startup

Start Me Up! A profile of travel site InspiredAway

The online travel sector is fiercely competitive, with airlines, agents and aggregator sites all doing battle for people’s attention and cash.

It’s becoming difficult to compete on price alone, so the user experience is an increasingly important way for sites to distinguish themselves.

Similarly, decisions on where to take your next holiday involve a lot of research, so travel brands need to focus on providing relevant content to attract potential customers.

In general the travel industry is still playing catch up in this regard, with many sites yet to even establish a decent mobile presence, which has allowed InspiredAway to steal a march on its more-established competitors.

Built using responsive design, the site provides inspiration and advice on potential holiday destinations, while also allowing users to search for the best deals.

I spoke to founder Rob Berrisford to find out more…

10 startup ‘explainer videos’ I actually enjoyed

The ‘explainer video’ has come of age in the last couple of years as video production, hosting and sharing has become quicker, easier and slicker.

Lots of people, for example, have heard of, seen and enjoyed the Dollar Shave Club explainer video.

Making videos is a pretty big and burgeoning B2B sector now, with many SaaS vendors now targeting SMEs that want an affordable solution. These SaaS companies sit alongside pricier production studios, where explainer videos merge with the best creative video advertising.

So, although this has been done quite a bit before (I was sent this list over Christmas), I thought I’d compile a list of my favourite startup explainer videos.

What qualifies me to compile such a list? Simply that when an explainer video is done badly, nobody hates them as much as I do.

The optimistically-posed hypothetical questions, the annoying accent, clichéd soundtrack, that god-awful faux earnestness, the massive dose of twee – when they’re bad, they’re really bad.

Copy these vids’ creative and you can’t go wrong. N.B. a few of them aren’t exactly start-ups but they’re all explanatory.

Start Me Up! A profile of Twitter client Tame

As Twitter grows, it’s more difficult to digest your own activity, to search for trends and content, and to find the right people to engage with.

To the already swollen ranks of Twitter clients comes Tame. Tame claims to provide further context for the user.

I asked a few questions of their team, to find out more about the service.

Start Me Up! A profile of Famigo, family-friendly device managment

Security is big, as always, but arguably bigger than ever. Famigo is an app that provides mobile content for the family in a secure environment on a phone or tablet.

Famigo has been around for four years or so, which somewhat qualifies it out of our start up category of three years or less. However, I’ve made a rare exception, because Famigo is worth knowing about.

We asked the Famigo team about the product’s USPs, and the goals and challenges they’ve met so far.

Start me up! A profile of Rockpack, for social video curation

4G capabilities, Vine, Facebook’s video for Instagram; they’ve all put online video sharing firmly on the consumer agenda.

Launched in June 2013, Rockpack is an intuitive video curation platform for iOS. With partnerships ranging from Topshop to Jamie Oliver, thousands of channels, and an advisory board consisting of heavyweights such as Stephen Fry, Jamie Byng (Canongate Books) and Sean Knapp (Ooyala), Rockpack is a company to watch. 

The globally-available Rockpack platform makes it easy for people to create personalized video channels to share content, as well as to subscribe to video content from friends, influencers and celebrities.

Compatible with Facebook and Twitter, Rockpack offers premium content from vloggers and a growing number of brand partners. The company believes users will share their favorite videos through their own networks, helping to drive the discovery of relevant content through peer-to-peer curation.

Rockpack aims to change the way people discover and share videos, just as Pinterest changed image discovery and sharing. Much like consumers curate photos on Instagram and Pinterest, Rockpack will allow people to browse videos, create personalized channels by category and subscribe to channels created by friends or influencers.

Start Me Up! A profile of Lookback

Mobile companies that thrive do so through great user experience. Jonatan Littke, Founder of Lookback, believes design has taken over technology and rightly so.

Yet for all its glory, a lot of design is still being created without knowing how it will be received.

Check out more about Lookback’s solution in this Q&A and let us know what you think in the comments…

Start Me Up! A profile of WeSEE

In the UK search is a one-man show, with Google hoovering up around 90% of the market while Bing and Yahoo battle it out for the rest.

So it takes a brave man to start a company that aims to take on Eric Schmidt and co at their own game.

But as co-founder and CMO of WeSEE, Adrian Moxley has risen to the challenge. His startup has created a visual search engine by using image recognition technology to classify pictures and photos across the social web. 

I spoke to Moxley to find out more…

Start Me Up! A profile of AirlineHunter

There are a number of airline aggregators available online, and in general they provide a very useful service for travellers.

However one new startup hopes to wrestle control of the market from the established players by focusing on usability.

To find out more about AirlineHunter.co.uk, I spoke to marketing director Petra Vaskovych…

Is there any room left for the next big thing on the consumer internet?

Venture capitalists still ‘like’ the consumer internet, but when it comes to where they’re putting their money, consumer internet startups are competing harder for funding dollars.

According to Dow Jones VentureSource, the amount invested in consumer internet companies declined 42% in the first three quarters of 2012. Part of the reason: venture firms have been forced to take stock of their investments as consumer internet darlings like Facebook, Groupon and Zynga have been battered by the public markets.