Saturday, August 31, 2013

Need your video to go viral? Try

Crazy Startup Of The Day -
In Jan. 8, 2010, the infamous "Double Rainbow" clip appeared on YouTube, documenting a hysterical reaction to a natural phenomenon. For about seven months it languished, barely seen--until Jimmy Kimmel tweeted a link to his followers, proclaiming it the "funniest video in the world." Views today sit at well over 37 million.

Targeted-network exposure (i.e., telling the right things to the right people) can help any video go viral. And Alex Debelov, 25, and Vladimir Gurgov, 26, founders of San Francisco-based Virool, have latched on to this concept as a way to help brands. They have developed a self-serve, social video advertising platform with campaigns starting at $10, depending on the reach and medium selected.

So far 12,000 publishers have signed on, including independent websites, blogs and mobile-game and Facebook-app developers such as WordPress and Zynga. They're lured by Virool's analysis of online user behavior, such as Facebook activity and content shared, which pinpoints where and what types of videos will be promoted effectively. "Good content matters, but viral videos don't become viral by themselves," Debelov asserts. "Even more important is the discovery and distribution. You have to find the audience that has an affinity for a particular advertiser's brand of content."

Virool grew out of Crelligence Media, a contest platform where brands could crowdsource the creation of ad videos, which Debelov started in 2008 while a student at Babson College. "We started with the thesis that people want to watch videos, not video ads … and there was no company that specialized in promoting them," he says. When they launched Virool in 2011 Debelov and Gurgov focused on pitching to agencies and big brands like Sony and Intel. In 2012 they cast their net wider, and more than 1,000 advertisers signed on within three months. (Now they bring in 1,000 new advertisers daily.) Debelov and Gurgov were accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator in summer 2012.

Investors are big fans. As of July 2013 Virool had raised $6.6 million from notables like Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit and Lady Gaga's manager, Troy Carter. The company now has 100,000 advertisers posting 300 videos daily, more than 40 million viewers every month and 2013 revenue projections of $12 million to $15 million. The biggest challenge these days is hiring the best and the brightest--and quickly.

"We're up to 12 and growing, and we're going after Google employees with our perks," Debelov says. His trump card: In 2014 Virool's top employee will receive a Virgin Galactic ticket to outer space.

[Via - Entrepreneur.Com]

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hot Startups -

Crazy Startup Of The Day -

Most people start their professional lives working fast-food jobs or retail gigs, but Darian Shirazi isn't most people. At age 15 he began purchasing computer components in bulk from Asia and marketing them on eBay, generating such impressive sales that the online auction giant soon offered him an engineering internship. After two summers at eBay, Shirazi began exploring other opportunities, and in 2005 he became the first-ever intern hired at Facebook, then a fledgling startup whose dozen staffers worked close to Shirazi's family home in Palo Alto, Calif.

"They were guys not that much older than me, working on something I thought was cool," Shirazi recalls, admitting, "It wasn't clear to me if it would become anything big or not."

Shirazi exited Facebook after two years--his parents insisted he leave to attend college--but by that time it was clear big things were in store not only for the social network but for him, too. He dropped out of the University of California, Berkeley, within a year, and after traveling the globe returned to Silicon Valley in 2008 to launch San Francisco-based Fwix, a hyperlocal news aggregator that trawled the web to curate a range of business data encompassing everything from license registrations and Yelp reviews to Facebook likes, Twitter posts and Foursquare check-ins.

Fwix built its business by licensing information to media publishers and software developers, but Google had bigger things in mind. "Google wanted to prioritize our local business data for lead generation," says Shirazi, now 26. "I thought, That sounds like a great idea. Why don't we build our own business?" So he turned down Google's $35 million acquisition offer and in spring 2012 rebranded Fwix as , leveraging his massive local database to provide real-time information optimized for sales teams targeting the U.S. small-business market.

"It was easy to walk away from [the Google offer]. I got lucky on Facebook, and it helps when you've had a win and don't have to worry about money," Shirazi says. "A lot of people haven't been lucky enough to be part of something like Facebook. But I also believe that if you're in a position to build something big, you have to make that happen."

Shirazi is definitely thinking big with Radius, stating that he aims to build a sales intelligence platform for the SMB segment on par with Dun & Bradstreet's information services for the enterprise market. Radius offers sales teams insight into more than 26 million small businesses in the U.S., compiling data from disparate web sources to identify opportunities across new and established companies, as well as delivering advanced lead-generation tools as stand-alone SaaS offerings or integrated with services.

Radius clients can assemble lead lists based on filters that include location, vertical, web activity, consumer reviews and ratings, ad spending, revenue and company size. They can also access up-to-date business information like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, owner names, employee head count and revenue. Pricing starts at $99 per month.

"What we're offering is a huge opportunity for marketing and selling organizations to become more efficient by letting them target businesses that need their products and services," says Shirazi, who serves as Radius' CEO. "We're also helping improve relationships with existing customers and reduce call spam. To me, we're building a business, but we're also doing a lot of good."

Earlier this year Radius wrapped a $12.4 million funding round led by American Express. Shirazi, who would not disclose revenue, plans to triple the firm's sales force by the end of 2013, concurrently exploring new and more effective methods for crunching data and developing, filtering and categorizing leads.

"I love building companies, and I love building ideas," Shirazi says. "It's what I want to continue doing for the rest of my life."

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cool Startups -FieldCandy

Startup Of The Day -

Entrepreneur: John Harris, founder of FieldCandy, a U.K.-based brand of designer tents with offbeat graphics such as a block of cheese, floral and galactic motifs, leopard print, bubble wrap--even a time machine.

"Aha" moment: Harris, formerly a furniture designer, and partner Rhona Carr had retired in Italy. "We had a lovely life--and hated being retired," he says. "We both missed working and having something to get up in the morning for." On a trip to an exhibition for outdoor recreation, the two discovered an entire hall devoted to tents--all the same, all utterly boring. "There was certainly nothing designer-y, feminine or sexy. It didn't exist," Harris says. "It was very much a product for guys with tattoos and canoes who go into the forest and shoot deer. We wanted to change that and make it a fashion product."

Field test: Harris and Carr spent a few years researching their idea, dreaming up designs and learning to print graphics on tent flysheets. With an initial investment of about $400,000 of their own money, they launched FieldCandy in November 2011 with 40 unique designs. Within a few days, international design blog The Cool Hunter featured the company on its homepage; from there, word spread via the internet.

Fresh air: FieldCandy enlists a variety of illustrators, photographers and fashion and graphic designers to come up with prints. Among those who have contributed are Terry Pastor, known for his album artwork for David Bowie; Philip Gatward, photographer for Nike, Coca-Cola and Heineken; and fashion brand Basso & Brooke. Harris, who wishes to "attract different designers from around the world to have different cultures of designs, different styles of designs," fields requests from 30 to 50 artists each week.

Rugged outdoors: "FieldCandy tents are fun. But they're serious, too," the company's website proclaims. Made in Derbyshire, England, the A-frame tents are constructed to withstand extreme weather conditions. They feature an inner lining of 100 percent cotton (instead of traditional plastic), extra-strong pegs of hardened aluminum, heavy-duty zippers--even lockable storage pockets. "Our principle in business is doing whatever we do to the best of our ability and executing it with a bit of panache rather than the same as everybody else," Harris says.

High stakes: The printed tents, available at, range from $600 to $900 (basic solid colors are $400). FieldCandy sold 1,200 units its first year, mainly to customers in the U.S., Japan, Australia, Germany, the U.K. and South Korea. The company also creates promotional tents for brands such as Sony, Orange and various book publishers.

Glamping it up: FieldCandy aims to become an international lifestyle brand. The company is unveiling designs from tattooist Saira Hunjan, who has worked on the likes of Kate Moss and Jude Law; British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes; and Lee Clow, the U.S. creative director responsible for some of Apple's most famous ads.

[Via - Entrepreneur]  

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Unemployed? Launch A Startup

Startup Of The Day -
James + James, a handmade furniture company based in northwest Arkansas, was born out of simple necessity: "We needed money and jobs," said co-founder James Eldridge.

In 2011, while unemployed, James Smith tried his hand at carpentry. He spent $40 on materials and built a coffee table in his garage. He then listed it for sale on Craigslist and watched as orders for other pieces of furniture came pouring in.

Eldridge reached out to his old college friend after seeing a photo of the table on Twitter. They launched James + James in January 2012 in Springdale, Ark.

"Northwest Arkansas is a great place for young people who have have crazy ideas," said Eldridge. "There's lot of startup capital available, and business costs here are low."

The company has grown far beyond the two James's: It now employs 22 people and has already crossed $1 million in sales.

[Via - CNNMoney]

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Friday, August 09, 2013

Uber Clones - Taxi Beat

Startup Of The Day -

What exactly does Taxibeat do?
Taxibeat is a mobile application that helps a consumer easily locate nearby taxis and choose the best available taxi based on the feedback that previous passengers have given. We introduce a reputation mechanism in the taxi industry, which is something that didn’t exist.

How did the drivers react to being rated?
When we launched, the crisis had already started in Athens. And most of the taxi drivers here had lost about 50 or 60 percent of their jobs. So they adopted us, because they hoped for new customers.

Taxibeat is cited as a rare Greek success story. Are you an outlier?
I tend to think of ourselves as starters of something new—not only us, but a small community of people in an ecosystem that is forming right now.

By community you mean …?
I’m talking about startups and people with new ideas. And one driving force for this is this crisis. Sometimes a crisis is an opportunity. You’re with your back to the wall, and you have no choice. So this happens with many people who have lost their jobs here. They try new things and stop being dependent on state money. Most of them will fail, but many will succeed.

You launched during the crisis?
Yeah, if you look back now, it looks crazy. We were just a team of three with €40,000. And I was out on the streets trying to attract drivers by distributing leaflets, out in the heat.

You once said Greece is a bridge between the developing world and the developed world. Is that an advantage?
Many other markets face the same problem—many Latin America markets, where we’re expanding now. Many Asian markets, Southern Europe markets. So we found ourselves developing a really innovative idea because we had this market at the intersection of the developing world and the developed.

Are you turning a profit in Greece?
In Greece, we are profitable, yeah. And we’ll be profitable also in Brazil this summer. Each of our markets will be profitable after the first year or so.

Greeks have always been entrepreneurial, going around the world …
Yeah. And they almost always succeed.

Taxibeat allows you to take your business overseas while staying here.
That’s true. There’s a story behind this, because our first country after Greece was Brazil, and we managed with the help of two Greek entrepreneurs who lived there. Our main investors are people from the Greek shipping business. The shipping sector is the only one in Greece that is famous for being successful internationally, starting from Onassis. It’s no accident.

Your family was in the shoe business. You didn’t want to pursue that?
I did. It was an export factory which I took over with my brother. We had it for 15 years. And then we had problems with taxes and Chinese exports. We went bankrupt in the mid-’90s.

Your career traces Greece’s story.
Yes. But at the same time, the Internet was starting to explode. I self-trained myself as a developer, as an engineer. And then I created my own startup, which was a B2B online supplier for businesses. And then I failed, and I started all over again.

In some countries failure isn’t seen as an advantage, as it can be in Silicon Valley. Was that a problem?
It was. It was really hard. What can I say? I always wanted to do something for myself and solve problems and extract value out of this problem-solving.

In Greece, do you see that as potentially removing the stigma of failure?
Yes. When you see so many people around you having the same problems, you don’t feel this guilt. There are lots of opportunities in this crisis.

[Via - BusinessWeek]

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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bitrix24 Coupons, Rebates And Discounts

August is here, meaning there are only a few days of summer vacations left. To celebrate the beginning of high season, we are offering discounts and special offers for Bitrix24 Cloud and Self-hosted versions.

Bitrix24 - Level Up

: When you buy Bitrix24 Standard for 6 or 12 month, your account is automatically upgraded to Bitrix24 Professional (savings of $600 or $1200). Order now!

: When you buy Bitrix24 TeamPace, you are upgraded to the BizPace edition (savings of $1000). Order now!

Bitrix24 - Get 50

:  Bitrix24 Professional plans bought in August last 50% longer. Buy a Bitrix24 Professional 6-month plan and get a 9-month subscription (savings of $600). Pay for a full year and get 18 months (savings of $1200). Order now!

: Get Bitrix24 BizPace and we'll kick in 50 free users (savings of $2000). Order now!

Please keep in mind these deals will last until August 31, 2013, only. Make your purchase at (registration required). For more information please get in touch with our Sales Department -
Source - Bitrix24 Discount Coupons/Hot August Deals

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Hot Startups - HitBliss

Startup Of The Day -

With only a few legal options for accessing TV programs and movies over the internet--pay upfront (Netflix, Amazon, iTunes) or sit through advertisements (Hulu)--it was inevitable that an alternative model would emerge.

HitBliss, an online streaming site developed by husband-and-wife team Sharon Peyer and Andrew Prihodko, offers popular shows like NBC's Battlestar Galactica and hit movies from the likes of Paramount Pictures, Focus Features and Universal Pictures. Users can purchase titles from the HitBliss Store for roughly $4 per movie or $2 per TV show. But the revolution starts with the HitBliss Earn service.

Viewers in Earn peruse the same titles but sit through advertisements to bank money--about 25 cents per ad viewed--that can later be used in the HitBliss Store. To earn payouts up to twice as quickly, Earn users build a profile, adding their location, gender, age, income and browser search history. With that information, HitBliss can match a viewer to an advertiser's target demographic and ensure that the ad gets seen. How? Prompts appear in ads that require the viewer to click on it. The faster and more consistently a viewer clicks, the fewer prompts they see, and the faster they earn credits.

Put simply: Brands such as Aflac and Dr Pepper are paying people to watch and listen to their messages on HitBliss. To ease the marketing assault, HitBliss does allow viewers to skip or remove all messages from a particular brand--but they pay a penalty by sitting through more ads from other sponsors.

"Instead of relying on the old model where the advertisers pay the content owner, we let the advertisers basically reward the users for their time and attention," Peyer says. "And viewers are rewarded with the ability to actually get what they want."

Peyer and Prihodko came up with the idea while working on their previous venture, Pixamo, a photo-sharing company that had a free, ad-supported component. They recognized that the ads were being mostly ignored and concluded that targeted advertising would be more effective, and possibly more enjoyable, if users were able to control the experience. "That's when we realized we wanted to create a model that just involves the consumer and the advertiser," Peyer says.

After selling Pixamo in 2007, the two focused their efforts on developing Lexington, Mass.-based HitBliss, which launched in private beta earlier this year. While the company's film and TV library isn't yet as robust as those of its more established competitors, it does stream movies four months after they leave theaters, up to a year earlier than Netflix--which had revenue last year of a whopping $3.6 billion. And when the service exits beta later this year, Peyer and Prihodko expect to be able to offer it on smartphones and internet-enabled TVs.

Time will tell if HitBliss becomes the new answer for ad-supported streaming media. If successful, its model could apply to the likes of Pandora, gaming and other online entertainment, reshaping the public's idea of "free" media.

[Via - Entrepreneur.Com]

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