Apps

Photolemur – Photo Enhancement on Autopilot

Ed: I get a lot of pitches and very few products impress me but this app is so cool

Startup Name: Photolemur

Tagline: Photo Enhancement on Autopilot

Elevator Pitch: Photolemur is the world’s first fully automatic photo enhancement solution, specially tailored for regular people with little-to-no knowledge of photo editing. It helps to make any photo much better through a user-friendly interface, with the help of unique technology. It is the next generation artificial intelligence that automatically performs complex image improvements, which traditionally require manual control, human involvement & time.

Photolemur analyzes millions of pixels per second, identifies faces, objects, colors, and performs the necessary enhancements.

photolemur2

photolemur3

Target Market: Photo amateurs, Travel bloggers

How do you make money? The app is paid. We will have 3 subscription plans

Funding: None
Founder Name: Dmitry Sytnik
Twitter: @photolemur
Website: https://photolemur.com

CallProtector – Secured Encrypted Voice Calls Hopefully…

Ed: Todays pitch is a fundamentally great idea, however the thing that would scare the hell out of me if I were one of the target customers is the fact that you just can’t know if a provider and their app really has the security smarts they claim.

While this level of security in the hands of individuals may be used for nefarious business, there is also a legitimate use case to evade malicious Nation States who would seek to repress reporters and activists.

I guess what qualifies as a Malicious Nation State is actually just a matter of perspective, all States are malicious to someone.

Encrypting voice calls is in fact the ultimate mission critical security application for a reporter or political activist, if you get this wrong a knock at the door will come in the middle of the night.

Normally the first rule in security is don’t let anyone know anything about how your security strategy, technology and end points, however for marketing purposes this team has chosen to publicise the encryption and security methods they use.

I guess keeping quiet about their security stack isn’t going to help them in the case of a persistent attack from a nation state however I find it a little disturbing that they think this is a good idea to be very specific about their methods.

I note a few weird things about the company, it has both an English and German site, but is located in Monkok in Hong Kong and interesting location given the proximity to China and the fact that there is no constitutional or rule of law certainties.

Also the English is not fantastic on the page, there are spelling and grammar errors.

call-protect-text

It gets a little more disturbing, they list the use of 521 bit encryption (this is an odd/strange number, you would normally expect a multiple of 8 ie 512 bit) which as far as I could tell was not one of the listed key sizes on the Wikipedia entry for AES256.

Not to say that this isn’t a legitimate company and product, but I have to say that if the web copy is sloppy or factually incorrect there is no way I would trust my life to these guys and their security.

 

Startup NameCallProtector
What problem are you solving?Companies/journalists can communicate worldwide over their phones without being scared of someone listening to them.
What is your solution?We are encrypting your voice data with an algorithm for top secret military communication. Be safe on iOS and Android.
Target MarketCompanies, journalists
How will you make money?Subscriptions/Advertisement
Tell us about the market & founders, why is this a great opportunity?We are a young team of 2 developers from Austria who are normally developing enterprise applications for big companies. While developing for them we often got asked how to securely communicate on their iOS or Android devices. There was no good solution so we decided to develop one and 3 years later we are here.
Founders NamesMichael Lukas
What type of funding has the company received?Bootstrap
Websitehttps://www.callprotect.me/
Twitter Handle@CallProtector
[lc-response-form id=1]

Canary – App Design & Mockup Service

Ed: If you aren’t in the business of making wireframes or app Mockups it can take a lot of time and effort to get a mockup right (or if you don’t have design or coding skills not get it right at all).

For a fixed and pretty reasonable fee Canary will build you a wireframe or App mockup.

This is continuing a pleasing trend we are seeing from Service Providers that are “Productising” their services so that they are easy to order and deliver a known result with a set process.

These guys probably have some low-cost labour to do all the grunt work but their team takes the brief and then delegates the build to the low-cost team.

The costs are very reasonable, I think it would be hard to do this yourself at that price and you would struggle to find a better service provider via Freelance.com that can give you a known service.

Certainly I will be considering it for my next App project.

Startup Name

Canary

What problem are you solving?Even with the tools available, entrepreneurs are still developing apps when a mockup or prototype would suffice. Our mockups and prototypes let entrepreneurs pitch for capital and get early feedback before they invest their time and money.
What is your solution?Canary helps entrepreneurs move their ideas closer to reality by putting beautiful mockups, prototypes and wireframes within their reach.
Target MarketWe make beautiful app mockups, interactive prototypes and wireframes.
How will you make money?Fee for Service
Tell us about the market & founders, why is this a great opportunity?Chris – Chris comes from the world of product development, new business and marketing. He is all about products that add real value. A self-confessed wine and cheese lover, Chris says, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”Alex – Former CTO for a mobile payments startup, Alex brings his hardcore software engineering and product management skills to the table, with a side of intuition and imagination.
Founders NamesChris Gardner, Alex
Websiteusecanary.com
What type of funding has the company received?Bootstrap
Twitter Handle@Canary_Team

thingthing Keyboard – iOS App That Provides A Single Interface To Use Multiple Apps At Once

Ed: I was expecting some sort of physical keyboard but turns out this is an App that acts a wrapper or dashboard for many of your common apps and functions, avoiding the need to switch back and forth between apps.

The usability problem is real enough, it is frustrating app/context switching back and forth between apps, it’s not clear if this is a good solution as yet as it is still in limited beta and I was not able to get access.

Startup Name

thingthing keyboard

What problem are you solving?During a conversation on my iPhone, I had to quit Mail.app to answer to a client. Basically, a simple yes or no for the rendezvous next week, find the documents he needed to read beforehand and find a nice place to have lunch.My episode was really frustrating. I looked at my Calendar, then visited Dropbox and ended up opening Yelp to find a nice place around. By struggling between apps, I fell deeply frustrated about looking here and there, asking myself how can it be so poorly realised?!

I soon realized that iPhones are quite limited today. Then, I found other iPhone users having the same problem.

Shortly after, we started thingthing with the aim of creating an iOS keyboard adapted to our digital era and keep users immersed in their conversations. We also wanted to create a tool that would enable everyone to naturally write rich messages and emails on the go.

What is your solution?thingthing keyboard is the fastest and most enjoyable wayto access your digital contents while chatting or emailingEverything is just a thumb away. It instantly connects you to 3rd party apps & services you use.

The benefits are clear:
No more switching apps during a conversation, everything is a tap away
Instantly access contents from many services at the right moment
Make better decisions when answering or sending a message
Enrich conversations by providing new content to share or attach
Make it more natural to compose an email or message on the go
Give the ability to personalize by connecting what users want

Target MarketiOS 3rd party keyboards market
How will you make money?Via in-app purchases, viral element in every shares via thingthing keyboard, customization of keyboard and unique features, also some business packs will be paid by users
Tell us about the market & founders, why is this a great opportunity?iOS keyboards are a new and opened market that Apple has opened. Compared with Android, the market is completely opened (7 years old on Android). But whats most unique is the fact that today on iOS, every app is in a silo and while chatting and emailing, it is very hard to attach a link or image that is not on your iPhone / iPad. We are addressing a latent needs expressed by users.
Founders NamesOlivier Plante, Jose Bautista
Websitewww.thingthing.co
What type of funding has the company received?Bootstrap
If you have a press kit or image gallery please provide a link (optional)

Invision – Web & Mobile Prototyping and UI Mockup Platform

 

I regularly listen to This Week in Startups which is produced by Jason Calacanis, he does a great weekly video which runs for an hour and has in depth interview with VCs and startup founders, who he manages to get to reveal some pretty interesting stories, often gets them to admin to things they may not have before, its one of the better webcasts for startups and a great laugh at the same time.

Jason does the Web equivalent of a live read for his sponsors (those of you who have ever advertised on radio will be familiar with the concept) and one of the companies he mentioned the other day was Invision a new prototyping, collaboration and workflow platform.

Having tried about 10 prototyping/wireframing/mockup apps in the last year for one of the projects I am working on, I can tell you they pretty well all suck big time on the collaboration aspect.

Also commenting and keeping track of problems is also a major headache, invariably you need to switch out to another platform to track the requests/bugs etc and don’t even talk about keeping version control over design suggestions and mockups, its not trivial or commonly done.

So Invision seems to solve the problem for design collaboration and prototyping in a similar way to how Github solves the problem collaboration problem for code and version control.

There is a 30 day free trial and the plans seem reasonable including a free plan for only one project. Check it out here Invision App.

Invision prototyping-mockup real time commenting

Invision prototyping-mockup real time commenting

prototyping and mockup and manage


Invision editor screenshot

GarageSocial – Social network for people who love cars

 

The Pitch

Startup Name *Garagesocial
What problem are you solving?Garagesocial works to create an all-in-one space for auto enthusiasts – it looks to solve the issue of fragmentation that many sites and forums have. Much like how roughly 10 years ago, you had a variety of ways to describe yourself as a person line (Myspace, blogs, personal websites) every system presented the same information but in completely different ways. Presentation was the first problem, but the bigger problem was fragmentation. Everything was everywhere. Then, Facebook came along.We envision a similar concept for the auto industry – where auto enthusiasts or car buyers – could just go to one location to present their vehicles, do their research and communicate with people who have the same interests. True, there are countless sites dealing with the auto industry but each is geared to do one particular thing whether it be buying, selling, presenting or blogging. There are not any sites available that allow for everything – and any that do exist, are extremely outdated in system and design.
What is your solution?By creating a consistent and full featured system to properly showcase vehicles online. Essentially, creating a place where individuals can showcase their vehicles using the most advanced presentation system on the web, discover new parts and accessories, network with local enthusiasts and ask experts questions. Our developers are currently working on adding an area for blogging, commerce and bringing in the Connected Car aspect.
Why is this a great opportunity?Garagesocial is currently working on advanced features that will change the auto industry online – rather than having all these blogs, sites, forums, car dealers, buyers and sellers and enthusiasts spread across the web – Garagesocial plans to bring all of these aspects together with beautiful and snappy presentation, sound that allows users to get a glimpse of the engine, a sophisticated gallery system that will include video, an area to describe all the custom parts of their vehicles for those who have project cars or modified vehicles, and a timeline to organize service repairs or work performed.Users can uncover similar cars near them, a community of auto enthusiasts and experts, and receive deals and promotions for service or gadgets on your vehicle.
Target MarketThe collector, the enthusiasts, car dealers, manufacturers and consumers.
How will you make money?Transaction fees, targeted ads, and detailed non identifiable meta data on user demographics which can be generated and made accessible to manufacturers for a fee.
Founders NamesMaxime Rassi
Websitehttp://www.garagesocial.com
What type of funding has the company receivedBootstrapped/self funded

 

Startup88 Verdict

Normally I run a mile when I hear an entrepreneur talking about how they are going to build a social network and take on Facebook or Twitter.

I get so tired of clueless would-be copycats telling me how their yet to be even prototyped social network solves some non problem that they think is important.  Most of them think it can be run on a shared hosting plan, they have no idea about virality, conversion, scalability or any of the other things that are prerequisites to play in this game,  its a joke and I cant tell you how often I hear it. The good news is they almost never build anything so no harm done.

So usually I dismiss talk of a new social network out of hand, in this case I am willing to make an exception for GarageSocial.

There are very few niches where it makes sense to have an entirely separate infrastructure and app, however cars and the people who love them may be one of those niches.

People who love their cars are very passionate, they visit forums, ask advise, talk to others, publish photos, none of which is really focused enough or appropriate on a social network like Facebook.

CEO Maxime Rassi tells me they have initial traction with 3000 people signed up in the last few days and the site is still in closed beta with a small quantity of revheads starting to test it out.

I think if these guys can encourage the worlds car lovers to get off the crappy 10 year old text oriented bulletin boards with nasty links to images that arent actually on the site, I think they have a shot at building a business that is highly monetisable.

Frankly most of the car nutter forum experiences are a shit experience, Garagesocial looks gorgeous and I think they have a shot at the title.

Chevrolet Camaro SS 350 Map

Chevrolet Camaro SS 350 Map

Chevrolet C1 Corvette

Chevrolet C1 Corvette

Cessna Skyhawk

Cessna Skyhawk

Cadillac 355D Pictures

Cadillac 355D Pictures

Cadillac 355D Map

Cadillac 355D Map

Chevrolet Camaro SS 350

Chevrolet Camaro SS 350

Ford Shelby GT 500

Ford Shelby GT 500

Ford Shelby GT 500

Ford Shelby GT 500

Ford Shelby GT 500

Ford Shelby GT 500

Cadillac 355 D

Cadillac 355 D

Chevrolet Camaro SS 350

Chevrolet Camaro SS 350

Bvckup 2 | Simple fast backup

Full disclosure I haven’t tested this on my own machine yet, but it seems to be absolutely intent on only doing one thing really well. Backing up one directory to another.

 

Bvckup2-screenshotIn a past life we sold truckloads of backup software to business customers and its mostly not simple to install and use, mostly not inexpensive and mostly needing an external tape drive or library, but I can see this being replaced with arrays of cheap drives and a product like this being used.

Given some of the software solutions would run to 10s of $1000s, at $20 for a personal version and $40 for a professional license, this seems like a lot of bang for your buck.

This is not going to solve the offsite problem or provide you cloud backups, (though you potentially could back it to a Google Drive or Dropbox folder and have it sync afterwards) but you probably aren’t doing that properly either anyway as its almost impossible to get a business grade backup across DSL upload speeds.

What it will do is provide extremely fast differential backup from one directory/drive to another.

Select a pair of folders and Bvckup 2 will make sure that one stays an exact copy of the other. If you were to make one of the folders on disk array somewhere on the other end of the office, whilst this doesn’t negate having some form of offsite backup it does mitigate some of the risk.

I think the minimalist approach is a great selling point, they really have cut it down to a simplistic but highly effective app.

Real-time backups

Continuously monitor for changes and back them up as soon as they happen.

Scheduled and manual

Run backups at fixed time intervals or only when started manually.

Asynchronous I/O

Eliminate idling during data transfers by having multiple read and write requests running in parallel.

Delta copying

Reduce the amount of data being moved around by copying modified parts of files only. This speeds things up, in many cases
dramatically.

Multi-core processing

Speed things up by running computationally intensive tasks such as data hashing on all CPU cores, but scale back when computer is
under load.

Move/rename detection

Detect files and folders being moved at source and replicate this as a single quick
operation on the backup side.

Destination snapshots

Avoid re-scanning backup location on every run by scanning it once and saving its file index locally.

Device tracking

Pin a backup to a specific removable device so that it will be run only when this device is present.

Backup of locked files

Use Windows shadow copying to backup files that are locked for exclusive use by running programs such as web browser or email clients.

System service mode

Switch program to run as a system service to allow backups to continue running even when there’s no one logged in.

Archiving of deleted items

Move backup copies of deleted items into a special archive directory and delete them from there after a grace period.

Very large backups

Bvckup 2 has been tested with multi-million item backups and, while they naturally require more memory for processing, they can still be handled with ease.

Concurrent or serialized

The app can run backups one by one, forming a queue, or it can run them as soon as they are due, all at once. And, of course, a backup may also be started manually at any time.

Backup planner

When running a backup, Bvckup 2 always compiles a formal backup plan that can be inspected without being executed if a “dry
run” is required.

Native 64-bit support

Installation package includes both 32- and 64-bit versions of the program, selecting an appropriate one to install automatically.

Minimal dependencies

The app works with low-level Windows API and has no dependencies on WMI, COM or system services outside of shadow copying.
It also stores all its configuration on disk, in a single directory.

Software update reminders

In addition to being able to check for updates automatically, Bvckup 2 has an option to remind you to check for updates
by hand.

The website sold me, if their product is anything as simple and effective I think they will sell a busload. You can get it here bvckup2.com

Hops: Learns what beer you like and finds new ones you’ll love – Cool #Startups

What can I say, you had me at Beer

Given the proliferation of craft beer in most Western countries finding the sorts of beer you like requires a lot of experimentation, whilst this is part of the fun, its probably better if you know the type of beer you do and don’t like and using something like the Hops app to find great examples of this.

Hops-Screenshot1

When I was in San Francisco recently it surprised me how far craft brewing had come since I was there only a few years back, every bar we went into had at least 4-5 craft brews. By the end of it I was so over India Pale Ales, everything was so overhopped, would have loved a great european lager.

So Im thinking this App will appeal to those beer fanatics and will probably develop a loyal following.

Here is the blurb from the Hops Itunes App page.

Hops-App
Beer is subjective. Tastes vary. Hops isn’t about finding the beer that everyone likes, its about finding the beers that you’ll love. Through a simple, elegant interface, Hops allows you to rate the beers you know and any new beers you try. Hops then curates a unique set of beer suggestions based specifically on your preferences. These suggestions will vary depending on your location and will become increasingly accurate the more you rate,