This holiday season, there are no excuses for giving the type of boring presents that are destined for regifting. Startups have brought to market a host of game-changing new products and services that are sure to be a hit with your friends and family. And to simplify your holiday shopping experience, we’ve partnered with Verizon Wireless to travel the tech landscape in search of the very best in innovative gear, digital subscriptions and services. Whether it’s bringing fast and reliable Wi-Fi to your home or adding novelty to household automation, these six startups are at the top of our wish list this year.
Simplicity used to be at the push of a button, now it’s at a swipe of a finger. Flic marries the two again with a line of wireless smart buttons that automates some of the most common things we do on our Android or iOS-enabled devices. With the Flic app, users can program up to three functions on the smart button — for example, snoozing an alarm, turning on all the lights in your home, sending texts, or receiving a fake phone call to get out of an awkward situation. They can then initiate an action with a click, two clicks, or by holding the button. Flic has product tie-ins with some big names in smart home tech, making it a fun remote control for multiple gadgets like Sonos speakers and Phillips’ smart light bulb Hue. The wearable device can also be affixed to most surfaces, so you can take it with you on the go or keep it where you need it most.
Wi-Fi was created for convenience’s sake — so why is using it often so darn inconvenient? Between slow connections and annoying buffering, many of us have felt the pain of a Wi-Fi connection that can’t keep up with our needs. Starry has completely commandeered the Wi-Fi experience to make it simple, easy, better. Housed in a shiny white triangular casing, the touchscreen router works as an in-house IT guru, optimizing your Wi-Fi (it will move onto a 5Ghz network when you need better performance) and troubleshooting problems for any device on your network. And for those parents out there worried about their kids ever-growing screen time? Starry lets you block content and limit Wi-Fi for your kids’ devices.
Getting socks for the holidays is typically seen as a cheap grandma move. (“Aw, you shouldn’t have! Really.”) But any running enthusiast would love receiving a pair or two from Sensoria, a company that sells smart sports apparel. Though they do wick moisture and are machine washable and made in the U.S. of A, Sensoria’s are far from your average socks: they’re infused with textile sensors that partner with a Bluetooth-enabled anklet that tracks calories, heart rate, speed, and steps taken as well as your cadence, pace, and the way your foot lands with each step. Novices and pros alike can also appreciate Sensoria’s free mobile app that gives you real-time advice on how to improve your running style while you’re out for a run.
Sensoria Fitness Smart Socks and Anklet, $199
Have a friend or loved one that wants to be more mindful about the things they eat or bring into their home? Thrive Market was created with them in mind. The online market sells high-quality natural and organic products without the typical retail markup. Members can sort products by category (food, beauty, pets, etc.) and by values (Are they paleo? Vegan? Gluten-free?) And for each paid membership Thrive Market receives, they give one to a family in need.
Thrive Market membership, $59.95
If your Facebook feed is anything like ours, there are probably a lot of babies — and sleep-deprived parents — in your life. Help both parties out with this game-changer of a baby monitor, Nanit. “Part baby monitor, part baby translator, part sleep guru,” Nanit does more than just livestream a baby in his crib; it analyzes the baby’s sleep patterns and compares them against healthy averages to give new parents a sense of how well their baby is actually sleeping. It also makes note of sleep triumphs — yay, the little one made it through the night! — and makes it easy to send videos of dozing angels to family.
Nanit, starts at $279
Verizon is always ready for the next level, with America’s best network and the latest tech. Find a next-level gift for everyone on your list here.