Startups, here’s your chance to pitch investors and get funded in 54 hours. This time, Weekend Ventures will be in Mumbai

Weekend Ventures

Being a successful entrepreneur in today’s dynamic environment involves not just an idea that makes heads turn, but also an effective implementation, controlled planning and most importantly team members who share the same passion and skills to transform what looked like a simple idea into a successful product!

You don’t have to look for a golden opportunity to make your dream come true because Weekend Ventures, a 54 hour weekend event, has brought in a leading edge for aspiring entrepreneurs, designers and developers to chunk in their innovative ideas, build prototypes and launch their startups within three days. It is an event where you can form teams, start building your products, learn from mentors and ultimately know the valuable ingredients for building up a successful venture.

At Weekend Ventures the only thing that will stand out about yourself would be – Your Idea. Once you pitch in your idea , people who like your work would want to associate with you and hence forth you will be able to form a group of like minded people. After you have formed a team (you get to choose who would be your team members based on their interests and skills), start brainstorming and allocating different assignments to your team mates solely based on their area of expertise. The program also gives participants a structured way to go about building your startup. During the session, participants would get to interact with notable entrepreneurs, industry experts, coaches in the field of technology, design, management and receive valuable feedback from the judges.

Weekend Ventures - Mumbai

A 54 hour program starting from 25th January (Friday) and continuing till 27th January (Sunday) aims at providing mentorship, networking, resources and incentives to young entrepreneurs to go from idea to launch. Beginning with the pitching of the ideas on day one to the development of protocol on day two and finally involving the pitching of the ideas to the investors on the closing day, most of the productive work is done owing to the intensive nature of the workshop. It is an esteemed juncture for budding entrepreneurs, designers and developers to pitch to investors and get seed investment for their startups. Additionally, they are also serving numerous prizes for the top three startups.

If you already have a team, it is better to register your team members along with you for the session. That way they will get a first-hand experience. We at Startcup, are also going to be a part of this lucrative yet highly contingent event taking place over the coming weekend and our excitement and hunger to achieve our goals has just started! So, if you’re catching up – let’s meet up and hear your story.

Get your ticket here

Letterboxd – A social network for sharing your taste in films

Letterboxd

LetterboxdAre you a movie buff? The excitement of a new movie launch, the scrambling for getting the first review, to be that one person in your circle, who can predict ‘What will make for a fantastic watch’, because you understand the taste of your friends. It would be incredibly cool. (I know). The excitement perks up when it comes with the element of secrecy. Yes, what if you could find a secret diary that told you about the likings and inclinations of your fellow film connoisseurs’. The genre, the recently watched, the ratings, the favorites, the reviews of the movies; all could be out by flipping the open diary. And what if you can post comments too? Prodigious right!

Letterboxd is a social community, which creates an intuitive interface to share one’s taste in movies. You can keep track of new releases and escape being the black sheep. Read reviews and write your opinion off the movie, while building a personal collection. You can find and follow your friends take on movies and learn about their tastes.

The free to use, online app has ‘by invitation’ membership only. Once you’ve secured and accepted your invite by signing up or by the help of an existing member, getting started couldn’t be simpler. This tool marks your movie choices by adding star ratings. You can create a ‘watchlist’ of films you’d like to watch in future, be it of any genre or of any time period; Letterboxd brings it all on the floor.

The fun part is you can make as many lists as you desire, of different genres, containing innumerable movies in each. The ‘add a film’ button helps your followers to keep track of your movie- line and read your take on them. There remains to barrier to the number of times you wish to update your ratings and flip through the list of movies you have watched.

Letterboxd

Letterboxd provides the platform to watch movies via iTunes, Amazon and Netflix. The ‘activity dashboard’ keeps track of all your interactions which will help you remember all your cross-references in content, among your group. The site plans to introduce paid accounts down the line, but there’ll always be a free option for all the moviegoers.

The platform is in its public beta stage – makes all your diary content visible except the watchlist and curated lists that are marked as private. This keeps your privacy intact. Even your Twitter or Facebook friends could be connected to your profile if they are using Letterboxd to make a cooler hangout cyberspace. It’s a great way to recommend movies socially and keep the wished vs. watched lists of movies.

Give it a spin, and let us know what do you think about it.

Brad Feld, tells Startcup his tale of venture, investment, risks, missions and motivations

Brad Feld

Every entrepreneur needs an investor and every investor needs an investment. In a heart to heart conversation with Brad Feld, we learn more of a startup’s life who made it real big. Feld, tells his tale of venture, investment, risks, missions and motivations.

Believer of bootstrapping, Brad is one of the managing directors at Foundry Group, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage software and IT companies. He is also the co-founder of TechStars, a mentor-driven accelerator, author of several books and blogs, and a marathon runner with a vision of developmental enterprise.

Brad Feld during TechStars investment demo day

You have a creative edge and an entrepreneurial edge, which defines you better?

I think I’m a blend of both. My mom is an artist so I’ve always been inspired by creators. I’m not artistic or musical, so at an early age I started writing computer software. I loved the process of creating something from scratch, which led directly to my role as an entrepreneur, and now a writer. I’ve also always been incredibly independent – I don’t really care what other people think. Instead, I’m obsessed with creating things I’m interested in, and learning whatever I can.

Amongst all your investments which have proven successful, which one of them was a high risk venture?

Almost all of them. I invest at an early stage in a company’s life – often when it is just a few people and an idea. My goal is to invest in entrepreneurs who can create enormous companies, and help them on the journey.

What do you look for, in a startup, which makes it worth investment?

People and product. First, I look for people who I want to be partners with for a long time. Then, I want to understand the product they are creating, and want to see that they are obsessed about the product. This obsession is critical – if it’s a neat product but not something they think about every waking minute, then it’s not going to be interesting enough to me. A great example of this is Bre Pettis and MakerBot. Bre is completely and totally obsessed with 3D printers and creating a set of 3D printers that everyone can have on their desk, just like they have with 2D printers (e.g. laser prints and ink jet printers).

What was ‘your’ first startup?

Feld Technologies. I started it when I was 19 at MIT. I had a partner, Dave Jilk, who joined me a few years later. We built a software consulting firm that was self-funded (we started it with $10). By 1993 we had a $2m company with 20 employees that we sold to a public company.

Brad and David - Founders of Techstars

You’re associated with startups in more than one ways, what is the strengthening strategy and motivation behind it?

I love to play a strong supporting role with the entrepreneurs and management team. I like to say that I work for the CEO to do whatever he wants me to do to help him win.

Brad FeldWhen you started back in 1987, what hurdles did you face and how did you overcome them?

One of the beautiful things about starting a company when you are young is what you DON’T know. Dave and I pretty much didn’t know anything except how to write software. We were good at it, and able to solve business problems, so our services were quickly in demand. But we literally knew nothing about building a company. We read whatever we could get our hands on, were pretty fearless in hindsight with what we tried, communicated regularly about everything, and found some great mentors early on who were incredibly helpful to us.

You have such an enthralling ladder of achievements, what is your motto in life?

Learn constantly. Give before you get. Live for today – you don’t know when the lights are going to go off. Love the people around you.

Where do you see yourself after 7 years?

I’ll be in my mid-50’s. I expect I’ll still be doing many of the things I’m doing today – investing as a VC, helping entrepreneurs, writing, running, and spending time with my wife Amy.

What is your opinion about “Bootstrapping”?

It’s awesome. Dave and I bootstrapped Feld Technologies. I have enormous respect for entrepreneurs who bootstrap.

What’s the story behind the ’50 states marathon mission’?

In my mid 30’s I gained a lot of weight and was struggling with chronic gout. I used to run track when I was a teenager so I decided to start running again. I picked a big goal – run a marathon in every state. I’ve done 23 now!

What do you think about entrepreneurship, precisely talking about the Indian space?

I don’t know enough specifically about entrepreneurship in India to have a strong perspective, but I have a deeply held belief that you can create great new companies anywhere on this planet. And it’s exciting to see – from a distance – many of the companies being created in India.

Any message to young entrepreneurs out here in India?

Just go for it!

VoiceBunny- A tool that pays you for your voice

VoiceBunny

Instant messaging, message packs, Hike, WhatsApp and more, have made the world a very virtual place. You are seldom found calling people with such hiked call rates. May it be a birthday wish, wedding cheers or cocktail invitations, personal invites have obliterated. From this arose the need of rapid communication for personal and business development.

VoiceBunny is an online app that aspires to connect people with great voices to those – who need them.

Why do you need good voices? When it comes to business the scope is unbound. From radio announcements to reception calls, a beautiful voice gives an awesome kick start. A pleasing voice is able to grasp attention, no matter where it is heard, may it be podcasts, toys, video games, mobile apps, e-greetings, e-learning etc. A personal message has the amiable convincing power, that helps in crowd sourcing, in this case though, ‘crowdvoicing’.

VoiceBunny Fast and professional voice overs

While calling a marriage bureau to setup a perfect match, you like to hear a voice that is charming rather than disgruntled. What more? You even get paid if you have the talent. Yes! VoiceBunny allows you for a free signup and pays you even for auditioning, if approved.

VoiceBunny has an API interface, what does that mean right? It means that your computer does all the hard work and you reap all the awards. Far cooler and easier that a user-interface.

When condensed, VoiceBunny has a complete customized structure flexible with your own rates, convenient timings, recording from home studio, projects of choice and remuneration. Nothing could be a more win-win tool.

#HappyRecording

Deepinder Goyal – The man who served technology and cuisine on one plate

Zomato

Technological innovations have brought everything on the World Wide Web. Young entrepreneurs have aptly and very subtly moulded themselves into the system to provide more grasping techniques, more sophisticated web of verified data. Markets have a chasm that is enthralling marketers to harness the potential in myriad ventures, creating a wide-spread e-revolution of skilled professionals and amateurs’ altogether.

Entrepreneurs have left no field unmanned. May it be resource development, app development ot network development – there is an algorithm tried and tested. But what happens when technology meets cuisine. It means delicious, crisp, mouth-watering dishes. Locations and reviews of drive-ins, take-away points, mini-joints and hot hangout spots delivering appetite sizzlers – All online and within reach of a CLICK.

Deepinder Goyal (CEO and Co-founder, Zomato)

Few days back, I had a chance to have a  pleasurable conversation with Deepinder Goyal – a food lover, mathematician, entrepreneur and more.

What’s the story behind Zomato, its conception, success, inspiration and future?

ZomatoZomato, founded in 2008, is a revolutionary restaurant guide providing in-depth information for over 71,000 restaurants across various countries of its presence. Zomato’s core content features include menus, photos and geo-coded coordinates for restaurants. Other community features include reviews, ratings and ability to follow other users’ recommendations on Zomato.

Zomato was started by IIT Delhi alumni in July 2008 for Delhi NCR and has expanded its services over a span of 4 years to 18 cities across India, United Kingdom, UAE & Sri Lanka. We have raised three rounds of funding totalling up to $6.5M. Apart from the website and apps, Zomato is also available in print in select cities in India, with print versions for other cities on the way. We are headquartered in New Delhi and currently employ over 200 people across its offices spread across 4 countries. Zomato will continue expanding both nationally and internationally in 2013.

How did you break into the foodie biz? Are you a foodie or a connoisseur?

While I was working at Bain & Company, a leading management consulting firm, I noticed that a lot of my colleagues were queuing up in the office cafeteria to have a look at the menu cards to order food. Most of these people were young, affluent bachelors who did not have access to home-cooked food. I just asked myself “What if these menus were available online?” That was how Zomato, then Foodiebay was born. Pankaj and I then went on to build this database and soon we had gone live with menus for 1,200 restaurants in Delhi NCR in July 2008 which expanded to 2,000 restaurants by the end of the year. My friends tend to joke saying, I love my food enough to start a company that is all about food!

“Best Culinary Travel Guide in India”, How does that feel?

It is always good to be appreciated for the hard work that the team collectively puts in.

Zomato is online, now it has various apps and it’s going into print as well. What else is lined up, five years down the line?

Our immediate focus is on international expansion. We recently launched Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Colombo towards the last quarter of 2012 and recently launched our London section this month. We are currently working on the launch in a couple more cities in the Europe, Middle East and South East Asia. We have a long way to go and going by the mounting interest and dependency being shown in us we will be around for a long time.

Zomato Restaurant Summit 2013. What will it be all about? Any surprises?

The Zomato Restaurant Summit is a gathering of seasoned restaurant owners, senior marketing professionals, venture capitalists and industry visionaries. The theme of Zomato Restaurant Summit 2013 (all three city chapters) is growth.

At the Summit, we will hear and learn from our industry’s most successful people as they talk about their experience of how they went about growing their business to its current scale. The Zomato Restaurant Summit is also India’s biggest networking event for restaurant owners. A place to connect, celebrate and share experiences with each other.

UAE, Sri Lanka, UK, India – what is next on the global list? Any plans of rapid expansion?

We are currently looking at expanding into more cities in Europe, Middle East and South East Asia in this year.

What were the trials you faced as a startup?

When it comes to consumer facing portals the biggest apprehension is around the famous chicken and egg problem – customers find value only if we have the most exhaustive in-depth information on restaurants while restaurant owners find value only if we have enough customers. We solved this problem though by providing a rock solid content platform which provides all possible information for ~95% of restaurants across 18 cities in India, UAE, Sri Lanka and now UK.

Connecting link at Zomato is cuisine. What are the other ingredients?

The other key ingredients would be fun, focus and innovative.

Any message to young entrepreneurs in India?

First and foremost, it’s not about the idea but the execution. Even if you already have a product in the market, you can always do it better. Once you are determined to do something, the other thing to take care of is that you need to find good people to work with. People who are as committed to the job as you are. [highlight]Do not think about money and raising funds upfront, but create a valuable product, which people would like to use.[/highlight] Also, Murphy’s Law is one of the fundamentals you need to get in your head before starting up – “if something can go wrong, it will”.

Download Zomato app for Android:

[googleplay url=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.application.zomato&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5hcHBsaWNhdGlvbi56b21hdG8iXQ..”]

Download Zomato app for iOS:

[app url=”https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/zomato/id434613896″]

Download Zomato app for Windows Phone:

[windowsphone url=”http://www.windowsphone.com/en-in/store/app/zomato/a00f4816-19b0-4bd8-a554-8f0172151cb3″]

 

Late Labs – Trading Code for Equity

LateLabs

Hardcore coders or hackers are an enthusiastic lot; symbolizing effervescing energy. But having the talent does not confirm ‘incoming- dinero’. Always on the look- out for more challenges, projects and enterprises, they fail to connect with the much needed resources.

Late Labs

Apart from those looking for work, there are people who are looking out for ‘people’ to do their work called Hustlers.  Late Labs brings these hustlers and hackers together creating an amazing web of ideas and resources, giving you codes and apps imbibed with creativity and zapping efficiency.

Late Labs is a crowd sourced community of cool coders. The online platform is a launch pad for developers to apply their time in a collaborative way and in return earn equity. Equity is the new cash!  It takes a long time to get any returns, if any at all, but when it does, it reaps big rewards. Late Labs is pretty much a summation of resource –oriented venture, which provides technical documentation, project management, infrastructure, design, distribution and dinero to make projects a success.

Equity for all the involved parties is calculated based on an “equity fairness calculator” (being worked on currently). As a developer you can connect using your GitHub account or by sending your resume and portfolio through mail. You need to apply for each project individually. The Late Labs team selects you, a budding developer, after reviewing your code. Once selected, you will have access to full project details and including the contract (sounds exciting!) with details of your equity as predetermined by the project lead. Equity will be awarded to the developer after the code is tested and released to the public in beta form. It thrives as much on simplicity as on its challenging aptitude.

Brainchild of co-founders, Justin Elof Johnson and Nathan Ross, the startup has got an enthusiast response with 3.5K people signing up within a month of launch. Late Labs will be running the process, and not the idea originator. But it also has an option for submission of an idea. The concept is similar to Ahhha but unlike them Late Labs only crowdsources coders and not the entire product development process.

Are you a hacker and hope for being a part of the next big thing? Do your efforts aim at trending ideas and do you dream of working with the brilliant minds of Silicon Valley? Here’s your chance.

Foundersync – An entrepreneurial match making platform helping you find potential co-founders for your startup

Foundersync – An entrepreneurial match making platform helping you find potential co-founders for your startup

What clicks in your head when you hear about match-making sites? I know the most obvious answer to prior line would be matrimony, but now disbelievingly you have FounderSync, an online board connecting you to the missing links of your team. Yes, it is a platform made for you to find co-founders for your startup and give it a very potential backbone.

You have the thought in place, your concept is ready to roll, but you need a support. FounderSync is that niche, which puts people together while striving to provide the fundamental tools and resources which is needed for a successful project.

The online application works best at ‘entrepreneurial match-making’, as the tool becomes a savior while it serves to bring out the potential in every project. Starting with social media signup option not only makes it super simple to join but it also eases your entry into a vast abyss of your prospective team mates.

The tool has a very visual appeal to it and makes the profile development cooler, with three word definition of self, as you go on to mention about your needs. The website gives you the freedom to build up efficient networking, through social plugins, while facilitating you to locate anxious entrepreneurs not much different from yourself.

[vimeo]32007085[/vimeo]

At the core, it has a very effectual pairing algorithm that goes beyond the general search keywords. It has highlights like soft skills, phase of venture, personality etc.

While the site may seem limited, the team more than fills up for it; further they say, [highlight]“We are in Beta and our intention is to rapidly deploy new features over the next few months as our experiments run their course. Instead of building tools that no-one will use, we have chosen to engage with our users and have them ‘tell’ us what they want to see.”[/highlight]

FounderSync Board

Now there’s a better place for you to find your perfect co-founder, or even an entire team!

Instinct – A faster and easier way to learn guitar

Instinct – A faster and easier way to learn guitar

Instinct helps you learn guitarHave you ever picked up a guitar and pretended to be a famous rockstar? Or do you just play air guitars every time you hear your favorite bands perform? Instinct’s defines a musician. Here, guitarists are defining – Instinct is for you! Get famous as you create your profile and save your tunes for other’s to listen and play along.

You don’t need any special guitar; it can be either an acoustic or an electrical. GetInstinct acts like your very own guitar teacher, who listens, guides and at the same time provides instant assistance in very cool-themed visuals. The online tool is certainly a ‘fascinating dream’ come true for novice musicians because, it helps them learn guitar online by quick sign up, after having selected trendy-in-vogue-avatars.

Instinct

Instinct provides you with an option to play on your guitar – yeah a tangible one. Or play on a virtual one, polishing your Instincts. For real guitars it syncs with your computer’s built-in microphone and thus provides essential feedback, without the troubles of a jack or cord appendages. It is specially designed for amateurs and the first few lessons contain very detailed information on strings and more to give you a perfect kick start.

Pull out your guitar, follow the visual notes on your computer screen and get ready to take a step towards reaching your dream. Just hit the notes and Instinct will take care of the rest.

Experienced guitarists can also find Instinct interesting as they can check out ‘Riffs’, which has a whole bunch of riffs created by other users (later, down the line – You can be one too). Instinct aims at introducing chord lessons in the near future and also plans on building apps for iPhone, iPad and Android – making it easier to access.

Founded by Blake Jenelle and Brian Stoner, this incredible tool can make a musician out of novices without much cough-up. The testimonials are validity after all!

Other than this, you can also opt to have interactive guitar lessons emailed to you every week. GetInstinct provides you this; and much more.

Trust your instincts , but trust this new app – Instinct more!

Giveter – An intelligent way to know right gifts for right friends

Giveter

Confused what to give your best friend on her upcoming birthday? Turns out a lot of them face the same issue. We want our loved ones to feel special, by gifting them something they have always longed for on their special occasion, be it birthdays and anniversaries or New Year. But choosing gifts is difficult and at times make you want to bang your head against the wall. Giveter brings you an interesting solution and the art of buying perfect gift no longer remains a mystery.

Giveter is an online app that helps you to buy gift items for friends, by providing suggestions on what the person would like to get. A group of analysts come up with mind blogging ideas, based on three vital information:

  • Age of the recipient
  • Relationship that you share with the recipient
  • The occasion

Plus there are few additional options to help you make the gift more relevant:

  • Mood – As in what is your mood to gift your loved one. Which might range from – precious, personalized, funky or romantic.
  • Personality – This helps you select a gift based on the recipient’s personality or nature.
  • Price – Your budget – an important factor.

As to how they do it, the Giveter team prefers to keep their “$100 idea” a secret. Avinash Saxena, co-founder at Giveter, says “We have an in-house gifting aggregation team which cherry picks unique giftable products. Once the user finalizes a gift, presently we redirect the user to our partners, for payments. Currently we have a total of 2500 gifting option in different categories.”

Giveter

What makes Giveter even more appealing is a connect with Facebook account option, with background synchronizing to find the recipient’s “Facebook likes”. This amazing feature helps you get the perfect gift for your loved one.

That’s not all, Giveter not only helps you get the correct suggestion but also helps buy them at reasonable prices, as it has business connections with most of the popular Indian merchandise brands, stores and vendors. This is indeed a good deal in terms of users getting amazing offers and combos.

Giveter also introduced a Zip-Gift feature, for the event of friendship day. “With e-addresses becoming more real than physical addresses, people will be able to send, receive and share gifts on Facebook. The pilot was carried out on Friendships day and 10,000 zip-gifts were sent within 36 hours!” says Mayank Bhangadia, another co-founder at Givetar.

What are you waiting for? Head onto Giveter and surprise your loved ones with that perfect gift they’d love to have.

Sizzlepig – Resize multiple images (yes, entire folders) right before your eyes

Sizzlepig

Images have become the basic mode of crowd sourcing but Photoshop may not be everyone’s forte. Now, if you have a presentation in an hour and you still have two batches of hundred pictures each, to be processed, edited and re-sized, then even Photoshop wouldn’t suffice. Designers and developers have a tough time converting multiple images, a hundreds of them at a single shot, to aesthetic images without affecting the pixels. Moreover, precious time is wasted as available market-scripts require a lot of time, testing and tweaking.

Sizzlepig is an online image resizing tool, redefined with human touch. It creates multiple sizes for multiple images and is the solution, by far, for creative imagery. The tool is undoubtedly a better approach for less work, more productivity. While, content gives you more readers, pictures play a major role in user’s engagement. And that’s where Grit Design, a Detroit based team of like-minded troops, built Sizzlepig to get more than just graphics, with an ability to preview your resized images even before they’re created. What an idea (whoa).

Sizzlepig

The website is very visual and works with Dropbox sync, making it efficient, easy and responsive. You create an account, sync it with your Dropbox folder and you’re set to roll. You can start by uploading your images by creating a project and the online app will store the processed images automatically, if you chose so.

With no scripts required, the tool has vibrant frames, allowing you to input the dimensions you need (for the exported images). What makes it more interesting is its “one-change” function which updates all the images just by adjusting the original one. This is certainly an important aspect for cropping, retouching and framing multiple images – just like a cake walk.

SizzlePig Tour

 

Sizzlepig is an endeavor to make image fine tuning easy without multiple scripting. So, if you need to resize multiple images (yes, entire folders) right before your eyes, give it a shot. No scripts, no guesswork.

Tablewalla – Restaurants à la carte

Tablewalla

Planning for a sundae brunch this weekend or planning for a dinner on your anniversary but confused where to find the best Lime Pie or the best Italian restaurant? You go online for answer but the list is crowded with all kinds of eating places and you don’t know whom to trust for that special occasion. Tablewalla is your answer.

Tablewalla has come up with a fun and useful tool to help you explore your city’s dining scene and discover great new places. It is a real-time restaurant booking and discovery site. The USP of Tablewalla (TW) is that it cuts through the noise and only features a curated list of the most highly-rated and popular restaurants in India – the ones they’d visit and would recommend to their friends and family.

Tablewalla - Promotional cover image

You can expect to see latest news and updates from restaurants, images from their culinary adventures, and lots of recommendations here. You can also book the tables from tablewalla and avail special offers and discounts by booking through TW. The sign up options include sign up with Facebook which makes signing up easier and there is a no-mail option while signing up which ensures you inbox is clean. There is a nice TW status which indicates whether you are a kid or a player in the big league and know your fondant from your souffle.

Tablewalla

Started by Nisha Khanna, the site is fairly new and is rolling out lots of exciting new features in the coming weeks. Currently the site features only restaurants from Mumbai and Delhi. The sites like zomato offer reviews but no booking option than others like JustEat or bookurtable lets you book tables but that isn’t a curated list. Only I wish I could see the menu for the restuarants from here.

If you love eating out and exploring new places then don’t miss out on this site. Sign up now!

Moqups – Create wireframes and interactive mockups in minutes

Moqups – Create wireframes and interactive mockups in minutes

When you want to share a webpage layout with your friends or clients, the worst part is – explaining the elements and the sequential flow of the design. So if you’re designing a user interface for a website or a mobile app, it’s always a good idea to start with a mockup. It can be a big time saver if you’re able to list down the placement of major layout elements in a project before things get complicated.

There are a number of wireframing applications out there, but a lot of user interface designers like to start out on paper with sketches of what things might look like. With so many tools available to quickly create digital wireframes, some may argue that this is an unnecessary step in the design process. But I think the free flowing style of a sketched wireframe or mockup can be refreshing. Besides, there’s nothing like good old pencil and paper to get the creative juices flowing.

Mockups, not only helps you to have a full and clear exchange of ideas with your team but also play a major role in conserving your energy and focus.

Moqups, launched in July 2012 is a web application for creating wireframes, mockups and interactive prototypes. It’s built entirely on open web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SVG), thereby making it available on any modern browser on desktop or mobile platforms. Aha, so no more downloading any plugins or flash players (sigh!).

Startcup Mobile MockupI landed onto their homepage about two weeks back, and I must say the experience of creating my first mockup was phenomenal! It’s as easy as dragging and tweaking the elements on a blank paper.

Apart from its own library of stencils (predefined elements), you can also add your custom images to the playground, which has a well defined grid layout.

“Our design goals were clarity, simplicity and flexibility. We wanted our product to be blazing fast and load instantaneously. We are very enthusiastic with what we’ve built so far and we’re improving it on a daily basis, in no small part thanks to the suggestions of our lovely community where people share ideas and send us issues they’ve encountered” says Dan from Moqups.

The startup also plans to introduce few premium features in the near future, including:

  • Real-time collaboration on projects
  • Fine-grained sharing & privacy options
  • Master pages
  • Integration with GoogleDrive, Dropbox and other third-party services
  • Feedback tools for designers and developers

Startcup Homepage layout wireframed on Moqup

Though there are many strong players in the market including Balsamiq and Creately, Moqups is certainly one of the finest wire-framing tools to kick start your prototyping, plus it’s free!

Simvla – A self hosted blogging platform for expert writers and newbies

Simvla – A self hosted blogging platform for expert writers and newbies

In today’s era, Blogging has become more than a way to express your thoughts. It has taken a turn towards social media and marketing, engaging more and more people throughout the globe to propagate the information. There has also been a growth in various niches where people blog to sell their products and offer services, in turn providing them with a profitable source of income.

For writers across the globe, where WordPress and Tumblr has been the most convenient platforms to start their blogs, last week I came across a Simvla, a fine blogging tool for those creative minds, who like simplicity and a clean interface.

Primarily, Simvla is an elite community of those writers and bloggers who want to share their experiences and knowledge pertaining to the diverse fields they hail from. And why I call it “an elite community” is because – You gotta apply (i.e. submit your short bio), before you can get access to its dashboard. This certainly restricts the major crowd from being a part of the platform, but it surely gives a rewarding experience that you are one of those elite people.

From its bold look and a HEX color orientation concept, you can also choose to fork the code on github and make your own version of the Simvla’s software running right on your own server.

Simvla

Here are few of the blogs built on Simvla:

In addition, the platform also helps its users understand the total number of words in a post, reading time and an ability to add social connections and RSS feeds.

Started by Andrea, Simvla is a nice concept that could bridge the gap between writers and complicated blogging platforms in a more easy way (and importantly, it is a self hosted solution). The product is absolutely free to use – so give it a shot and share your thoughts.

Scoopinion – A tool which analyzes and delivers the news based on your interests

Scoopinion – A tool which analyzes and delivers the news based on your interests

A read-o-holic like me, spends a lot of time drifting and scrutinizing the web pages looking for something worth reading. Most of the time, it’s more disappointment than data; which you find. Do you have the idea that data journalism is almost extinct? If so, then you just might be in for a treat.

Scoopinion is an online app that provides you with all up-to-date stories, which are priorly verified. All the news and headlines comes from a range of very well reputed sources and channels. It delivers to you substance over catchy headlines. But what after you have a plenty of good well-sourced data? You cannot go through every article. Well, Scoopinion has a solution to this. The online tool delivers a feature story to you, only when it is sure that it’s worth your read.

There also exists Scoopinion browser plugins (Firefox and Chrome) which follows the readers engagement and analyzes behavior of like-minded people, thereby adding brilliant filtering options for your preferences.

The tool not only serves readers but has the frame to provide site suggestions to journalists as well. Scoopinion gives the platform to freelance journalists to be published, by providing knowledge about upcoming channels.

You can fetch curated stories from The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Harvard Business Review and more, all in one go. Apart from being your own personalized magazine, bringing to you all the information you want from different papers that tends to your taste and needs, it add more value by highlighting the content as ‘Top Scoring’, ‘Favorite Authors’ and ‘Just In’.

What are your future plans? I asked Ville Sundberg, CTO at Scoopinion. “Our future focus is on connecting readers and journalists in a better way.” Looking at the journalist’s side, Scoopinion plays an efficient role in Audience Analysis, which has already been proven especially useful to freelance journalists. It gives the reporter an idea of which other publications their audience reads. In these uncertain times for journalists, freelancers are constantly on the lookout for new channels for their stories.

There are two types of site suggestions we can give:

  • Sites that the journalist is aware of but didn’t think they’d attract readers there
  • Sites that the journalist was completely unaware of but that hit pretty close to what they write about, says Ville.

Audience Analysis of Nick Bilton by Scoopinion

So if you are hunting for news feed from dozens of different sources, here is an elegant tool that visualizes your ‘media fingerprint’, showcasing your favorite sources at one stop.

For data junkies who want to discover more about data journalism, another strategic option is the Data Journalism Handbook.

Hopflow – Share and discover content you’re passionate about

Hopflow – Share and discover content you’re passionate about

Imagine a situation – You’re sitting by the window, sipping your favorite cup of coffee when you’re stuck by a brilliant idea for the story you’ve been working on, but failing repeatedly due to lack of constructive and effective lead. The next thing you do is jump out of your bed and share it either on Facebook or Twitter (Been there, done that). But have you ever realized that not many people are interested or even moderately impressed by the idea you yourself are awestruck with? You tend to question your competency and judge your ability by the number of ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ you get. The problem here is not that your idea is uninteresting or very common, but it is that you’re not adequately associated with those people who hold a considerable amount of respect, passion and efficiency to understand, appreciate or criticize your area of expertise. To cut the story short, you need to hang around with like minded people to get the credibility you deserve.

Whether you are a budding writer, musician, photographer or a voracious book reader, here’s a good news for you all. With the help of Hopflow you can now discover new content, share ideas, explore and connect with people who love what you love the most! Hopflow, apart from being a dynamic and innovative platform, also, makes it easier for its users to choose from a wide selection of choices solely based on their field of interest either through mobile app or the web. You no longer have to post tweets or update your facebook only to get unnoticed by users. All you have to do is share your content online by signing up.

When you ‘like’ a hop , Hopflow finds out what you find interesting and automatically tailors only the relevant content that fits your parameter, thereby avoiding excessive ‘noise’ or uncalled traffic. It helps you connect better outside of your social circle with people who share the same interest (cooking, reading and other) by just clicking on ‘Rehop’. You can then comment, engage yourself in endless conversations and at the same time enhance your knowledge of the things that inspire you the most.

Hopflow - Share and discover content you’re passionate about

Having a number of followers is way too old school now because when using Hopflow, you do not have to worry about your follower count as it shares your content to every reader who’s a part of the Hopflow network. Founded by Erez Pilosof, a serial entrepreneur, Hopflow is based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Start hopping in your ideas!

[app url=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hopflow/id491044397?ls=1&mt=8″]

Hike Messaging App – Interview with Kavin Bharti Mittal, the man behind the show

Hike Messaging App – Interview with Kavin Bharti Mittal, the man behind the show-001

From the utility of your month expenses to the whimsy of organizing the next office event round, it seems like there is an app for just about everything. But in the minds of the most adventurous app developers, this is just the first generation of technologies that we will wonder how we ever lived without.

When most people think of mobile app development, the first apps that come to mind are usually productivity apps such as Dropbox, Mail, and Evernote, games such as Angry Birds, Cut the rope, and Doodle Jump, or social apps like Facebook, TweetDeck, and Foursquare. All of these apps are constructed to slip into the cracks of our busy lifestyles, aiding us in some form or fashion. Catching up on Facebook while in line at KFC. Entertainment while waiting for a friend to arrive. Checking in to a restaurant while walking through the door. Although mobile apps like these are becoming more and more integrated into our everyday lives, there is still an entire sea of uncharted waters left to explore.

As technological innovations such as location based services, augmented reality, the accelerometer, etc. open new doors daily, apps are slowly starting to reach out and take advantage of all these new features and create truly unique experiences. Recently one of my friends referred me to download this app called hike, a free messaging tool. “I already use WhatsApp, why should I download this?” I asked her, and to my surprise, I instantly received a SMS from her saying “coz it gives you free messaging!” And believe me, without wasting a second more, I downloaded the app. However, it took me few days to realize the benefits of the app, when I could send my friends (who didn’t had smart phones) free SMS right from my mobile, and now it’s on my list of “most frequently used app.”

hike - Homepage

It was a pleasure to interview Kavin Bharti Mittal, the idea hero behind hike, and its upcoming success.

How would you introduce hike?

Hike Apphike is a cross platform messenger that aims to make communication simple and personal again. With a beautiful user experience and emotional emoticons, there hasn’t been a better and more simple way to express yourself to all your friends. With hike you can message all your friends. hike to hike is free globally and one can also message friends who don’t have the app installed for free, as making SMS messaging pretty seamless.

How was the idea conceptualized and developed? Any specific inspiration?

In India, given the low penetration of data enabled smartphones, there is fragmentation in messaging. Mobile users have 4-5 apps that keep them in touch with their friends. Over time this becomes very tedious to manage. We asked ourselves is there an app that combines the real-time, free nature of IM with the openness and ubiquity of SMS? We couldn’t find one so we built hike.

How is the feedback that you are receiving about the app’s growth in the market?

The feedback has been amazing. We’re seeing great number users come onto hike on all platforms including the S40 app we just recently launched.

Five years before AppSpark, did you know you would go with the stream of online enterprise?

Five years before AppSpark, I think I was just about to enter high school. I’m a big F1 fan and I won’t be surprised if back then I wanted to be involved in F1 in some way. Short answer is no.

WhatsApp has taken the market by the storm, how do you think that hike will bring a change in the scenario?

IM market globally is a very fragmented market. We have WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik, Line, KakaoTalk and each have between 50-150M users. As a matter of fact half of the overall smartphone users still don’t really use a messaging app like so. There are big players but the market is still early.

You are a young entrepreneur, how has the journey been so far? Any ups and down you came across?

Being an entrepreneur one always has ups and downs. There are days when sky is the limit and others when you’re up till 6 AM figuring out what went wrong with your servers. It’s been a fantastic journey. One of great learning. I’ve learnt more in these last 3-4 years than I have in my entire life.

You were all set in UK, how did starting a venture in India comes up as a thought?

India is a big market. The potential of building something that could impact 1B people that access the internet from a mobile device was too exciting of an opportunity to pass up on. That said, if it wasn’t for AppSpark, I don’t think I would’ve been in a position to run BSB.

According to you, what has made the investment worth it?

It’s still early days. Ask me that question in a year.

What were the risks as a starter for you? And now, what risks are you willing to take for ‘Hike’?

Risk was not taking the usual route of getting a job or joining other business in the group and starting from scratch. Honestly speaking that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. I don’t care much for what people think, I do what I do, because I’m extremely passionate. hike is one of the most beautiful, well built products out there in the market and we’re going to do whatever it takes, so that it’s around for years to come.

According to you, what will be the future of mobile app industry?

Apps are a great form of distribution. There are people who build apps for the sake of apps and then there are those who get their services across users in the form of apps. We fall in the latter category and I hope more people follow.

There is no doubt in my mind that this has become and will remain a great source of distribution for years to come.

Any message that you would like to impart to young entrepreneurs out there?

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou have to be passionate about what you do. Building a company from scratch isn’t easy. It comes with a lot of hard work and constant worrying. Any sane person would walk away. So it’s extremely important to be passionate about what you do.

Download hike app for Android:

[googleplay url=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bsb.hike”]

Download hike app for iOS:

[app url=”https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/hike-messenger/id568038211″]

Iconify – An elegant way to create your professional portfolio

Iconify – An elegant way to create your professional portfolio

Even today many students get confused between a resume and a professional portfolio, while others are still unaware of the benefits of the latter. A professional portfolio is primarily a collection of documents, which bears the testimony of your entire career history relating to your educational qualifications, skills, assessments of personality, and recommendations from people, appraisals of your performances, psychometric evaluations, and personal validations along with verifying of backgrounds, whereas a CV merely embarks your skills and qualifications.

For those people who are engaged in creative fields like photography, art, designing and web development, portfolio plays a major role for fetching job opportunities and freelancing work. It is also very vital to gather all the necessary data pertaining to your skills and interests as this will be the valid evidences to show what you’ve accomplished. Adding references and recommendations from friends, lecturers and other known circles is also a good idea, as it will make your portfolio more effective.

If you are a professional photographer wandering how to create your portfolio, and maximize the benefits out of it, here is the one stop destination for all your professional needs – Inconify

Iconify is a free web app which allows professional photographers to create folders for their pictures and display them online to everybody which makes the sharing more easy. There is specified location for the upcoming photographers to update their personal details, along with a map to their physical location.

The sharing tools of Iconify are also very convenient and user-friendly, by the aid of which the professionals can share their work on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler or simply via email in just one click. The best part is however, the downloading option, which allows the users to download the professional portfolios as an app for glancing on mobiles or other portable devices. All you need to do is to click the download icon from any mobile or the device to avail this portfolio.

An elegant way to create your professional portfolio

Iconify looks appealing for the potential clients, but its simplistic design makes it usable by even a novice person.

So if you are an amateur photographer seeking for an opportunity to display your skills, start building your portfolio with Iconify.

Handpick – Helps you smartly share right stuff with right people

Handpick – Helps you smartly share right stuff with right people

Let’s take this case, when you’re browsing few sites for finding information related to “successful bootstrapping”, and out of those piles of information that you will find, you’d definitely want to share those important links and blogs with your friends who have their own startups. Sharing those URL’s via Facebook and Twitter would be the most convenient method. Right?

Hang On, before we jump onto the next situation. Apart from successful bootstrapping, you even want to share information related to history books with your classmates, cooking recipes with your mom and gaming hacks with your online friends. Now, do you think that sharing these dozens of links with different groups of people is quite an easy task? Not really.

Most of us know the importance of sharing links. It is one of the easiest ways to propagate information over the web with your loved ones. However, situations may get difficult when you share over hundreds of different links with different people in your life. And what happens when you send wrong information to wrong people. Personally, I’ve known the consequences when links were sent to wrong people. People had started thinking me of a spamming bot.

Fortunately, few days back I came across a startup called ‘Handpick’, a tool which would be of immense help for people like me, who share links with different groups of people on regular basis.

You can add email addresses of friends to individual groups, thereby segregating the information (i.e. links) they will receive in their email. What makes Handpick more easy to use tool is its Bookmarklet and a Chrome extension, which helps you add important links and websites right from your browser.

Handpick - Dashboard

What made you build Handpick? I asked Alvin, the man behind the startup. And here are the three primary reasons he has to say:

  • Different groups of people I interact with care about different things. When I send links which are highly relevant, the discussions that follow become deeper and more fun.
  • It’s more assuring to share links with candid comments, which might return and haunt, privately via email rather than on a public social network. A more conducive manner to nurture intimate, heartfelt email discussions.
  • Email notifications from social networks are disruptive. Bundling links into a daily or weekly email digest and delivering them at the best time is a great way to respect my friends’ time and attention.

Started by a one man army, Handpick seems to change the way we share links with the people we care about. Give it a spin, and let us know your thoughts.

Dealotto – A daily deals site where your luck decides the price you pay

Dealotto

It’s a dream of every shopaholic – Discounts and Group deals!

Who wouldn’t want to win prizes? But wouldn’t it be twice the charm when your luck proves an extra bit for you? It obviously will!! The happiness one feels in anticipation of winning a prize is heightened when luck deals in.

Dealotto, as the name suggests, is a website that combines daily deals and the game of lotto or luck cum probability.  It provides a platform to sell products – for sellers and even a grander one to buyers who can get magnificent deals in terms of discounts or tools and apps totally free.

Every product we use, we wish to share it with our friends. It is always crazy to share an app or a website that’s amazing and be the cynosure for introducing it in your circle. Dealotto, make this sharing even more fun. You can earn real money by inviting your friends over to dealotto.

Dealotto works with a very easy to use interface and has a one click registration process. You signup using a normal Dealotto account and enter the room of wondrous deals for a range of products.

Dealotto - Daily Deals for the Lucky

The variations and availability of tools and apps and themes are incredible. This includes, but not limited to, WordPress themes, hand-drawn vectors, icons, plug-ins, textures and more.

The tool provides instant and secure download after the payment. And you pay only the price you have won. The icons and textures become a must have for budding designers and developers.

Be lucky!

Silk – Easily helps you to filter data from the mass information

Silk

There is a mind-boggling amount of information online. And this is a wonderful thing. A good search engine is like an oracle: you can ask it any question you like and be sure to get an answer. The answer might be exactly what you’re looking for, or it might be, well, oracular—difficult to interpret and possibly incorrect. But what if you are searching for some specific data-related questions?

Well let me tell you an incident. Recently I was doing a research paper on “Global entrepreneurs below 20”, and like most of them would do, I started with Google search, which listed few relevant and other irrelevant results. I managed to copy the information and save it in a word file. Then I moved onto Crunchbase, but now it seemed like I was swimming in an ocean with trillions of fishes, and was trying to catch only the golden-colored breed. And believe me, I couldn’t ever complete my project – Not because there was no information available there, but only because all the information available was too scattered and time consuming, so as to put it down on one single sheet.

So coming down back to the question, have you ever spent hours digging up Wikipedia for information about a topic, opening up page after page to compare different information? If yes then you’ll surely like this startup called Silk.

Silk is a free-to-use online application that helps you collect, sort and view the information that you need without making you sweep through the data yourself. Think of it as an expert who knows everything about a given subject and can deliver that information to you with minimal effort.

Silk - Easily helps you to filter data from the mass information

Once you sign up, you can start browsing the data page by page, just as you would on CrunchBase. But what makes this more easier is that allows you to filter and search the data with specific parameters. This not only drills down the information quickly, but also saves your time without extensive searching and comparing the information. Ah, I still wish if I had known about this earlier.

Other than letting you access information available on other sites, you can even seed your data about your own company or startup, which then can be used as an internal research tool for your employees or team members. This information will then be indexed by search engines, giving you an added advantage of more exposure.

Co-founded by Salar al Khafaji and Lon Boonen, the ease with which Silk allows you to manage data is inspiring for anyone who has to do research for their jobs or studies. The ability to visualize that data in charts and graphs, is something the core value of Data Journalism.