Emily Cohan of It’s Great Media talks about her experiences at LaunchFest 2014:
LaunchFest is challenging to describe – but the main word that comes to mind is “WOW.” This year’s LaunchFest, held at the Design Concourse in San Francisco in February did not disappoint. Basically, if you have any interest in startups or new technology, this is the conference to be at. With fantastic keynotes, fireside chats and panelists – not to mention the demo pits chalk full of exciting new startups and technologies, this conference is a place where ideas get shared, deals get made, and new companies get their big launch day.
Some my favorites highlights were getting to see actual 3-d printed human baby heart ventricles, an interactive projection screen made out of dry-fog (see below), and Mark Cuban’s keynote talk. But surely the headline act at this festival are the companies that are launching. So here are 41 companies that I saw at Launchfest – some of them are life changers, some of them take on smaller challenges, and some of them are just plain awesome. Check them out.
41 Startups at Launchfest:
AerScreen – rView Technology – www.aerscreen.net
This was one of our favorite demos. We would like to see this screen at Digital Signage Expo next year.
This is an interactive screen made of dry fog. The fog is made air and water particles – non-damaging to walls or ceilings. Definitely a showstopper piece. They will be showcasing at Maker’s Faire next year.
Partender – www.partender.com
Partender was one of the most well thought out, user tested, niche-driven apps we saw at LaunchFest. It’s an app that revolutionizes how bars do inventory – first by letting them record what bottles are on what shelves in what order – but then letting the user visually tap to record what level the liquid is to more accurately estimate amounts left in partial bottles. This makes inventory process both faster and more accurate. Well done, Partender.
Uopia – www.uopia.com
Uopia has made the best looking LED light spectrum I’ve ever seen. They are also using sleep science use light frequencies to help your sleep cycles with their LED night-lights. Co-founded by UCSC alum, Brandon Williams. They need funding, so support their Kickstarter campaign:
LucidLife – www.lucidlife.co
LucidLife is a social app that is meant to connect users to the topics they care about – and their demo made this process look easy and enjoyable. I think there is potential for LucidLife to thrive in the professional social market.
OpenSilo – www.opensilo.com
OpenSilo takes the challenge of having open company discussions and using those discussions to create a company knowledge base. We’ve actually tackled this problem more than once with a few of our past web clients – and it is no easy task. OpenSilo is developing a UI that makes it easy for employees to collaborate, and then make the solutions part of the standard knowledge-base.
Butler Motorcycle Maps – www.butlermaps.com
Butler Maps is launching their new app and social site soon, and boy am I excited about this one. Since I learned how to ride, nine years ago, I have been yearning for the GPS that would show me the twistiest roads while out for a ride. Several cross-country rides later, I all but gave up on a system that would do that, let alone track my rides to share with friends and family, allow my Ninja 250 club plan rides together, and provide info about attractions, services and places to eat along the way – these guys nailed it. I can’t wait to use this – way to go!
PressFriendly – www.pressfriendly.com
This startup bridges the gap between companies wanting to share information and the press. Their service comes with online tools like press opportunity lists, story wizards and phone time with a PR rep. This service could help a lot of startups run more successful PR campaigns for an affordable price.
* sidenote – Pressfriendly wasn’t demoing at Launchfest, but they were attendees and we thought they were worth including.
ImmersaLabs – www.immersalabs.com
ImmersaLabs is developing a phone case that is a game controller. I got to test out their prototype, and it was pretty cool. They put a lot of thought into how to make the controller as functional as possible, and, of course, fun for playing games.
FindMySong – www.findmysong.com
This is a music based social site that not only helps musicians get discovered, but also helps musicians find eachother – bandmates, collaborators and such. Great idea!
Adenda – www.adendamedia.com
Adenda is an ad revenue solution for Android apps. This lets you show ads on the Android lock screen – Adenda handles the ad management and they take a surprisingly low percentage of ad revenue. As long as users aren’t too annoyed, this may turn into a great way for app-developers to generate extra money for their apps.
Kiind – www.kiind.me
Kiind is an online gift card system that only charges you when the giftcard recipient actually uses the card. Great idea!
Amazi – www.amazi.co
Amazi is an app that lets you see where there is free water along your walking or running routes. They also plan on branching out to similar areas like water filtration systems. Considering SF just banned sales of plastic water bottles, I think there will be some interesting market shifts for water, and I think Amazi is up for the challenge.
TinkerED – www.tinkered.co
TinkerED is a portal that connects developers working on education tech with actual educators – this connection has been typically missing in a lot of education related tech projects.
uBiome – www.ubiome.com
uBiome does home micro-biology testing kits. You collect the sample and send it back to the lab. You can use the results to learn about yourself, or participate in research studies. This kit costs $89.
CommitChange – www.commitchange.com
CommitChange is changing how non-profits handle donations and CRM. They’ve put a lot of research into their UI to encourage both higher donation amounts and higher number of repeat-donors.
Wonolo – www.wonolo.com
Wonolo changes how people handle temp workers – the idea that is there is an employment base, and when you post an order for a temp worker, the first qualified person to accept the job gets the job. The benefit to the employer is much cheaper rates for temp workers and being able to order temp help online.
Suiteness – www.suiteness.io
Suiteness is an app that fills high-end hotel rooms usually reserved for VIPs and celebs on a last minute basis at discount rates.
Martin JetPack – www.martinjetpack.com
The Martin JetPack is the real deal. Burns 10 gal/hr (compared to 6 gal/hr of a Cessna 150 airplane) – has half hour tank capacity, and uses premium gasoline you can find at any gas station. Uses a computer to fly – eliminating user error. I totally want one – don’t you?
Distil Networks – www.distilnetworks.com
Distil Networks is creating devices to block bad bots – protecting websites from scraping, data mining, form spam and click fraud.
Tycoon – www.tycoonhq.com
Tycoon does analytics differently. They take your data and explain it real English so that your team can use it more quickly and effectively.
Portfolia – www.portfolia.com
Portfolia is a new kind of angel list that has a major focus on women. They also have a design lab to help get feedback immediately on ideas before launching or campaigning for funds. Portfolia was one of the most talked about companies during LaunchFest.
Userbin – www.userbin.com
Userbin handles user security for app development so startups don’t have to.
Youcruit – www.youcruit.com
Youcruit will change the way your company does HR. It’s kind of like they invented a Basecamp just for handling job applications and hiring communications. They are already being used in Sweden and are spreading to the US. We’re looking forward to using their free account in our next hiring round this Summer.
Sourcebits – www.sourcebits.com
Do you have an idea for an awesome app? Take it to Sourcebits and let them build it for you.
Ensa – www.ensa.com
Ensa is an app that is designed to be a personal digital health assistant – connecting all of your health and fitness apps to access to doctors and medical records.
BADU Networks – www.badunetworks.com
BADU Networks is giving early access to users for PingFOG, a wireless optimizer. Their goal is to change how people connect to wireless. I know from our experience at Cruzioworks, having fast wireless can make a huge difference on daily online tasks – so we’re excited to see whether their product is a success.
Upshift – www.upshiftcars.com
Upshift is a group car ownership business – that takes programs like Zipcar to the next level for someone who needs to use a car on a regular basis. Whenever you need to use a car, you order it online, and it is delivered to you – sounds great right?
NaiaHealth – www.naiamom.com
NaiaHealth is changing what people expect out of pumps for breast-feeding their babies. Their goal is to make pumps that are quiet, smaller, more comfortable, and more efficient.
Flyr – www.getflyr.com
Flyr is a site that lets you guarantee a flight price, while you keep searching for other flights.
RoomReveal – www.roomreveal.com
RoomReveal shares photos and inspiration of home improvement projects and connects people to contractors.
Medl.io – www.medl.io
Medl.io is an app that acts as digital insurance card as well as medical resource for finding doctors offices and other medical information.
RevolveRobotics – www.revolverobotics.com
RevolveRobotics turns your ipad into a robotic surrogate for conference rooms. People see your face, while you are able to swivel the ipad see the entire room just by clicking your mouse.
Meshify – www.meshify.com
Meshify helps enable access and control over the internet of things. This was especially interesting to us because of the digital signage aspects – for example, we blogged about British Airways’ excellent digital signage billboard campaign last year.
Canvs+ – www.canvs.co
Canvs+ is meant to be the next iteration of project management, with graphical approaches to collaboration and project management.
Porter – www.useporter.com
Porter is a personal service finder – from pet sitting to personal chefs. Will be available in major cities.
Lumo – www.lumoback.com
Lumo is a wearable designed for monitoring and improving health behavior for your back and posture.
Sli.do – www.sli.do
Web tool for instant polling and sharing results during presentations and conferences. We think this may be a great tool to use with digital signage as well.
Locket – www.getlocket.com
App that delivers curated content for locked screens on phones.
ThreePound – www.threepound.com
Their app uses brain sensor headbands to map and give feedback on meditations, and to promote meditation in the workplace.
Cofounders Lab – www.cofounderslab.com
Cofounders Lab is a place where you can connect with other cofounders and build a team for your next startup project.