Halfway to living up to its moniker with over 250 startups, 500 Startups held a series of demo days this week and last, where a group of 33 scrappy startups presented their wares to investors in both New York and San Francisco. As we are wont to do with these things, we visited the 500 Startups offices in Mountain View and interviewed the seven that we thought were the most interesting, from both an investor and consumer standpoint.
The startups chosen spanned all sorts of market territory, from a novel take on media-based eCommerce to a SaaS for farmers, but what they all had in common was a unique approach to the problem they were trying to solve as well as an inkling of that other indeterminate thing that makes a startup great.
Also, I’m pretty sure Switchcam, a startup that allows for a combining of different camera angles on video, should be on here.
Most amazing moment: When ‘Love With Food’ founder admits to following me into the bathroom to tell me about her food related startup, of all things!
Ever wish that you could buy whatever product/outfit/gadget/whatever as you were reading about it online. Well you’re one step closer with startup 72 Lux, which provides publishers with a widget that allows readers to shop directly from whatever web page they’re reading, without taking them off the page. Nifty.
“Instagram for reviews” Tiny Review allows people to express what they feel or think via mobile in three lines or less. After a little over three weeks in the iOS app store, the modest startup has about 25k users, and that’s with almost no coverage from press. Hmm … wonder what will happen when they do finally get some coverage.
Definitely one of the buzziest startups at Demo Day, HighScore House gamifies the process of doing chores, giving kids parent-set rewards like “ice cream for breakfast” whenever they complete assigned tasks. This just smells like the future.
SafeShepherd logs who is tracking your data (like browser cookies) across the web and then acts like an intermediary, asking them to remove it from their database — Saving you hassle at the least. Hence the name.
Fitocracy cofounders Brian Wang and Richard Talens used to be total chubs. Now they’re both buff and ready to bring a bunch of out of shape nerds with them on their quantified fitness platform Fitocracy (which has so much reach online it was the subject of a XKCD cartoon). Props to Wang for taking his shirt off after the demo.
Farm management startup Farmeron helps farmers track their livestock and livelihood, charging by the animal. “Main Cowboy in the Saddle” Matija Kopić came from a family of farmers in Croatia, but ended up going up against his parents wishes and became a coder. Enough said.
At first glance LoveWithFood seems like a Foodzie clone. Luckily founder Aihui Ong chased me into the bathroom to explain to me how exactly they differ; For every box of bite-sized gourmet food samples you receive, LoveWithFood donates a meal to a homeless shelter. And yes, I wish the name was FoodWithLove, but you’ll take what you can get, especially if it’s for a good cause.