LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman once said, “The entrepreneurial journey starts with jumping off a cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.”
In other words, the technology startup world is tough to enter. But despite the excruciating hours and inevitable letdowns, the silver lining of the startup environment is the chance to work with some truly brilliant and motivated people — and of course, the chance to leave an impact on society and change your own life with your product.
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Those with flourishing startups concocted a winning recipe of hard work, highly marketable ideas lots of good luck. Among the droves of startups we’ve covered, here are five that really stand out.
OnTheAir started as a place where people could host Google-Hangout-like chats with others, forming a community of video-chatters.
Co-founders Josh Schwarzapel, Erik Goldman and Daniel Hopkins have since switched to enterprise video conferencing using WebRTC, the open source audio and video framework Google built to power Hangouts. Schwarzapel explained to Mashable that, since focusing on this vertical, they’ve shut off the consumer side of OnTheAir. They explained that current enterprise video conferencing options are lacking and could use updating. “You’re either stuck with Flash on the low end or extremely expensive Cisco/Polycom/Vidyo on the high end,” he wrote in an email.
They plan to announce OnTheAir’s new vertical enterprise solution soon. It has the potential to target fields like healthcare, education, finance, etc. Schwarzapel says OnTheAir will play nice with all browsers and operating systems, plus on mobile devices.
The dating site aims to strengthen what many Facebook matchmakers already do: find you a love connection via the social network. If you meet someone in real life or online, chances are you’re going to search for him or her on Facebook. Circl.es will help you find friends of friends on Facebook as potential matches. A huge plus? Your friends can vouch for (or warn against) your online dating interests.
NextDoor wants to be the social network for your neighborhood. Need to borrow a cup of sugar? Lost your dog? Looking for help mowing your lawn? Exchange information on the secure NextDoor site. Each neighborhood has its own password-accessible mini-site within NextDoor. So far 3,600 neighborhoods in 48 states use Nextdoor, and the site recently received $18.6 million in funding.
Getaround is like Airbnb for cars. Do you drive to work in the morning and let your car sit in the parking lot all day? Getaround can help you earn cash by loaning your car to credible drivers during hours you’re not using it. The company provides insurance coverage and makes sure drivers have no major marks on their criminal or driving records over the past seven years.
The company recently launched Getaway — a service that helps rent out your car out for you. Getaround can earn car owners around $350 per month; with Getaway, they estimate the figure can jump to $1,000 per month.
The slew of spam most people receive in their inboxes each day can be overwhelming. Even filtering between your favorite store’s daily newsletters and more time-sensitive emails is a daunting task. Philterit enables people to separate personal emails from branded emails.
Philterit supports Gmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail and collects all emails from the past 30 days. Users have the option to view all, delete emails, compose messages and read from within the interface — in which all brand and personal emails are separated.
There are hundreds of other companies out there, all ready with ideas that could make an impact on your life — whether for entertainment, healthcare or productivity. What other startups have impressed you? Tell us in the comments.