Category Archives: Startups

Batmobile car washNo, social media cannot wash your car but thanks to the various tools out there, my car is about to be washed for me and I don’t even have to be there. Although daily deal sites like Groupon, Google Offers and Living Social have lost some of their shine, they offer a unique opportunity to introduce consumers to something they’ve never used before. There is potential for a marketing goldmine.

Thanks to Living Social, I’ve been introduced to a reasonably new online service, Cherry. Although the name doesn’t make it very clear what they do, the site allows users to request a car wash. Unlike traditional car washes that require you to bring your car to them, Cherry brings the car wash to you. Simply park in a publicly accessible space, check in with your car’s current location, and unlock your car doors to have the interior cleaned. Doesn’t get much easier than that. They will even send you a text message when someone arrives to wash your car so if you can wait until someone is there to unlock your car.

In mid-April, Cherry received $4.5 million in funding led by Shasta Ventures with additional participation from Founders Fund and angel investors including Shervin Pishevar and Bill Lee. The company also launched an iPhone app that allows users to request a car wash directly from their phone.

Cherry.comCherry currently is available in various locations across the Bay Area and only costs $29.99 including tip. If you happen to see this post in the next day or two, you can purchase a voucher from Living Social that will only cost $10 for the same service. They’ve already passed 1,300 vouchers sold so there are a lot of dirty cars out there needing some TLC, mine being one of them.

Photo Credit: Original Batmobile at Southern California Car Wash via clusterflock

InterviewWe know that the economy here in the United States is pretty bad–there are more than 12 million Americans currently without a job and make up the alarming 8.2% unemployment rate (as of March 2012). There’s a strong desire by the public to have our politicians put us back to work, but regardless of the effort, most people agree that we must do more in order to help those who have been out of work for some time. But the public sector isn’t the only part of our economy that should be responsible for helping to create jobs–the private sector is doing their fair share with one in particular standing out and trying to achieve something great. That company would be SmartRecruiters.

Known as a free social recruiting platform, SmartRecruiters is a San Francisco-based startup that has undertaken a great endeavor. They’re calling it the Zero Unemployment Movement, and this campaign is designed to make a fantasy into a reality–imagine a world where there’s zero unemployment and that people that wish to work, can work and where businesses need people, they can easily find people. So they’re taking the first steps in helping to make this paradigm happen and it’s going to be a massive undertaking. Last week, SmartRecruiters launched the “Got Jobs?” campaign whose goal is to create one million jobs right here in the United States. With over 3.5 million jobs unfilled, if companies only found people to take those spots, the economy might be a little better off.

EchoerWhat’s the hottest new place in town? Can you tell me where the coolest party is taking place? These are probably some of the questions you might be asking yourself when you’re walking around town after work or just need to find a place to chill and unwind.  Sure, you could use a service like Foursquare or perhaps Path to find out where your friends are, but that only tells you where they are at the moment–there’s no information about the vibe, the crowd, what people think of the venue, etc. Often times, you’re looking for some real-time information about a particular place or venue to help “justify” why you should make an appearance.

Enter Echoer. This proximity application is the latest evolution of what location-based check-ins and GPS technology have created and is simply designed to share with you people’s thoughts and experiences provided in the real-time stream via social data. Simply put, you can use the app to check out all the buzz that’s happening around you. It’s that simple. Think of it a little bit like Highlight meets Yelp but with a much faster curation of data. What it allows you to do is share your most relevant thoughts, events, and discoveries around you. If you happen to be wandering through a city like San Francisco during any given summer night, you might find that there’s lots of talk happening at nearby AT&T Park because of the San Francisco Giants, or that there’s lots of buzz happening at the Metreon Center because of a new movie, or maybe at a nearby hotel or bar to celebrate the launch of a new startup. By simply tapping on a particular venue on the map, you should be able to pull up thoughts, photos, and other content. Once there, you can either “echo” what others are saying, thereby amplifying their message or contribute your own.

Path for Android launches lensesIt was probably about time for Path to do it. Today, the private social network app announced that its Android app users can update their app to get a pretty cool feature on there.

That’s right, Path has now released to the world lenses to help make photos you share on the app much more stylized and glamorous. This might not seem like it’s jaw-dropping new for most people, especially the 30 million original users of the service, but this is in fact a big deal for those with Android devices. Why? Because we never had it before! Over the past few months, users like myself have been forced to snap photos using the default camera app and apply whatever limited filters existed. Sure, I could have used a vignette, distortion, depth of field or any other filter assortment, but it would have been another step removed from what I wanted to do…simply post a photo taken on Path and shared exclusively on the network. Now that’s all changed with Path giving what many people on Android have been clamoring over–we want to be able to do cool photos on Path like our iPhone brethren!

Blackberry (photo credit: BGR)Riding in an Uber car should not be accessible only to those who happen to have an Android or iPhone device. Sure, if you had signed up weeks ago and you didn’t have a phone that had access to the application, the only way you could have ridden in an Uber is if you decided to text your address/location to them (UBR-CAB). This seemed a bit crude, but made it a bit more accessible to those who didn’t want to splurge to pay money for a smartphone. But how often have we forgot that you could text to reserve an Uber? I bet you probably didn’t know about it until I mentioned it in this post, huh? Did you know that before Twitter had any mobile apps, you could text your status updates in using 40400? You can probably still do that now, but the point is that you probably didn’t do it frequently or knew about it at all.

Uber probably realizes this dilemma and understands that they need to make their service more accessible to those who might not have an iOS or Android device in order to use the service. That’s why, starting today, they’re “excited to announce” a brand new feature to the Uber service–a mobile-optimized version that will work perfectly for all phones. This brand new site will work perfectly for those with Blackberry, Windows Phone, Symbian, and other mobile platforms. All you need to do is go to m.uber.com, and you will get a similar experience as you would if you had been using their iPhone or Android app.