The 10 best Startups launched in 2014

10beststartups2014

2014 was a great year for consumer tech, I decided to take inspiration from a Business Insider post and share the best startups that launched this year.

When looking at the best startups, don’t forget to take into account factors like funding, revenue, growth, and investor interest.

Did you know anyone of these startups? What’s your favorite? I love Alfred and Shyp!

 

1. GLAMSQUAD brings hair salon-quality blowouts to your apartment.

GLAMSQUAD brings hair salon-quality blowouts to your apartment.

Glamsquad

What it is: GLAMSQUAD co-founder Victoria Eisner got the idea for her startup on New Year’s Eve one year. Despite using on-demand services to plan the rest of her evening — Uber to go to her event and Rent The Runway for her dress — but she couldn’t find a startup that would bring a blow-out appointment and beauty styling to her door. With GLAMSQUAD’s app, you press a button and a stylist will show up at your home to blow dry your hair ($50) or do your makeup ($75). A few months ago, GLAMSQUAD hired Gilt Groupe co-founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson as its CEO.

Launch date: GLAMSQUAD launched in New York City in January, and also recently launched in Los Angeles and Miami.

Funding: GLAMSQUAD raised $2 million in seed funding in January, and in October, the startup raised another $7 million from Softbank Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, BBG Ventures, and Montage Ventures.

Website: www.glamsquad.com

 

2. Spring is the Instagram for shopping.

Spring is the Instagram for shopping.

iTunes

What it is: Angel investor David Tisch has funded startups like Harry’s, Kitchensurfing, and Flatiron Health, but he took a stab at cofounding a startup this year with Spring. Spring is sort of like the Instagram for shopping: you swipe through lifestyle pictures, not just flat pictures of products, and you can purchase anything you see in the app with a few taps. Apple just named Spring one of the best apps of 2014.

Launch date: Spring launched in August.

Funding: Spring raised a $7.5 million Series A round in July. The round was led by Thrive Capital, Groupe Arnault and Box Group. Other investors include Founder Collective, Google Ventures, SV Angel, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Website: shopspring.com

3. DWNLD makes apps easy to make, customize and get published in the App Store.

DWNLD makes apps easy to make, customize and get published in the App Store.

Business Insider Australia

DWNLD co-founder Alexandra Keating.

What it is: DWNLD is to apps what WordPress is to websites: it’s a startup that lets anyone create an app quickly and cheaply and put it in the App Store. DWNLD was founded by angel investor Fritz Lanman and Alexandra Keating. DWNLD’s service costs $15 a month, and lets its users customize apps with easy design tools. Publishers also have the option of turning on iAds to monetize their apps.

Launch date: DWNLD launched in September.

Funding: DWNLD has quietly raised $2 million in seed funding from WME, Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund, The Chernin Group, Gordon Crawford, and other media executives.

Website: dwnld.me

4. Ello is the ad-free, anti-Facebook social network.

Ello is the ad-free, anti-Facebook social network.

paulbudnitz.com

Ello founder Paul Budnitz.

What it is: Ello is a minimalist social network that promises no advertisements. In fact, Ello even has a manifesto that states the social network will never sell your personal information to advertisers. Ello is free to use, but you can pay for new features. Ello has become a community for finance reporters and analysts recently, too. Budnitz told Business Insider in October that at the time, Ello already had more than 1 million users, and 40,000 to 50,000 new signups per hour during its initial frenzy.

Launch date: Ello launched in invite-only beta mode in August.

Funding: Ello raised $5.5 million in venture funding led by Foundry Group in October.

Website: ello.co

5. Curbside lets you order stuff on your phone and pick it up at the store without leaving your car.

Curbside lets you order stuff on your phone and pick it up at the store without leaving your car.

Curbside/screenshot

What it is: Curbside lets you buy stuff from brick-and-mortar stores on your phone. Instead of waiting for delivery, you pick up your purchases from the store — curbside — without ever having to get out of your car. When it launched, Curbside had partnered with retailers including Target, and was only operational in the San Francisco Bay area. Next year, the startup plans to expand to 15 markets.

Launch date: Curbside launched in October with apps for Apple and Android.

Funding: In October, Curbside raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures with participation from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, Chicago Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and angel investors. Since its founding, Curbside has raised $9.5 million.

Website: www.shopcurbside.com

 

6. Shyp sends your packages for you, so you never have to step foot in the post office.

Shyp sends your packages for you, so you never have to step foot in the post office.

Kyle Russell/Business Insider

What it is: Shyp takes all the hassle out of shipping packages. Instead of taking a package to UPS, FedEx, or the post office, Shyp lets you take a picture of whatever you want to send. A driver picks up the package in minutes, and you’re done. Shyp comparison-shops across the carriers and charges you the lowest price for shipping.

Launch date: Shyp launched in San Francisco in March, in New York in September, and in Miami in November. The company says the startup’s rollout will continue next year in Los Angeles.

Funding: Shyp raised $2.1 million in seed funding in September 2013 from Fresh VC, Winklevoss Capital, SherpaVentures, Homebrew, and notable angel investors. In July, the startup raised $10 million in a Series A round of funding from SherpaVentures and Shervin Pishevar.

Website: www.shyp.com

7. Jet.com is Marc Lore’s mysterious “Amazon-killer” e-commerce website.

Jet.com is Marc Lore's mysterious "Amazon-killer" e-commerce website.

Quidsi

Jet.com CEO Marc Lore.

What it is: Marc Lore, an e-commerce veteran who used to be CEO of Quidsi — the website behind Diapers.com — has been working on a mysterious, stealthy new e-commerce startup called Jet, which is rumored to be an Amazon-killer. Lore has promised Jet will be a “new kind of e-commerce experience, uniquely grounded in transparency and customer empowerment.”

Launch date: While Jet hasn’t officially launched yet, it has announced it would offer shares of stock to early users. How it works: you sign up on Jet’s website, you’ll get early access and a six-month membership to the website for free. You’ll also receive a link to send to others to convince them to sign up. The person with the most referrals will receive 100,000 shares of stock, and the ten people with the most referrals will receive 10,000 shares each.

Funding: In July, Jet raised $55 million from High Peaks Venture Partners, MentorTech Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Accel Partners, and New Enterprise Associates. In September, Jet raised $25 million from Western Technology Investment and Silicon Valley Bank to round out its Series A round of funding.

Website: jet.com

 

8. Mink lets you 3D print customized makeup from your home computer.

Mink lets you 3D print customized makeup from your home computer.

Mink/Vimeo

Mink’s Grace Choi.

What it is: Grace Choi is taking on the $55 billion cosmetics industry with Mink. Choi first presented her idea for Mink at TechCrunch Disrupt in May. “The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bulls—.” She said at TechCrunch Disrupt. “They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.” Mink is a printer that attaches to your home computer, camera, or phone to print customizable makeup. You can request an invite for a Mink printer on Mink’s website. When it becomes available, it’ll cost $300.

Founding date: Mink was founded in 2014.

Funding: Mink is a bootstrapped startup. Choi has not raised any venture capital money for Mink, and has said that she’s not interested in doing so.

Website: gracemink.com

9. Alfred is your affordable, personal butler.

Alfred is your affordable, personal butler.

Shutterstock.com

What it is: Alfred, which won TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in September, takes on-demand startups to the next level by offering a butler for $99 a month. Alfred first asks invited users to take a short quiz so the service can learn a bit about you. Then, you get assigned a butler — an Alfred.

After working out a schedule, your Alfred will stop by and take care of all your chores: sorting mail, folding clothes, picking up your laundry, and cleaning your house. Marcela Sapone and Jessica Beck came up with the idea for the startup for a Harvard Business School class project. They realized the business potential it had, and left school to work on it.

Launch date: Alfred launched in September at TechCrunch Disrupt SF.

Funding: In November Alfred raised $2 million in seed funding from CrunchFund, SV Angel, and Spark Capital.

Website: www.helloalfred.com

 

10. Casper takes all the headache out of buying a new mattress.

Casper takes all the headache out of buying a new mattress.

Casper

What it is: Casper was founded to simplify the process of getting a mattress. Instead of a traditional mattress you’d buy at Sleepy’s, Casper stuffs a big, fluffy mattress into a box and delivers it right to your door. In New York City, Casper says it’ll deliver your mattress in two hours. Casper’s mattresses come in six sizes and cost between $500 and $950 with a 10-year warranty. Casper told Business Insider the company was profitable on its first day of business, doing $1 million in sales in its first 28 days.

Launch date: Casper launched in April.

Funding: In January Casper raised a $1.9 million round of seed funding from QueensBridge Venture Partners, Correlation Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Vaizra Investments, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners. In August, Casper raised $13.1 million in a Series A round of funding from Kevin Colleran, Slow Ventures, Vaizra Investments, Crosslink Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Cendana Capital, Silas Capital, Consigliere Brand Capital, SV Angel, A-Grade Investments, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and New Enterprise Associates.

Website: casper.com

 

Mountain View wins the award for longest Online Porn sessions on average for an American city [XXX World 4]

Who-Lasts-Longest-Cover

The award for longest Pornhub sessions on average for an American city goes to Mountain View, CA where they somehow manage to last a marathoning 21 minutes per session

I still wonder why Cupertino’s cousins shows only a disappointing 8:58 stamina… maybe a side effect of “one Apple a day”?

Lets’ warm up this freezing traditional Xmas time with a brand new article from my XXX World section.

Who last the longest? And yes, there’s plenty of date for countries and cities all over the world!

Don’t be scared about the topic, it’s absolutely SFW.

Ever wonder how your lasting time compares to others around the world? The Pornhub statisticians have got you covered. As a part of a special collaboration with Gizmodo, we’ve got the dirt on the longest and shortest comings and goings on the world’s biggest porn site. The following infographic allows you to click through and see how long on average Porhub users around the world spend on the site by country and US state, as well as by city again on both the international and individual state levels. The data used was compiled over the Fall of 2014.

View the full sized infograph here

Who lasts the longest of them all? That honor goes to The Western Sahara up in North Africa, where visits last an impressive  16 minutes and 16 seconds on average. China and the Philippines also have some admirable lasting power, clocking in with 14:34 and 14:22 minute long sessions on average. Session lengths drop by around 60% comparatively when we head over the the Middle East, home to some of the shortest Pornhub visits in the world. Bottom 3 worldwide are Palestine, Iraq and Antarctica each only last around 5 minutes.

pornhub-who-lasts-longest-world

If you’ve ever been curious about how long some of the world’s major metropolises masturbation sessions tend to last, look no further than to this relevantly themed section of the interactive infograph. Sessions span a leisurely 13:58 minutes over in Kingston, Jamaica, and over in the US, Los Angeles lasts around 10 minutes and 44 seconds per session. The good times continue to last in Johannesburg, South Africa with visits lasting around 10:35, outlasting Canada’s capital of fap, Edmonton, clocking in at 10:27. Efficiency rules in Baghdad where sessions are the shortest on average in the world, generally lasting only 5:32. Tokyo only goes for around 6 and a half minutes while Istanbul lasts a mere 7:21 on average.

pornhub-who-lasts-longest-us

Over in the land of the free, visits to Pornhub never really dip under 9 minutes on average. In Arizona, where sessions are the shortest in the country on average at 9:21, they still have a noteworthy near 4 minute gain over Baghdad. Pornhub visits span the longest in Hawaii, where they go for around 11 and a half minutes on the regular as is the case in the Southeastern states of the country such as Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi, where they tend to last around 11 minutes on the site. The award for longest Pornhub sessions on average for an American city goes to Mountain View, CA where they somehow manage to last a marathoning 21 minutes per session, which blows New York City’s average of 10:05 right out of the Hudson. NYC’s average time still more than doubles Plainview, Nebraska’s mere 4:37 average session duration.

That’s a wrap! Let us know what you think of these findings in the comments section below.

[Source: Pornhub Insights]

Social is more important than Search, bigger than most TV networks and deeply interconnected with Mobile

Although it is still relatively new as far as media entities go, BuzzFeed has become one of the leading new-media players, thanks in large part to its command of the social web, an ability to craft viral content and a large fan base among millennials. True to form, the company has created a visually-rich index of factsabout its size and reach — numbers which help explain how it was able to raise $50 million in a recent financing round.

As a caveat, it’s worth noting that the presentation is clearly designed to be a sales pitch for the company’s native advertising efforts, and so there are no links to or discussion of any of the data used to compile the charts. Most of the figures come courtesy of the site’s Google Analytics data, or from firms like Nielsen and comScore.

One of the core principles behind BuzzFeed is that social sharing is more important than search, so it’s no surprise that the main driver of traffic (which is estimated to be about 150 million unique visitors per month) is social — in fact, the company says that its social traffic is five times larger than its search traffic.

Search vs. Social2

Although social has grown to become one of the leading sources of traffic to most web content, the advertising industry still hasn’t quite caught up to this development, as shown by a BuzzFeed graph courtesy of eMarketer and Shareaholic — which says that social accounts for 30 percent of referral traffic but only 14 percent of advertising budgets.

Search vs. social

The other major shift in content consumption is mobile, and according to BuzzFeed the two are interconnected, in the sense that a majority of the site’s social traffic comes from mobile, and its share rates on mobile are twice as high as they are from its desktop users.

Mobile and social

BuzzFeed said mobile also accounts for a rapidly growing amount of video consumption, including 50 percent of all the video that the site produces, and this is particularly the case among millennial users. As a result of its focus on that market, BuzzFeed says that its reach is larger than several leading TV networks, including Fox, CNN and MTV — and among millennials it is larger still, putting the site ahead of most of the major networks, including NBC.

BuzzFeed reach

Obviously, BuzzFeed’s statistics are designed to promote its advertising appeal. And as with any form of web measurement, the sources it has chosen have their flaws — Google Analytics has a tendency to over-estimate certain kinds of traffic, while Nielsen and comScore have a tendency to under-estimate other kinds, including traffic from corporate networks (and BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti has said one of his secret weapons is the “bored at work” network).

Some of the conclusions suggested by the BuzzFeed numbers are also debatable: for example, some media analysts argue that social is not as good as search — even if the raw traffic number is larger — because search is a better indicator of purchasing intent. As for video views, TV insiders would no doubt argue that their viewership is more loyal than someone watching a viral video on their mobile device.

Those caveats aside, however, the numbers BuzzFeed is generating are still quite impressive for what is still a relatively young company.

[Source: GigaOM and BuzzFeed]

3 hot-topics for your eCommerce: Social Users, Webrooming and Showrooming

ecommerce_3

2014 has seen the most concerted efforts so far by some of the world’s biggest social networks to integrate e-commerce into their platforms. And, as a recent GWI Commerce report shows, it’s a move which is likely to resonate with significant sections of the social audience.
Globally, 7 in 10 active Facebook users say they have bought a product online in the past month, with the equivalent figure among Twitter’s active user base climbing to approach the three-quarter mark.
What’s more, a quarter of internet users say that social network-based retail stores make them more likely to purchase online – with a notable peak among Twitter users. In this context, it’s not hard to see why both Twitter and Facebook are trialing ‘Buy’ buttons in the hopes of opening up new and lucrative revenue streams.

20141119_social_VS_ecommerce_chart

Let’s also take a look at the impact of webrooming (where products are researched online but bought in-store) and showrooming (when items are tested in-store and then purchased online).
With the chart looking at the ratio of online researchers to buyers across nearly 30 different product categories, it’s clear that there are some big differences in evidence.
Where the ratio is above 1 – meaning there are more researchers than purchasers – the products in question are susceptible to webrooming. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is most likely to be taking place for big-ticket items such as cars, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and games consoles. Internet users might be discovering and researching them online, but the purchase journey is being completed inside a physical retail environment – whether to take advantage of customer service, to “test” the product or to gain a sense of reassurance about their financial outlay.
In contrast, many other categories have more purchasers than researchers and hence have a ratio below 1. Some of these products are simply too low in value, or else are purchased so habitually or on the basis of deals, that no research is necessary. But there are others where a degree of showrooming is likely to be taking place – as with clothes and shoes. Evidently, some consumers are using retail stores to find correct styles and sizes, but then purchasing the products online to get the best prices. And this is a trend that’s likely to have special importance as we approach the Christmas period when people invest greater amounts of time and energy in locating the best presents.

20141119_showrooming_webrooming_ecommerce_chart

Free delivery is the most effective Online Purchase Driver, followed by Rewards and Customer Reviews

20141112_Purchase_motivatore_ecommerce_chart

As explored in the new GWI Commerce report, free delivery is the most effective online purchase driver. Of the 15 different options tracked by GWI, it’s this measure which scores the highest response globally – with 4 in 10 internet users saying it makes them more likely to purchase something online.
The power of free delivery is far from even across regions, though. It exerts its biggest impact in Europe and North America but is less important in a market like China (where internet users instead place the highest premium on customer reviews and feedback).
As the chart demonstrates, other important global motivators include:

  • Financial rewards such as coupons or discounts (35%)
  • Customer reviews (34%)
  • Loyalty points (29%)

For reviews, though, there’s a clear disconnect between supply and demand; from market to market, there are more people writing reviews than actively looking for them.

20141112_Purchase_motivatore_ecommerce

 

[Source: GlobalWebIndex]

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