller local sellers, enabling them to quickly find the right product from the right merchant at the best price.

Specifically,'s services include comprehensive price calculations, product information and reviews, merchant ratings and reviews, side-by-side product comparisons, email notifications, and a storefronts marketplace, where individuals without a website can sell their products.