Serial entrepreneur with too many ideas rattling around in your head? Then you’re going to like this one: a new mobile app called Elevatr will help you keep track of your inspirations, as well as develop a business model, in order to turn your passing thoughts into plans actually worth pursuing some day.
The beautifully designed app was dreamt up by New York-based David Spiro, a recent college of engineering and business school grad from the University of Michigan. He had spent time working with the standard tools for business model development, including the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas, while in school.
“It became very clear that entrepreneurship – and people inspired by the startup revolution – is more than those actually studying entrepreneurship,” Spiro explains. “I was really inspired to take those tools that I was taught to use, and create a mobile-first product that could apply to more than just those people who were in my classes,” he says.
Having shelved the startup idea he had been working on in college, Spiro finally decided to commit himself to the creation of Elevatr full-time, after first doing some consulting for a local angel following graduation in spring 2012. By the end of the year, he had an MVP ready to go after contracting with Fueled, a mobile app development agency in Soho that had previously built apps for JackThreads and Urban Daddy. Spiro now works out of Fueled’s offices, and has hired a small team (with help from AngelList), including CTO Rafael Amorim.
The product itself is simple. Elevatr is essentially a note-taking app that takes the structure of a traditional business plan and makes it more accessible to design and develop on the smaller screen of mobile devices. After tapping the button to add your idea, the app prompts you to describe the idea in 140 characters or fewer, just like Twitter.
That’s actually a challenge for some entrepreneurs, who can’t seem to condense their business’ idea to a single sentence, as we’ve discovered in the past, much less 140 characters. But Spiro thinks it’s a good first step, noting “if you can’t explain it in less than 140 characters, you probably don’t know what you’re doing.”
On the following screens, you’re walked through the other standard pieces to business-model creation, filling out details as to the target market, market size, competition, differentiation, features and uses, and so on. There’s also plenty of room for free-form note making in Elevatr, so you can really flesh out your ideas and plans.
At launch, the app is designed for personal use, but the team already has the intention to expand its capabilities in the near future. Next week, an option to export your ideas to a responsive website will be introduced, essentially turning your notes into a more fully developed online deck of sorts that you can share with others in order to get feedback. In addition, collaboration will be built into the app, which will allow you to invite others to view or comment on the content, given their permission levels.
Another idea for future expansion is to partner with other companies – agencies like Fueled, for example – giving them access to an administrative interface that would allow them to leverage the service to sort through a larger group of startup ideas, like those submitted as part of a contest, for instance.
That, and some other advanced features, may be paid options in the future, but currently the app itself is a free download here on iTunes.
Elevatr has a small amount of friends and family funding, but is now raising an angel round upwards of $500,000.
Read the original: Elevatr Is A Mobile-First Tool For Startup Business Plan Creation
OpenKit, an open-source social platform for mobile games, is now open to all developers, according to co-founder Peter Relan. The service, first announced in December, has been in private beta since earlier this year. There are apparently 1,500 developers already testing the service.
Relan previously told me that he started OpenKit in response to the shutdown of OpenFeint, the GREE-acquired social platform for mobile games that he co-founded. Developers still need something like this, Relan said, and he wants to build it in a way that’s both “good business and developer friendly.”
OpenKit’s current features include cloud storage (allowing a player to save their game on one device and load it on another), leaderboards and achievements, user authentication (for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter), and plug-ins that connect games with the Unity engine. Plus, it works on both iOS and Android, and it’s being developed as an open-source project, so developers can always take their data elsewhere or use the code to build their own backend service.
OpenKit isn’t live for players yet. Relan told me today that that’s coming in a couple of months. There are more social features planned, but he said he’s specifically waiting to integrate with the Google Games service that’s rumored for the Google I/O conference next week.
Here is the original post: Mobile Gaming Backend OpenKit Now Available To All Developers
While I wish not to throw any more fuel into the fiery fever dream that is Donald Trump, it is important to note the distinct similarities between his recent press release and the wording from an Indiegogo page describing his new platform, FundAnything. The Donald writes:
While Indiegogo’s “Features” page says:
Perhaps the Trumpeter crowdsourced his talking points? Or perhaps he was misled as to which crowdfunding platform he was supporting. Either way, it just goes to show you: if you can’t beat ‘em, copy most of their marketing collateral and the look and feel of their website.
You can check out his new crowdfunding platform, FundAnything, here.
Read more from the original source: Trump-Gasmic Crowdfunding Platform Plagiarizes From Indiegogo
PICT, a San Francisco-based startup that has built a “shoppable photo” technology platform for brands and retailers that embeds smart watermarks into images, is emerging a bit out of stealth mode today with the beta launch of the newest version of its iPhone and web apps.
The company, which we first met as “Dropt” when it graduated out of the AngelPad accelerator last year, is also announcing today that it has raised $1.4 million in seed funding. PICT’s investors include some big names in the tech and retail worlds: Christ Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Kirsten Green’s Forerunner Ventures, New York fashion designer and businessman Steven Alan, Opus Capital, AngelPad, 500 Startups, Gary Vaynerchuk, Scott Belsky, and Seth Berman, among others.
PICT’s co-founder and CEO Brent Locks said in an interview this week that PICT is a B2B publishing and analytics platform that lets brands create “shoppable” photos that can be shared freely across social networks yet still easily bring interested customers click back to where they can make an online purchase. “We integrate with systems like the Magentos of the world, to let product tagging be as simple as tagging people on Facebook,” said Locks, who co-founded PICT with CCO Kele Dobrinski.
PICT currently has a staff of five, and Locks says the new funding will be put toward expanding headcount along with product development including the building of more premium features.
According to Locks, PICT is differentiated from other players in the shoppable images space in large part by its mobile-first focus. “We’re the only one that’s out there in the interactive photo tagging space that is mobile first, as far as I know. We didn’t want to build something with all these bells and whistles and try to figure out how to do mobile subsequently,” he said. “We saw that brands were creating more and more content via mobile devices.”
The product has been used by more than 30 brands in a private beta that’s been running up until now, and the expanded beta launch today means that more brands and retailers can sign up to try out PICT here. Those who participate in the beta are also a few new features, including an overhauled iPhone app for brands, the ability to embed shoppable PICT photos inside Facebook news feed, and e-commerce integrations with Etsy, Shopify, Magento, Demandware, and other e-commerce platforms.
Ultimately, PICT’s team is looking to build a platform that is aimed at the full spectrum of brands in the world, who want to sell things from clothing to food to home goods. “We want to be helpful to billion-dollar businesses down to individual Etsy sellers,” Locks told me. “Our heart is with creatives and makers.” It’s a solid mission, and that along with its savvy investor team and slick-looking technology should make PICT a good company to watch.
Tastebuds, the London-based startup that matches people based on their musical tastes, has been kicking around for a while now. A graduate of the accelerator Springboard (now TechStars London) back in 2011, the company has ploughed along bootstrapped ever since — garnering a not-too-shabby 100,000 registered users along the way. Now the company looks like it’s finally set to step on the gas. Today it’s announcing a $600,000 seed round from Black Ocean, which will be used to launch mobile apps, grow its developer team, as well as formally launching in the U.S.
In addition, Tastebuds is currently developing features to connect members offline through gigs, festivals and music meetups, thus building on its existing online-to-offline social networking proposition.
Originally positioned as a dating site that focused on music as a way of matching prospective dates, Tastebuds appeared to have hit onto something, gaining a reputation for its ability to reach users who wouldn’t normally consider doing the online dating thing. Accordingly, it says that almost half of its users haven’t used a dating website before. However, that appears to have only taken it so far. Online dating is one of the most competitive spaces with very high user acquisition costs and high user churn. So, perhaps smartly, the startup has since broadened out slightly and can now be thought of as a competitor to services like Badoo, along with the usual online dating suspects.
“We first launched as a dating service but we’ve grown way beyond the dating use case,” says co-founder Alex Parish. “The site is designed to make it as easy as possible for people to meet others who share their tastes, in whatever capacity. It’s obviously working in a dating respect as we’ve had numerous weddings off the site.”
To build your profile on Tastebuds, you search for and select your favourite bands/artists. Alternatively, you can import data from your Last.fm account or import your Facebook music-related “Likes”. In addition, you add the usual demographic information required for social networking, along with, crucially, your location — the end goal is to meet people offline, after all. You also get to state if you’re looking for a date or just want to meet like-minded people. Tastebuds then begins displaying potential matches, including which artists you have in common, so that you can start conversing.
You can also “Like” users so that their Tastebuds status updates show up in your news feed, such as what they’ve recently listened to. You can also see any gigs they are planning to attend if they’ve linked their SongKick account.
Finally, last May Tastebuds launched a Spotify app, which essentially embeds the service inside of the streaming music site. As one of the first apps on the platform, around half of its users have come via Spotify, although this has petered out somewhat. “When we launched we were registering thousands of users per day from the app,” says Parish. “This has dropped since the number of apps [on Spotify] has ballooned but the app is still significant for us, making up around a quarter of daily registrations.”
Tastebuds is free to join, although the company has experimented with a number of premium micro-features, such as “Incognito mode”, which hides your online status and enables you to browse profiles anonymously. However, it isn’t ruling out a more standard recurring subscription model in the future. “We’re also going to investigate the possibility afforded by offline events and live music,” says Parish. “The focus until now has mostly been on growth and achieving the right product-market fit.”
As for what’s immediately around the corner for Tastebuds now that it has money in the bank, Parish says that, along with much-needed mobile apps and growing the team, the company is busy “building technology to help people meet offline at live music events which we’re really excited about.”