Thursday, November 27, 2014

Plan V: The Phone Charging Device That Doesn't Need to Be Charged

Eighteen months ago, friends Evan Stuart and Luke Trevitt found themselves in a situation that could have gone terribly wrong. They were stranded in Bogata, Colombia with dead mobile phones and battery packs and they couldn't find their hostel. After hours of navigating dark and dangerous streets and a few close calls, they finally found the place. That night, Stuart and Trevitt decided to create a portable, fail-safe charging device that one can rely on anywhere in the world.

The result is Plan V, which is like a car jumper cable for your phone. Plan V is designed to sit on your keyring and never needs to be charged. No bigger than a normal house key, it's so small and lightweight, you'll forget that it's there until you need it. When you do need it, simply connect a 9 volt battery to the device and plug it into your phone. These batteries are widely available and can be found in convenience stores, gas stations, and supermarkets.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turn Your Child's Best Moments Into a Hardcover Book With BabyBook

Do you have thousands of photos of your baby on your iPhone but can't get around to organizing them? Are you always forgetting to write down the date and event whenever your little one does something exciting? Named one of “10 Apps to Help You Through Baby's First Year” by Mashable, BabyBook by CanDoBaby! lets parents record their child's milestones, organize photos, and print books easily.

When husband and wife team Scott and Elizabeth Valins introduced BabyBook as an idea last year, they received great feedback and encouragement from their users. Unfortunately, in the midst of the launch, the couple lost a pregnancy and Liz was hospitalized for more than three months due to complications. As they worked to get their family back on track, iOS technology evolved and they had to temporarily take BabyBook off the App Store.

In the hospital, the Valinses made a promise to treasure life's important moments. BabyBook helps parents do just that, and now the couple is ready to relaunch the app. Armed with their previous experience and valuable feedback from their users, Liz and Scott have completely redesigned BabyBook. They are currently raising funds on Kickstarter to get the app back into parents' hands as soon as possible.

BabyBook is a fun guide to track and record milestones as your child grows. It is also an easy way to pair these moments with photos. And as the name implies, it enables you to create a professionally printed, hardcover book from your iPhone.

BabyBook is the first app by CanDoBaby! and the company promises there will be more down the line. CanDoBaby! combines good design with smart technology to simplify and enhance the parenting experience. As parents themselves, the CanDoBaby! team understands that parents rely on their phones a lot and is committed to creating mobile apps that make life easier.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

OneSet Is the Vine for Fitness

Need some fitness inspiration to get off your behind? Or perhaps you've been working out and would like to switch up your exercise routine. Enter OneSet, a simple way to learn, inspire, and be inspired.

The self-described “Vine for fitness,” OneSet is an app where users upload 15-second videos of themselves performing individual exercises. Sorted by muscle group or fitness goal, these snippets can be used to find ideas for your next workout or to just stay motivated. Browse videos submitted by the community and upload your own. Create playlists to build a new, customized workout.

Currently a part of the Velocity Garage incubator at the University of Waterloo, OneSet was founded by Amad Abdullah, Shameel Abdullah, Omas Abdullah, Moez Bhatti, and George Xu. The app will be launching soon on Google Play and the App Store. You can sign up on the OneSet website to get access to the beta version.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vidyard: Smarter Video Marketing

Based in Kitchener, Ontario, Vidyard is the world's leading video marketing platform. You may be churning out videos as part of your marketing strategy, but your videos are useless if they're not driving business. Vidyard equips you with the tools you need to take your video marketing to the next level – and turn viewers into customers.

In addition to hosting your video content, Vidyard shows you how your viewers are interacting with it so you can continuously improve your marketing strategy based on analytics. See exactly who's watching what content and for how long, and review your video data for trends to make informed decisions. You can customize your video player to match your branding and make changes to your videos on the fly – any fixes are then instantly reflected across all embed locations.

Vidyard also lets you track each viewer's attention span, video viewing history, unique click-through behavior, and location. You can see when prospects share your videos, and which individual video assets contribute to ROI. All viewer data can be pushed into your marketing automation platform – Salesforce, Eloqua, Marketo, MailChimp, and HootSuite are some of the marketing tools Vidyard integrates with.

Aside from getting to know your viewers, Vidyard enables you to generate leads with email gates and custom forms. All collected contact information is pushed directly into the existing records of your MAP and CRM systems for better segmentation and scoring. You can also optimize your videos by split-testing splash screen images, creating a customized video hub on your website, and managing your YouTube presence from the Vidyard dashboard.

Vidyard is trusted by Qvidian, Rockwell Automation, The Juno Awards, Lionbridge, Deltek, Taulia, TribeHR, and more. The company has been featured in several media outlets including Entrepreneur, Forbes, TechCrunch, the Salesforce Blog, MarketingProfs, The Record, ClickZ, Marketing Land, and ReelSEO.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Turn Your Phone Photos Into a Beautiful Photo Book With SimplePrints

The highest-rated photo book app in the App Store, SimplePrints is the fastest way to turn your photos into a printed album. Create a professional-looking photo book in minutes using the photos from your mobile phone, Facebook, Instagram, or Dropbox. All books are printed on FSC-certified archival quality papers by state-of-the-art HP Indigo digital presses, then hand-bound by professional book binders in California. Your photo book, which may contain up to 200 pages, arrives in your mailbox within just four to seven business days. SimplePrints also takes pride in its exceptional service and tells customers to “expect to be treated like family.”

SimplePrints was incubated at the Institute of Design at Stanford University where the founding team spent one year interviewing families about how they stay in touch and pass down their stories. From there it was discovered that photo books were one of the best ways to share family memories, but people were often daunted by how difficult it was to make a great photo book. Thus, SimplePrints was born.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DogVacay: Find a Caring Sitter for Your Pup While You're Out of Town

Going on a two-week vacation but leaving Fido at home? Find a responsible, loving dog sitter in your neighborhood on DogVacay, an online community of tens of thousands of dog lovers and professional sitters across the US and Canada.

Forget the expensive, impersonal kennels – DogVacay has over 20,000 trusted and insured dog sitters who are ready to care for your pooch like a member of their family. DogVacay is a safe, affordable, and convenient way to make sure your best friend is in good hands while you're away. Simply search your city and state and start browsing hosts in your area. DogVacay rates are cheaper than those of kennels, starting at $25 per night and including free pet insurance and 24/7 customer support. You'll also get daily photo updates of how your pup is doing.

DogVacay makes it easy for dog owners like you to book and pay online and travel with peace of mind. Dogs also love DogVacay because they get personal attention and unlimited belly rubs. In addition, there are no cages and your pet's normal schedule is followed.

DogVacay was founded by a husband and wife team who didn't believe that they should pay hundreds of dollars to leave their pups in a cage at the kennel. They began accepting guest pooches in their own home and realized they were on to something. Thousands of dog lovers eventually applied to join the community. Recently, DogVacay announced that it had booked a total of 1 million nights since its inception in 2012.

DogVacay has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Inc., The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NBC, CNN, Fox, USA Today, ABC, and CBS. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, just a couple of blocks from the beach, and employs more than 50 dog-loving employees.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

SLC Startup Creates a Battery Pack That Charges Up Crazy Fast

Who hasn't wished their devices would hurry up and finish charging already? In this modern, fast-paced world, who has time to wait? Luckily for us impatient, always on-the-go folks, Salt Lake City-based startup Power Practical has come up with a solution.

Meet the Pronto, the world's fastest-charging portable battery pack. Available in two models, the Pronto 5 and the Pronto 12, it can store 3-9 recharges in just an hour. With the Pronto 12, you get enough juice to fully charge an iPhone 5 in only 5 minutes.

Most universal battery packs allow you to charge on-the-go but take several hours to charge. Being stuck to the wall defeats the purpose of portable power. Power Practical is on a mission to fix this problem by developing a battery pack that charges insanely fast – the Pronto charges up to 12 times faster than other batteries on the market.

To achieve this super fast charging design, the Power Practical team had to find battery cells that could safely receive large amounts of power. They chose a very high-quality lithium polymer cell that is more powerful than cells found in other battery packs, then created custom circuit boards that charge up the cells quickly.

Both Pronto models have a virtually indestructible hard-anodized aluminum enclosure and a protective cap with an internal silicone seal to protect the Pronto's USB ports and internal parts from the elements. Two custom LED dials display the battery capacity and how fast the battery pack is charging. A durable nylon strap holds the protective cap in place and doubles as a carrying band. The Pronto 12 is equipped with additional features including 12V output to charge larger devices such as laptops and DSLR cameras and dual USB ports for simultaneous charging of two devices.

Power Practical is a group of tech and outdoor lovers who believe that charging your gadgets should be easy and convenient.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Safe Driving: There's an App for That

Don't text and drive. Everybody knows that. Yet so many drivers, especially younger people, still do it. To discourage drivers from grabbing their phones while they're behind the wheel, XL Team in the Netherlands and KNS in Romania have developed SafeDrive, a mobile app that rewards users for driving safely.

With SafeDrive, you earn points for not using your phone while driving. You can then use your points to buy discounted products and services from SafeDrive partners. Traffic safety is improved, consumers save money, and businesses get customers. Everybody wins.

You can invite your friends to join SafeDrive and engage in a little friendly competition to see who is the most responsible driver. The app, which is currently available on Android and Windows devices, also keeps a log of all your trips and points.

SafeDrive is a winner of the 2014 AT&T Connected Intersections traffic safety tech challenge and was named the number one mobile app at the 2014 Webstock Awards.