Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fleex: Learn English Through Subtitled Videos

Based in Paris, France, Fleex aims to help non-English speakers learn English the fun and easy way through subtitled videos. You can stream torrents or watch video files on your hard drive. Or you can choose from Fleex's handpicked selection of YouTube videos, which include popular TV shows and inspiring conferences from around the world.

Fleex uses mixed subtitles based on your ability. Easy words are presented in English, while the more difficult ones are displayed in your native language. As your skills improve, Fleex automatically adjusts the subtitles so you get more and more English. Click any word in the subtitles to find out what it means, how to say it, and what it translates to in your language. Fleex can detect idioms and expressions as well.

New words or phrases can be saved in your personal phrasebook and reviewed later. They are also highlighted in your subtitles to refresh your memory whenever you watch a new video. Fleex is currently available in nearly 30 languages and costs €4.90 per month.

Lockitron: Lock and Unlock Your Door Without Keys From Anywhere

Lockitron is a keyless security system that allows you to access your home sans keys. All you need is your phone and an Internet connection. Using the intuitive app, simply tap the unlock icon to unlock your door and tap the lock icon to lock your door from anywhere in the world. So if you're on the road and suddenly remembered that you left the door unlocked, there's no need to turn around. Lockitron provides peace of mind, letting you see if your door is locked and if it was unlocked by a friend or family member, whether they use their phone or key. You decide who has access to your Lockitron – just enter each person's phone number or email address and you're all set.

Lockitron is compatible with most common deadbolts, fitting over the inside of your current lock in seconds. Using the included Phillips head screwdriver, loosen your deadbolt and slide the included backplate between the deadbolt and the door. Tighten the screws, attach on the rest of the system, and twist to tighten. You can take Lockitron with you when you move, so it's suitable for renters as well.

Lockitron connects to the Internet via built-in Wi-Fi and also works with NFC. Because it can be controlled via app or mobile, it is compatible with any smartphone. Even older phones can use Lockitron through text message commands. In addition, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users can simply walk up to the door to unlock it using Bluetooth 4.0. And with intelligent power management, you don't have to change the batteries for up to a year, and you'll get a notification when it's time. Lockitron uses the same encryption as online banking. In case you lose your phone, you can disable its access by resetting your account password.

Lockitron has been featured in The New York Times, Wired, and Popular Science, among others. You can reserve one for $179.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Family of Luchadores Teaches Kids Spanish and English

Lucha Learning is a series of bilingual educational apps that aims to teach kids vocabulary, numbers, shapes, colors, maths, sciences, and other scholarly basics. Each app features a beautifully designed interface that's easy to use, nurturing motor skills, attention, cognitive thinking, visual processing, language skills, problem solving, logic, and reasoning – all of which are essential to the short and long-term development of children.

Lucha Learning's first app is Lucha Learning Vocabulary, which teaches kids both English and Spanish vocabulary by encouraging them to explore and interact with scenes filled with fun words, graphics, and audio. Children will also encounter the Lucha Learning cast, an extended family of luchadores (Mexican wrestlers) with colorful masks and their trusty sidekick, Chuy the chihuahua (who also wears a mask). The app comes with four bilingual scene packs, and more can be purchased from the App Store.

Lucha means “to strive” in Spanish. Lucha Learning aims to educate and entertain children while helping develop their motor skills at the same time.

Choose Your Own Adventr... on Video

Add some interactivity to your videos and really bring them to life with Adventr (pronounced “adventure”), an interactive video platform based in New York City. Simple and easy to use, anyone can create and share their own interactive, web-native video experiences by merely dragging and dropping clips, without having to download anything or write a single line of code. Interactive videos, or “Adventrs,” can be published on your page, website, social media page, or using enterprise video players for free.

Available only to professionals initially, Adventr is now open to everyone. The platform doesn't just allow you to make fun, interactive videos, but also enables you to see how your videos are performing on your sites and how people are responding in real time. In addition, Adventr provides creative services including production, graphics, editing, creative strategy development, consulting, analytics, and insight reporting.

Adventr was founded by Devo Harris, better known as Devo Springsteen, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer. He has worked with John Legend, Kanye West, Estelle, Consequence, and The Last Poets, among many others. A few years ago, Harris decided to leave music and go to Columbia Business School. But prior to that, he helped form Riot !n Paris, which posted a music video in standard and interactive formats. The interactive version did a lot better, and people began asking to use the technology. But Harris didn't have any technology... yet.

Fast forward to today, and Harris has an MBA and the company to build the technology. Before opening the site to the public, he worked with brands to create videos that boast a 9.5 percent clickthrough rate, which is higher than most ads.

Harris believes that interactive videos are the future. “This isn't about clicking, this is about controlling your content. Your experience is personalized and interactive,” he says.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wheretoget Helps Girls Find That Cute Top They Saw on the Street

Spotted a cute outfit online or on the street but have no idea where to buy it? Wheretoget is here to help solve your fashion woes. Just upload a picture of what you're looking for and the thousands of fashion enthusiasts on the site will help you find it. While it's been dubbed the “Shazam of fashion,” Wheretoget doesn't rely on any fancy algorithms; just real, dedicated people.

Based in Paris, France, Wheretoget was founded by CEO Romain Moyne, who got the idea for the site while working at a fashion magazine called Hypeed. “The most frequent question was, 'Where can I buy this dress?'”

Backed by Alven Capital, Emmanuel Brunet, Fabrice Grinda, and more, Wheretoget currently sees 2.2 million unique visitors per month. According to Moyne, users get an answer within 24 hours on average, with one-third of questions being answered in less than 36 minutes.

Every time a member answers a question, they get points. And if the person who asked the question likes their answer, they get even more points. Those who collect the most points make it onto Wheretoget's weekly, monthly, or yearly leaderboards. “The hundred most active users answered 120 questions on average last month,” adds Moyne.

Fashion enthusiasts can also buy clothes from third-party stores via Wheretoget, which earns a small affiliate fee for every purchase. This setup has received plenty of positive feedback from merchants.

Wheretoget is more than just about users helping each other find outfits, though. It's also a site to get inspired, share fashion tips, and meet like-minded people. Members get their own profile page and can follow celebrities, bloggers, TV shows, or trends. Once they start following something or someone, they'll get notified whenever a new look is posted.

Wheretoget has been featured in StyleCaster, Elle, Mashable, PR Couture, The Next Web, Business Insider, and more.

Moju Is the Perfect Balance Between Photos and Videos

Getting bored with photo filters and six-second videos? Moju is a whole new way to capture and share life's moments. Simply point and shoot up to 24 frames and twist your device left and right to see your images move. Mojus are kinda like those 3D holographic stickers you used to collect as a kid. Use Moju to create selfies in motion or capture your favorite places as you walk down the street.

Moju has raised $1 million from Eugene Jhong, Eduardo Saverin, and Alex Saverin. According to TechCrunch, the funds will be used to build more personalization, automation, and relevance into the app.

“I think what we have is a new content type that is much more expressive than photos and much simpler than videos,” says founder Mok Oh, who graduated from MIT. He adds that photos are often too concise, while even a one-minute video is too long nowadays. Moju hits the sweet spot in between. For now, the free app is only compatible with iOS.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Puzzle Piece: Affordable Tech for Kids With Autism

Puzzle Piece is a new tech startup focusing on children with autism and their families. The company has developed its own 7-inch Android tablet, which members get for just $19. Built by the same manufacturers of major brands, the tablet is equipped with front and rear-facing cameras, a battery that lasts up to 5 hours, and 4GB of space.

The mission of Puzzle Piece is to help families affected by autism grow through affordable technology. For an additional $19 per month, members receive 10 exclusive autism apps each month. These include 5 handcrafted social story apps that teach important social, behavior, and community skills; and 5 ad-free, child-friendly games that are sometimes based off popular titles like Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. In addition to these apps, members can download any app they want from the Google Play Store.

Puzzle Piece has sold 394 tablets and delivered 3,900 apps to date. Members are free to cancel their subscription at any time.

Bigcommerce Helps Online Entrepreneurs Succeed

Founded in 2009, Bigcommerce offers ecommerce software and shopping cart solutions to help entrepreneurs succeed online. With offices in San Francisco, Austin, and Sydney, the company has more than 300 employees and serves over 50,000 clients in nearly 130 countries around the world. Catering to businesses of all sizes, Bigcommerce has processed $2.75 billion in orders to date, with its most successful clients selling over $30 million per year. Found in 25 industries and more than 65 countries, Bigcommerce stores have welcomed 40 million shoppers. Brands and businesses such as Baily Nelson, TK Custom Guitars, Neo Spa, Torie and Howard, Lauren Bergman Jewelry, Bicycles Online, Vavoom Emporium, and more all rely on Bigcommerce.

Anyone can easily build and run their own online store with Bigcommerce. With beautiful themes and point-and-click design tools, you can create a professional-looking store without any design or programming skills. If you do “speak geek,” you can customize your site using HTML, CSS, and WebDAV. Whether you're a business neophyte or million-dollar veteran, Bigcommerce provides you with the tools you need to keep your biz running smoothly and your customers happy. The platform is equipped with built-in marketing, SEO, inventory and order management, and sales recovery tools. If that's not enough, you can integrate industry-leading apps such as Justuno, SearchSpring, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Shopalize, Lexity Live Sales, and hundreds more.

Sellers also get access to the Bigcommerce support team via phone, email, live chat, or social media; thousands of knowledge articles and videos; and the Success Squad, a group of seasoned ecommerce entrepreneurs and marketing experts dedicated to helping Bigcommerce's online merchants become successful. Through regular interactive workshops, you will learn how to set up your store, drive traffic, increase sales, improve your conversion rate, and more.

Bigcommerce was co-founded by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper, who run the company together as co-CEOs.