What I learned by interviewing 23 startups in past few weeks

I’ve been slowing down my blogging lately. This has happened for a few reasons:

1. I was speaking at the Next Web a week ago in Amsterdam and wifi there was crappy.
2. Right before that I took a few days off to be in Yosemite with my family.
3. After I got back from Amsterdam I overscheduled myself, which means I got a ton of interviews done but had no time to upload those videos or process them or blog about them.

Anyway, this weekend I caught up and uploaded 24 videos. Which pissed some people off over on Facebook as I flooded their streams.

But, one advantage of doing and posting so many videos all at once is you start seeing patterns. So, here’s what I’m learning.

1. The iPad is encouraging some interesting new businesses to form, like Pose, which is a cash register and inventory-management company for retail stores. Video.
2. Health tracking and apps that help you keep your health up continue to pop up. Fooducate is a good example, it shows you whether the food you are picking in grocery stores is healthy or not. Video.
3. iPhone app store is too hard to use, so we’ve seen a ton of companies come out with ways to improve that. The latest I’ve seen is Zwapp, which shares apps with each other in a neat social way. Video.
4. Photo/camera apps continue to be hot. Especially true since Instagram took off and Color got $41 million. Here Pixamid has an easier-to-use and understand social camera than Color. Video. And Photogram has a new competitor for Instagram that lets you upload groups of photos to Facebook or Twitter. Video.
5. Enterprise collaboration service space continues to be hot. You know, the space occupied by Jive, Yammer, Salesforce Chatter, SocialCast, SocialText, etc. Here Moxie hooked up with design firm IDEO to make the best designed and easiest to use collaboration service. Video.
6. Traveling brings about new business opportunities, especially as regular travelers realize they are being slammed with high roaming fees. Here two startups really help out. Onavo compresses your iPhone’s data, which saves about half on data roaming charges. Video. And MaxRoam gives you a SIM for unlocked phones that saves you a ton on voice calls. Video. Plus, a third company, Abukai, helps you do your expense reports when you travel by scanning the receipts with your mobile phone’s camera. Video.
7. The Web isn’t forgotten. Scrible helps you research things on the web and save and share them. Useful. Video. Silk is building a new kind of database which will be used first by the Next Web to build a startup database. Video. Shufflr.tv helps you find more and better video online. Video. Webdoc helps you build a new kind of rich, expressive, site. Think a modern Blogger or Tumblr. Video.
8. But the most interesting set of companies is being built around smartphones and here, for the first time, Apple’s iOS doesn’t have the coolest apps. For instance, Innobell lets you add social apps to a phone call. Only on Android today. Video. TekTrak gives you really great security. But mostly on Android today. Video. And WalkBase lets you track your phone’s movement through wifi and assisted GPS patterns in the room. Again, only on Android because Apple and Microsoft don’t let WalkBase talk to the radios the way Android does. Video.

Anyway, here’s all the videos embedded, so you can enjoy them. These are all on my YouTube Channel, if you like them please subscribe there.

Talking iPad apps and accessories with Sam Levin:

Android app WalkBase tracks wireless data to tell whether you’re in the same room:

VUFind lets people play and share around their visually-recognized interests:

A must-have when traveling: MaxRoam, saves money on roaming calls and data:

Mobilistar makes world clickable with mobile augmented reality:

Why you should jailbreak your iPhone:

Scrible helps you research the Web (cool tool!):

A new way to do expense reports with your mobile phone: Abukai:

Mobile wireless compression from Onavo saves TONS of money when overseas:

A “social camera” Pixamid:

A new dating service: Kismet:

Zwapp helps you find better apps for your iPhone:

Silk: a great new database powers new Next Web site:

Shufflr.tv helps you find better videos online:

Cool Ring prototype shows new way to use Tablets:

TekTrak makes your mobile phone more secure:

Must have mobile app at the grocery store: Fooducate helps you make healthy choices!

Webdoc brings you rich expression on the web:

Moxie competes in enterprises with Yammer and Salesforce Chatter with a better design:

Exclusive first look: Photogram, new kind of photosharing app for mobile:

Small-business cash register comes to iPad in Pose:

Loqly: ask questions about local businesses:

Add social apps to phone calls with Innobell:

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

14 thoughts on “What I learned by interviewing 23 startups in past few weeks

  1. Apple’s iPad 2 is off to a great start, building on momentum from the original version launched in April 2010. Apple recorded iPad 2 unit sales of close to 1 million in the very first week. Comparatively, it took the original version 28 days to hit that mark.
    http://www.hpd530.com/

  2. Nightmare future scenario: every action and decision you take, you load up an App.

    1. Wake up and load an app which checks your sleep pattern to see how you slept
    2. Have breakfast and update an app which keeps track of what foods you are running low on so you can click a button and have it added to your virtual shopping list app
    3. Load an app to see what songs your friends are playing and synch them to the radio in your car as you drive to work
    4. Load an app which tells you of any accidents on the way to work so you can avoid those roads
    5. Check in at work with an app
    6. For lunch, launch an app to see which local coffee shop has a special deal on
    7. Check in at the coffee shop with an app
    etc etc etc

    1. nice, slightly modified version:

      1. App wakes you up or tells you to go to sleep based on what’s good for you. Does it to your kids too but they figured out how to change hidden defaults.
      2. App yells at you if you eat wrong food – don’t try trick app either – some NFC/RFID/sensor in your belly type function will keep you honest.
      3. App builds your play list behind the scenes – pulls up online music classes for you if you don’t hit right notes as you sing along.
      4. Car drives you to work, based on data from various apps. You have option to override for a stop at Starbucks but will get yelled at if you do it too often.
      5. Your bosses app queries your app on a new pattern in working hours it has noticed. Your app promised to get you in line.
      6. Your app directs you to place that has cheapest network access for your provider and universal over the air power recharge for your app’s mobile.
      7. Your app tells you to take off when it is bored of the coffee shop.

  3. Nightmare future scenario: every action and decision you take, you load up an App.

    1. Wake up and load an app which checks your sleep pattern to see how you slept
    2. Have breakfast and update an app which keeps track of what foods you are running low on so you can click a button and have it added to your virtual shopping list app
    3. Load an app to see what songs your friends are playing and synch them to the radio in your car as you drive to work
    4. Load an app which tells you of any accidents on the way to work so you can avoid those roads
    5. Check in at work with an app
    6. For lunch, launch an app to see which local coffee shop has a special deal on
    7. Check in at the coffee shop with an app
    etc etc etc

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