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WeChat – The Mobile-First OS That Wants to Replace All Your Apps
 
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Tailgater Concierge Takes The Work Out Of Your Football Tailgating Experience
 
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ZenPayroll Changes Name To Gusto, Expands Into Benefits To Compete With Zenefits And ADP
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January 5, 2016

The Unfortunate Hype

Theranos is a company that is focused on a hugely important medical need for underserved and overcharged customers. However, the company – led by media darling Elizabeth Holmes – has apparently oversold itself and, in the process, tarnished its credibility and its future prospects.

Rolling back to 2014 we can see Elizabeth Holmes on a TEDMED stage holding a miniaturized future. A tiny pill-like vessel aptly named the nanotainer, to house a minute finger-stick blood sample, represented a testing platform for some 240 lab tests. As a key part of this vision, Theranos tests were to be accessible without a medical prescription and to cost a fraction of the costs [...]

 
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January 3, 2016

WeChat – The Mobile-First OS That Wants to Replace All Your Apps

Few people outside of China have heard about WeChat, yet over 600 million people spend around 3 hours within the app every day (http://wijnandjongen.nl/killer-app-of-this-decade-wechat-in-china/), which is more than 70% of all time spent on apps in China. At it’s core, WeChat is a messaging app similar to Whatsapp. However, deeper user engagement features such as “Moments” and “People Nearby” as well as integrations with a variety of other services and ability to pay within the app are what makes WeChat truly unique.

 

WeChat was launched in 2011 by the publicly listed company Tencent that became famous for launching the QQ instant messenger in 1999. Although QQ [...]

 
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October 6, 2015

Wantboards Wants To Change The Way You Shop With A “Reverse eBay”

Los Angeles startup Wantboards wants to disrupt the traditional understanding of commerce by putting the pricing power into the hands of consumers. It’s doing this with a demand-based marketplace where users can post a “Wantboard,” along with the price, condition, and brand of a product they’re looking for. The team then finds sellers who have what they’re looking for, and—if things go well—the process ends with a sale.

“It all started with a little car shopping,” says Wantboards’ Shannon Lotka. “Rudy Marilla first came up with the idea for Wantboards while searching for an offroad SUV for his family. He knew what target [...]

 
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October 1, 2015

Tailgater Concierge Takes The Work Out Of Your Football Tailgating Experience

Chicago startup Tailgater Concierge is a new service that aims to offer college football fans an easier way to tailgate. It provides amenities including tents, tables, chairs, ice-filled coolers, and even BBQs and TVs.

Behind the company are co-founders Jennie LaGrow and Neil Golden. Jennie is a businesswoman from the financial world who has worked for companies like The Walt Disney Company and Computershare. Neil previously worked as Chief Marketing Officer for McDonald’s USA where he oversaw the national marketing efforts for nearly 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S.

“Tailgater Concierge makes it easier for fans to enjoy their time with [...]

 
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September 17, 2015

ZenPayroll Changes Name To Gusto, Expands Into Benefits To Compete With Zenefits And ADP

ZenPayroll, the startup that aims to make payroll painless for business owners, today announced that it’s changing its name to Gusto and plans to expand into offering employee benefits to compete with companies like Zenefits and ADP.

In the past, the company focused on the six million U.S. small businesses that have done payroll by hand. But going forward, Gusto will position itself as a one-stop-shop for all compensation based needs—including health benefits and workers’ compensation.

CEO Josh Reeves says this has been in the works for a while, and plans to eventually offer benefits even appeared in the company’s 2012 seed fundraising [...]

 
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September 13, 2015

This Restaurant Serves Food With No Human Interaction

Eatsa, a new San Francisco restaurant specializing in quinoa, is doing something that turns the traditional understanding of food service on its head: the entire process, from ordering to delivery, is automated. The only humans on-site are those working behind the scenes—and even they may soon be replaced by machines.

The result is something as-of-yet unheard of, but long anticipated, in the fast food industry. From the moment you walk in the door until you leave the restaurant, no human interaction is required.

What this means depends on whether you’re a glass-half-full or half-empty kind of person. On one hand, it makes restaurant-going cheaper and more [...]

 
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September 11, 2015

TaxiTapp Helps Cab Companies Compete With Uber Using Free Mobile Apps

Over the last few years, services like Uber and Lyft have disrupted the transportation industry, leaving many traditional cab companies in the dust because they’ve failed to adapt to the mobile-centric world of 2015. But it’s not too late.

TaxiTapp is a mobile taxi booking platform that aims to improve the passenger experience and help cab companies better compete with Uber. It’s more important than ever for taxi drivers and fleets to have a mobile presence, and TaxiTapp provides just that.

When users open the TaxiTapp app, they can choose the cheapest, nearest, or highest rated taxi in the area and see an estimated fare before summoning a driver. [...]

 
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September 4, 2015

Say Hello To Maestro: The Keurig Of Fresh Food

Keurig has changed the way people think about coffee, streamlining the experience to make it simpler than ever before. Just pop in a coffee pod, press a button, and within minutes you’ve got a perfect cup of Joe. But what if the same principles could be applied to food?

Chicago startup Maestro is taking on that challenge with a new countertop appliance that turns raw ingredients into a complete meal, all by itself. Using it is actually quite similar to using a Keurig coffee maker: you buy ingredient pods called M-Pots, which contain fresh, raw ingredients; drop each pod into one of Maestro’s three compartments; and after 10–30 minutes, enjoy a delicious, perfectly [...]

 
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September 3, 2015

ChariPick Makes Charitable Giving Simple And Awesome

Chicago startup ChariPick is re-imagining the way charitable giving works. Its new app makes it super easy for people to donate to a curated selection of “small, interesting charities,” using a simple giving model that starts at just $1 a day. The goal is to help charities make a difference while giving donors the satisfaction of supporting causes they’re passionate about.

ChariPick was founded by Stephen Lee, who has 15 years’ experience at the intersection of technology and finance as a partner for a hedge fund, director for a technology division of a Fortune 500 company, and a strategy consultant for private equity and Fortune 500 firms. ChariPick is [...]

 
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September 2, 2015

Hooks Will Send You Alerts About Anything You Care About

Chicago startup Hooks has developed a comprehensive platform to help people stay updated on things they care about. You can use the app to get alerts about almost anything—news, weather, sports, stocks, tweets (by author or keyword), new movies, software vulnerabilities, and more.

Currently, the notifications you care about are driven by a ton of different apps and services. Hooks simplifies this by bringing all sorts of notifications into a single central location.

Behind Hooks are co-founders Oleg Kozynenko, José Luis Pérez, and Miguel Ángel Ortuño. Kozynenko and Pérez also co-founded B2B white label travel guide platform Guiomatic, and Ortuño is a lead iOS developer [...]

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