2014 proved to be a good year for startups. A lot of diverse startups stepped their foot in the market with the aspirations of making it big. While some couldn’t bear the pressure, others came out with flying colors. Let’s look at the 16 hottest start-ups of 2014, across the globe.
Most popularly known as the Instagram for shopping, Spring was launched in August this year. The app lets you swipe through lifestyle pages and purchase anything that you see within the app with the help of a few taps. The app is updated with new products from major fashion brands on a daily basis. Apple has even included the app in its best apps list of 2014. Spring was able to raise funding of $7.5 million in Series A round in July this year.
A beauty stylist whenever you want, wherever you want. Sounds unbelievable? Well, not with GLAMSQUAD in your country. Launched in January in New York, the company makes sure that a stylist shows up at your home to blow dry your hair or do your makeup whenever you want. The startup recently also launched in Los Angeles. GLAMSQUAD successfully raised $2 million in January and another $7million in October this year.
In order to make the dining out experience more smooth and efficient, Joe Marchese came out with this wonderful reservation app called Reserve. The app helps in reserving tables in advance, so that you don’t end up wasting your time in long queues. The application has been developed by Expa. The application was launched on iOS in Los Angeles, New York and Boston in October this year. The startup has partnered with around 20-30 restaurants in each city.
Though the ecommerce platform has not been launched yet. It has already made headlines for being an Amazon-Killer. According to Marc Lore, who is working on the website, Jet will offer a new kind of e-commerce experience, uniquely grounded in transparency and customer empowerment. The startup has also announced that it will offer shares of stock to its early users. Jet was successful in raising $55 million from High Peak Venture Partners in July.
Launched in February this year, Slack is a workplace communication application where workers can collaborate and share files in a group chat room. The company’s growth as an enterprise communication tool has been very organic –it hasn’t spent even a penny on marketing itself. It is also one of the fastest growing enterprise applications of all time. Slack was successful in raising $42.8 million in April and another $120 million in October.
An app to make apps easy to make. Confused? Well, don’t be. DWNLD is an application that lets you create an app very quickly and cheaply. It even helps you in putting the app on the app store. Founded by Alexandra Keating and angel investor Fritz Lanman, the service costs $15 a month. The users can customize their apps by making use of the easy design tools provided in the app. Publishers are also provided with the option of turning on iAds in order to monetize their apps. After a developer is finished with his/her app, DWNLD submits the app to the App Store and it usually gets approved in 7-10 days from the submission. The company has been successful in quietly raising $2 million in seed funding this year.
Getting a new mattress home is one hell of a job. The transportation is the biggest concern. Well, not anymore. Casper is here to make the process of getting a mattress to your home easy and worry free. Launched in April, Casper promises to stuff a big, fluffy mattress into a box and deliver to your doorstep within two hours. The mattresses that come with a ten year warranty can cost anywhere between $500 and $950.
Yo is an extremely simple app that went viral this year. The app that took just 8 hours to create is a zero character messaging app that sends a notification saying Yo in a robotic voice whenever you tap a friend’s name using the app. In response, the receiver can also send a Yo to the sender. The app launched in April became the number one social networking app in the United States App store. The company was successful in raising $1.5 million at a $5-10 million valuation in July this year.
Does the name ring any bell? Yes, we’re indeed talking about Batman’s butler. Named after the Batman’s butler, Alfred offers its customers a butler for just $99 a month. The company starts by taking a short quiz of its invited users so that they can learn a bit about them. Based on the quiz results, a butler-an Alfred- is assigned to the user. The user can talk to the butler on phone and workout a schedule, according to which he will stop by your house once or twice a week and take care of all the household chores like folding clothes, cleaning house and sorting mail etc. Launched in September at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, Alfred has raised $2 million in seed funding in November.
Shipping packages can mean a waste of time for many of us but with Shyp all you have to do is take a photograph of whatever you want to send and a driver will come and pick up the package within a few minutes. It is as simple as that. The cost to you for this is the USPS rate, which is considered the least expensive option. The company first went live in New York in September. It was launched in Miami last month. The company has plans of opening in Los Angeles next year. Shyp raised $10 million in a Series A round of funding in July this year.
Launched in October this year, Curbside lets the user buy stuff from brick-and-mortar stores on their Smartphones. Instead of waiting for hours for the stuff to be delivered at their doorstep, the user picks up the purchases from the store-curbside-without ever having to get out of their car. The startup is currently only operational in the San Francisco Bay area but it has plans of expanding to 15 markets next year. In October, the startup raised $8 million in Series A funding.
Now, this one is for the ladies. Founded by Grace Choi, Mink is a printer that lets you 3D print customized makeup from your home computer. According to Choi, “The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bulls”. She further adds, “They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.” The printer can be attached to your computer, phone or camera to print customizable makeup. Anyone can request an invite for the printer on Mink’s website and when it becomes available, it will cost around $300. Mink is a bootstrapped company and Choi has no interest in raising any venture capital money for the company.
Always wanted a personal assistant but couldn’t hire one due to budget constraints? Well, with x.ai, your problem is solved forever. x.ai, which is pronounced as “X DOT AI”, works as an artificial intelligence powered personal assistant. It makes use of email to help you schedule all your meetings. You can talk to Amy, your x.ai personal assistant, and make her take care of your email scheduling by simply CCing Amy@x.ai on all your emails. Founded in April, it is currently in beta testing, but you can still enter your email to the waiting list here. The company was successful in raising $2.1 million in May this year.
Founded in March’14, Cyber Dust is a free texting app that lets you send texts and pictures that disappear after 30 seconds. It is quite similar to Snapchat but unlike Snapchat, it promises that it doesn’t leave the traces of any of the messages. The messages aren’t stored anywhere. Created by Mark Cuban with the help from Mention Media, the app also lets you know when someone takes a screenshot of your messages, though there is no name or identifying information attached to the messages. According to Cuban, “Anything that can be misconstrued in any way, shape or form, I’m going to do it on Cyber Dust.” He further adds, “There’s a digital footprint for everything, and it becomes harder to own the playbook of our lives on Facebook or on emails or texts. It’s hard to have context that’s right. ”
Are you the socializing kind? Then, this app is best for you. Humin is an app that remembers all the details about the first time you meet someone so that you never have to. The app makes use of your phone contacts and social media to create a list of your favorites, which you’re greeted with when you open the application. Founded in 2013, the app went live in August. Every time you add a new number to Humin, the application brings up the person’s name, when and where you met, where the person works, and the people that you both know. If that person is on any social media, the app will add a photograph of the person so that you never forget the face of the person.
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