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September 1, 2015

This Startup Brings The Web To Feature Phones Via Text Message

While smartphones have become ubiquitous in tech-savvy circles over the last few years, a significant number of people around the world still use feature phones—which often don’t have Web browsers, data plans, or third-party apps. You and I have the entirety of human knowledge at our fingertips, but feature phone users are just out of luck.

Well, not anymore.

New Jersey startup Text Engine aims to bring the Web to feature phones using an old technology we all know and love: SMS.

The platform essentially converts the Web to text messages, allowing users to get on-demand weather, news, yellow pages, flight status, and more—all without having direct access to [...]

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August 30, 2015

Raise Is A Marketplace For Buying And Selling Gift Cards

Have you ever gotten a gift card and wished you could turn it into cash? That’s precisely what Chicago startup Raise allows you to do. It’s a marketplace for gift cards: sellers get cash for unwanted cards, and buyers can purchase gift cards for less than their total value.

Raise allows you to sell gift cards from any brand or restaurant at the price of your choice. Just enter the gift card details and choose the selling price, and your listing will be featured in front of thousands of shoppers. You get paid when the card sells. All cards are free to list, but Raise takes a 15 percent commission from the final selling price. For physical cards, the greater of $1.00 [...]

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August 30, 2015

This App Allows You To Monitor Your Blood Pressure With A Smartphone

Shanghai startup Accutension has developed a blood pressure kit that uses a smartphone to listen to the sounds of blood flow for accurate blood pressure readings.

Two-thirds of adults have high blood pressure, and almost 1,000 Americans die every day from blood pressure-related issues. But automatic blood pressure monitors aren’t as accurate as they should be, according to Accutension founder and CEO Junfeng Zhao.

“A few years ago, a friend of mine was misdiagnosed because of the inaccurate monitor readings,” he says. “When the doctors found out the real reason of his sickness, it was too late. That day, I made a pledge to find a solution which [...]

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August 27, 2015

This App Connects You To A Random Stranger For A Phone Conversation

In a world full of text messages, emails, and 140-character status updates, real human interaction is more important than ever.

SayMore is a new “talking network” that aims to provide more of that by connecting you to a total stranger for a phone conversation about something you’re both interested in.

It works like this: you browse through a set of potential conversation topics in the iOS app, choose a matching partner, initiate a VoIP call, and talk for as long as you like.

SayMore’s conversation starters include the following, among many others:

Technology: How will the world change in the next 20 years? What excites and/or scares [...]
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August 25, 2015

Speak Is The Slack Of Audio/Video Communication

Speak is a cool new platform for instant team communication that provides frictionless audio, video, and screen sharing. Thanks to its extremely light interface, Speak integrates right into your desktop and stays out of the way until you need it.

Behind the San Francisco startup are two rather notable founders: Tom Moor, who also co-founded Buffer; and Eric Bieller, who previously worked at Tapjoy, helping to scale the platform to millions of users.

Bieller tells me Speak is a bit like the Slack of audio/video communication. What’s the point, though? Why do we need yet another team collaboration tool?

“Your meeting tool should be there when you need [...]

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August 23, 2015

Wearable Tech Startup Focused On Personal Safety Raises $100k On Kickstarter

Connecticut startup Wearsafe Labs has raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter to develop advanced wearable personal safety products, starting with the Wearsafe Tag—a small wearable panic button.

The company initially set out to raise $75,000 and surpassed that goal in less than four weeks.

“We couldn’t be happier with the success of this campaign,” says co-founder Phill Giancarlo. “But even more important, we are so appreciative to those who backed this project, who believe in our mission to really make a difference in this world.”

Wearsafe’s first product, the Wearsafe Tag, is a low-energy Bluetooth wearable device that can [...]

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August 19, 2015

Chicago Startup AptAmigo Launches Apartment Search Tool Based On Real Resident Reviews

AptAmigo, the first free apartment search tool that uses real, comprehensive resident reviews to help potential renters choose their ideal apartment, launched today in Chicago. The website offers detailed descriptions of Chicago neighborhoods and already contains thousands of reviews written by current and former residents.

Each building has an overall rating based on a five-star system, as well as individual ratings for for the community, in-unit experience, building amenities, security, and management. You can also find detailed feedback on things like nearby restaurants and stores, building safety, Internet quality, and shower pressure.

“It can be overwhelming [...]

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August 12, 2015

Tagasauris Raises $900K On SeedInvest

Tagasauris, an intelligent data platform for visual media, has closed a $900,000 round with the help of equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest.

Founded in 2010, Tagasauris combines human-assisted computing with semantic Web technologies to tag, categorize, label, and organize media like videos and images. The company uses its proprietary technology to “teach” computers the content of a picture of video and how that content relates to the rest of the Web. The process quickly and effectively turns ordinary visual content into searchable media, and it’s already being used by an impressive clientele—including the likes of Disney, AOL, and ABC.

SeedInvest [...]

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July 30, 2015

Dining Discovery App Savoir Launches In Chicago

Last week, Savoir announced the launch of its free iOS app that helps foodies discover a curated selection of nearby restaurants. Now live with 600+ Chicagoland restaurants, the app offers each user a personalized set of recommendations, reviews, and promotions.

Savoir listings include Yelp ratings and up-to-date, complete menus. Beyond that, the service offers three exclusive perks to enhance users’ experience:

FitLens: food reviews from credentialed health and fitness professionals to help customers dine out while adhering to their diet and fitness goals. InnerCircle: reliable reviews from people you trust, like friends and family. Promos: special promotions from [...]
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July 15, 2015

Imagine Easy Acquires Cite This For Me, Launches New Research Tool For Students

Imagine Easy Solutions, the company behind some of the most popular research and bibliography services on the Web, today announced that it has acquired European citation and research website Cite This For Me for an undisclosed sum. The company has also announced Imagine Easy Scholar, a new research product that helps educators and students collaborate on writing projects.

Cite This For Me is Europe’s most popular bibliography generator. Following the acquisition, it will join Imagine Easy’s network of leading sites, which you’ve probably heard of: EasyBib, BibMe, and Citation Machine.

“Our goal is to set students up for success in the digital [...]

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