5 startups that caught our eye from 500 Startups’ Batch 9
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Because no demo day would be complete without a roundup of what caught our attention, here’s what stood out today at 500 Startups’ demo day for its ninth batch:
Stitch is a dating service for the over-50 crowd, and while I’m not the biggest fan of dating apps, Stitch has not only thought very carefully about the design of its service, but it also has some great numbers to show for it. In fact, Stitch is not so much about “dating,” but rather about “companionship,” in whatever form it comes from — romance, friendship, and so on. Since launching in April, Stitch has amassed more than 3,000 users, half of whom have joined since it opened in the Bay Area last month. The company also says that it has only half of the user acquisition cost of other dating services, and the founder of JDate is an advisor.
This startup makes sound searchable, and as it said during its presentation, data means page views, which mean monetization. Using translation and language modeling, Pop Up Archive indexes audio, making it searchable. It already has several customers, including NPR and KQED, and has been seeing a 50 percent month-over-month growth rate. It has a 70 percent margin, and its translation is so accurate that it catches things that Google Translate doesn’t, according to co-founder Anne Wootton.
Lumific takes care of what you’d normally spend a lot of time and energy doing after taking a bunch of photos: sorting, fixing, and curating them. Simply connect your Dropbox account to Lumific, and using fancy imaging technology, it will catalogue, enhance, and crop your photos. The company has been in a private beta so far, and is now opening up a private beta for its Android app. So far, Lumific has processed more than 250,000 photos from about 7,000 beta testers.
Sport Hold works like this: You, and a crowd of sport lovers, make predictions on sports matches, Sport Hold comes up with a “super prediction” from crunching all your numbers, and then it sells that prediction back to you to do as you wish (presumably betting, or the sort). In sports betting, one needs a 52.4 percent accuracy rate to be profitable, though professionals aim for 57 percent. Sport Hold, on the other hand, is at 60.5 percent accuracy so far — imagine the edge you would have. And while this is all boring to me and others not into sports, the real gold here is that the startup’s modeling can really be applied to other things such as predicting public companies’ quarterly earnings, forecasting sales figures, and so on.
Bitcoin is taking off, and you want to catch the wave and build an app for it. Only problem is that Bitcoin apps are really hard because you need to interact with the block chain, the database of Bitcoin transactions. Neuroware is essentially providing APIs and a framework to build Bitcoin apps without having to deal with all of that, and it’s also open source. Whatever happens to Bitcoin, reaching mainstream will in part depend on people being able to make applications for it, and Neuroware seems to have caught on to that.