Hipmunk – Travel Search

Hipmunk - plan your travelHipmunk.com is a travel search site that aims to make travel planning as friendly and intuitively as possible. The company aimed initially to provide an awesome experience when buying airline tickets. Later, Hipmunk was extended to hotel search. To make the search as friendly as possible, Hipmunk uses ‘agony’ (for flights) and ‘ecstasy’ (for hotels) to combine price, inconveniences and ratings into an unique rank metric that users can sort by in order to select the most optimum travel plan.

Hipmunk innovates in other areas as well: flights are presented using friendly bars that take small screen space to render, which makes it easy to visualize and compare them. Flights that depart earlier, arrive later and cost more than better alternatives are hidden by default from the results.

The company was founded in 2010 by Adam Goldstein and Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman as part of the Y Combinator‘s Summer 2010 class. In an Inc. interview, Adam explained how he came up with the domain name: his girlfriend suggested to start looking for names of small and cute animals, because then they’ll be able to get a good logo. He found hipmunk.com listed at auction and got the domain in the end for $70.

The site has hundreds of thousands of unique monthly visitors. To enhance this growth, the company hired 4 marketing positions at the beginning of 2012. The revenue comes primarily from affiliate deals with travel agencies, hotel and airline companies. As for the future, Hipmunk may look into an ad-supported model, but “that’s not in the cards just yet” according to the company’s press whisperer. Especially not inside the mobile apps that Hipmunk launched for the iOS and Android platforms.

Bu.mp – Mobile Sync

Bump: Mobile SyncBu.mp is a new mobile app that uses web technologies and location services in order to facilitate a revolutionary new way of sharing contact details, common contacts and photos between two nearby mobile devices that “bump” into each other.

The mobile app can be installed on iPhone and Android phones. It uses the phone’s sensors to literally “feel” the bump, and it sends that info via the web to the Bu.mp servers. A matching algorithm listens to bumps from phones around the world and pairs up the phones that felt the same bump. In order to limit accidental bump matches, the app requires location services to be activated on both phones, to limit the matching possibilities.

The app website only has 4 letters, separated by a dot in the middle, bu.mp, which certainly helps in making it easy to remember for everyone. According to the Compete stats, the site had 5’000 monthly unique visitors on average in the last few months.

The company, Bump Technologies, was funded in 2008 by Jake Mint, David Lieb and Andy Huibers. It is based in Mountain View, California and funded by Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and other angel investors.

FamilyLeaf – Private Family Social Network

FamilyLeaf - Private Family Social NetworkFamilyLeaf is an attempt to provide a private social network to members of the same family or to communities of close friends and acquaintances, small in number.

There have been in the past attempts to create similar sites, such as MyFamily.com, Famento.com or FamilyCrossings.com, but FamilyLeaf makes things very easy to get started and it’s completely free to use, at least for now. The webapp currently displays an invite signup screen, as it wants to prevent growing too fast too soon, but it’s expected to be able to obtain an account relatively fast.

FamilyLeaf was founded by Wesley Zhao and Ajay Mehta, two childhood friends. Compared to other early-stage startups, they took the effort to make the site as friendly as possible to foreign traffic. There are already localized versions in Italian, French or Spanish.

The site is backed by Y! Combinator and has been featured in the media in extensive reviews, such as this one (which appeared in TechCrunch). During their initial launch month, FamilyLeaf had 2’000 unique monthly visitors.

AnkiWeb.net – Review Decks Online

Ankiweb: Review decks onlineAnkiWeb.net is a system for spaced repetition, which displays flash cards based on how often they’re successfully remembered. The stand-alone desktop program, called Anki, was the starting point: a simple free flashcard program. Nowadays it runs on smartphones and most computer platforms, or on the Internet via AnkiWeb.net.

The underlying technique, spaced repetition, can do wonders for people wanting to learn a set of facts or a new language. In fact, Anki got recommended as the ideal tool to learn the vocabulary of a new language in a LifeHacker featured article.

The Fool’s Workshop also reviewed Anki: they mention that Anki’s strongest areas are in the statistics it provides, its tagging abilities, its strong interval study centered approach and its “card model”.

Despite running mostly on mobile phones or desktop computers, AnkiWeb managed to attract a significant online presence, averaging over 3’000 unique monthly visitors in the last 12 months.

ScreenLeap – Share Your Screen

ScreenLeap is an Y-Combinator backed company that aims to “make screen sharing sexy”. With just one click, the app enables users to share their screen to any device with a browser, instead of 15 steps that are required for the most popular alternative available nowadays, Cisco WebEx.

Despite being launched in February 2012, the app already had 10’000 unique monthly visitors in March according to Compete. The media coverage is partly responsible for this, as the app was featured in TheNextWeb and TechCrunch; it will be interesting to see if they can keep and grow this traffic level once the media coverage wears off.

ScreenLeap was founded by Tuyen Truong, a serial entrepreneur whose previous attempts include TeamWork Live, a productivity suite that failed to achieve critical mass.

The BetaKit article hints about potential revenue streams in the near future: while the screensharing services will remain free, there are plans to introduce additional features later on, including voice integration, branded pages and integration with enterprise client sales and support systems.

Trello – Organize Anything, Together

Trello - Organize Anything, Together

Trello is a collaboration tool for teams which organizes pending tasks and keeps a big-picture overview on a project’s remaining tasks.

The service is innovative due to its special use of configurable lists (that can be named at the discretion of the user). Each list contains cards describing the tasks required to be performed; these cards can be dragged from one list to another, have people added or assigned, and the changes made to them are automatically synchronized everywhere if there are other opened browsers displaying them.

According to the Compete.com data, the site gets at least 10’000 unique visitors per month.

Trello was launched in September 2011 by Joel Spolsky. Joel is a rather popular figure whose beginnings can be traced back in 2000 when he founded Fogcreek together with Michael Pryor. Since then he has launched a range of successful services, including FogBugz and StackOverflow. In September 2011 the Wired magazine named Trello as one of “The 7 Coolest Startups You Haven’t Heard of Yet”.

Ptable.com – Interactive Periodic Table

PTable - Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

PTable.com offers an interactive, online-based periodic table of elements (also known as the Mendeleev table). The site is accessible without requiring a Flash plugin; it shows comprehensive information about the elements, their isotopes, their orbitals, as well as their state at different temperatures.

The table is one of the most interactive and comprehensive versions that we’ve seen until now on the web, and this fact reflects itself in its traffic. Compete.com shows that the site managed to consistently attract at least 100’000 monthly unique visitors in the last year.

The service is ad-supported but free of charge. All the features are available to regular users without requiring any sort of sign-up or any form of payment.

The table has been created by Michael Dayah from Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. The site has a long history behind it; the first version appeared in 1997, one year before Google. However the first version was pretty much a static page; as the web evolved, additional features got added to the page. Interactivity was radically enhanced throughout the summer of 2007 and improvements continue into the present day.

SimpleNote – Sync Notes Across Devices

SimpleNote App

SimpleNoteApp is an app for keeping notes and synchronizing their content across different devices and the web. On the app’s website there are 10 reasons mentioned for using the app, including universal access to the notes’ content, instant search, secure transfers as well as good publishing and organizational tools.

There are ads, however they’re unobtrusive and barely noticeable. For a $20 annual premium account the user can disable the ads and gain the ability to sync memos to Dropbox.

According to Compete, the app consistently received around 10’000 unique visitors each month during the last year.

The app is produced by Simperium, a startup based in San Francisco. The company was founded by Mike Johnston and Fred Cheng and received funding from the Y Combinator startup accelerator program in the summer of 2010.

Asana – Task Management for Teams

Asana - Task Management

Asana is an online task management solution for teams, founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and former engineering manager Justin Rosenstein. During their tenure at Facebook they’ve noticed a huge overhead in trying to keep teams organized and on the same page; as a result they’ve left Facebook together to pursue the opportunity of building a web-based tool which addresses this problem.

In trying to avoid what they call “work about work” they’ve build a webapp aiming to be:

  • responsive – just like a desktop app;
  • intuitive – to the degree where it can replace pencil and paper to-dos without causing inconveniences;
  • collaborative – to allow users to get big picture overviews on the current state of the project without having bits and pieces spread over in each employee’s notebook.

During 2011, Asana tested what they’ve created with real customers via a private beta-testing program. The results have been encouraging; on 2nd of November 2011 they’ve announced the general availability of their app to the public.

In November 2009 the company managed to raise an initial $9 million series A funding round from Benchmark Capital and Andreessen-Horowitz, which supported the 2-year development efforts leading to the public launch. Their traffic during the beta program generated around 10’000 monthly unique visitors to their site, but this number is expected to rise as anyone interested in using Asana in their teams can now sign-up for free.

Yola – Interactive Site Builder

Yola - Site Creator

Yola allows non-technical people to easily create a professional looking site from within the browser by using an intuitive builder interface. It offers hundreds of site templates, customizable design, online forms and Google Maps integration. Yola also features blog tools, e-commerce support and it acts as a domain registrar.

The site consistently receives hundreds of thousands of visitors on a monthly basis. According to Alexa.com, it is ranked in the top 5’000 sites world-wide.

In addition to the freemium model, Yola offers paid pricing plans with additional features. Yola Silver costs $99.95 per year and offers a custom domain name with private registration as well as additional traffic statistics; Yola Premier costs $499.95 and gives users the ability to have a one-on-one consultation with a professional in order to create a unique 5-page website design that can be expand as needed.

The service was initially called SynthaSite and it was founded by Vinny Lingham in March 2007. It raised $5 million financing in November 2007 from Columbus Venture Capital. An additional $20 millions was raised in Series B funding in February 2009. Shortly thereafter, the company was renamed to Yola (March 26, 2009); Lingham declared that they needed a name which is easy to pronounce and resonates well no matter the language.

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