Innovation Grab Bag (Because Invention Never Sleeps)

Invention never sleeps in Silicon Valley.  Which is why monthly events like Tech Cocktail and SFNewTech are so great.  Early-stage start-ups come to these gatherings to strut and fret their moment upon the stage, hoping to attract new users, new angel investors or an A round of institutional investment. 

At last week’s Tech Cocktail gathering at Mighty in San Francisco, there was just such a collection of innovators and a few notables worth paying attention to (in no particular order):

YouEye is a cleverly named new user testing service that is free. Review recordings of each tester's screen, webcam, and microphone. Invite anyone to take a test by sharing a link. Quickly validate marketing copy, a new design, the usability of a shopping cart, or a competitor's appeal. Similar to UserTesting.com, it has a cleaner, simpler UI and seems to provide an entry-level service at no cost. Awesome!

Mention.net is a new media-monitoring tool that insists that it gets monitoring right – especially social media monitoring. The service is free and lets you monitor a brand, a person or a product in real-time. The app for Mac is simple and intuitive, and provides a great overview while helping to filter signal-to-noise issues.

Signwise is still flying under the radar but they say they’re building a better document management solution that enables simplified electronic signatures, even on international contracts.  You can leave an email to get a notice when they go into public release, but you’ll have struggle through a couple of sentences that scream for some basic proof-reading. 

Glomper is a smart new iPhone app that goes beyond location check-ins to enable you to actually coordinate your plans with your friends. For instance, say you’ll be hanging out at a coffee shop after work.  You could post that to your circle of friends, opening up the possibility that you won’t have to hang out by yourself. It goes beyond Foursquare-type apps and brings more intention to the whole location-based game.

GrabFan is a new sports app that allows anyone to create custom predictions about the outcome of sporting events in real-time, and to accumulate badges and rewards based upon the accuracy of those predictions. It’s something like OnSports, which is powered by the interaction of over a million sports fans, but has what GrabFan calls a “real rewards” component.

ZeroCater is a new company that serves (literally) start-ups who regularly feed their employees in the office. They connect local restaurants and caterers specializing in fresh, locally-sourced foods with the entrepreneurs who seek to keep their people in the office twelve hours a day by feeding them regularly. The also have an awesome food blog.

Opower is a new customer engagement platform for the utility industry. They’re seeking to reorient the way utilities interact with their customers—from the quality of the information provided to the way it's presented and delivered. It helps people use energy more efficiently and ultimately save money on their energy bills. (Be sure to mouse-over the second “o” in their logo… it’s adorable!)

Drippler has been created for all the gadget geeks out there, especially the early adopters (I’ll be signing up). The system lets you claim all your gadgets on its site, after which Drippler delivers regular newsletters with the latest updates, gossip and news for all your equipment.

BetterDoctor.com is a new and efficient way to identify and select a doctor. Currently in Beta only in the San Francisco Bay Area, BetterDoctor lets you select a doctor specialty and your insurance plan to see a list of doctors near you, including those that have been specially verified by BetterDoctor as meeting its own criteria for competence and excellence.

Author DEREK GORDON is a marketing and sales exec with more than 20 years success in integrated marketing and sales strategy and management. He is the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Pathbrite. You can also check out his blog, Daily Casserole.

 

 

 

 

 

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