Get One Free

Collect local shops points on your phone

The problem: how often do you get a stamp on a piece of card a day? One for the morning coffee, one for the lunch snack, maybe one for the dry cleaning or the sushi shop in the evening… But how often do you miss the card? And pay your coffee without any reward, as small as it can be?

10Stamps app screenshotThe solution: a phone app collecting all your local shops cards.
You pick the right one, you flash the QR Code your barista is presenting you, and you’ve got one more stamp.
What you get when you reach 10 stamps remains up to the shop though…

Why talking about it?: ultra local apps are a growing trend, and the check-in/local deals apps are probably not the only relevant approach.
Local shops want to be up-to-date (at least some of them), and consumers are crying for it.
Getting shops to sign up is of course the big challenge, as they have to be won one by one. But the need for such a simple and neat app is clearly there.

Visit 10 Stamps

Using QR Codes to get a stamp, renew your card, or collect your bonus, is a great way to keep the shop manager in control of what happens.
No need for a complicated (and/or expensive) device, it’s almost as simple as real stamps cards, and can provide much more data on its consumer habits.

The possibility for shop owners to implement the system seems a bit tricky.We know that a local sales force is obviously required to grow the users base, but a clean process to try it on your own is probably missing.
Geeky and curious managers should feel free to create an account and start testing it, it would grow the users base more quickly.

U.S.E.’s take on it

A great mix, a click-and-mortar based app. It’s a great factor of success if the users base grows quickly.

The cost and time required to expand the number of partner shop is of course a limitant factor, but look how Groupon did it! Still, the business model for 10Stamps is still unclear, and in a low-margin, low-investment industry, it could blurry their potential future.

Out final take :

  • No way this will work
  • Not betting on it, but the start is interesting
  • Need a bit fixing, but the path is clearly good
  • Where do we sign to invest ?

Our grade : 9/12

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Your Own Edition

Create digital journals with Living Junction

The problem: too much news. Not enough time. Some people do, and share it via Twitter, Facebook, etc. But it’s nowhere near the pleasure to read a magazine or a book, even on an iPad. And going through your entire Twitter timeline is painful.

The solution: a simple newspaper creation tool for anyone to build its own magazine, and share it with its followers. Aggregate content from social networks or create your own, add pictures and a bit of editing, and you’ve got a great magazine you can distribute to anyone accepting to read it (the traffic is not included…).

Who is this for?: hard to tell yet! But curating news is a big trend, and doing it in a more regular and pleasant way than a twitter feed or a Pinterest account, with also more different possibilities, should attract users. Amateurs and pros.

Visit Living Junction

Integrating medias, such as YouTube videos or your own FB pictures is really easy, Tumblr way.
It makes the creation of graphic and well designed pages much more simple!

There is too much you can do. No need to have all the possibilities a real editor offers : the font, the color, the size, for each element of the magazine…
Creating a magazine takes time, and we’d love to see templates and pre-designed pages to do it a lot faster. Sometimes, constraints are good, they enable creativity!

U.S.E.’s take on it

Self edition, or curation, are growing markets, and completely automated technologies like Flipboard or Paper.li are not fullfilling all the needs.

Individuals and pros might very well need for a tool mixing social curation and self edition. And Living Junction may be one of them, especially if they improve the possibility to integrate contents and links from social networks, maybe in a semi-automatic way. Like selecting a few links from your timeline, and sharing them in your LJ magazine.

Out final take :

  • No way this will work
  • Not betting on it, but the start is interesting
  • Need a bit fixing, but the path is clearly good
  • Where do we sign to invest ?

Our grade

7/12

First published in the newsletter #24, on July, the 12th, 2012

Click on a Magazine

Transform every printed ad into a digital one

The problem: the only way for old-fashioned printed ads to attract customers to a web site is to give a URL or an ugly and not-working QR Code.
Not such a problem for big luxury brands, but a big one for new services or online merchants. And magazines would love to get these advertisers to buy ads in their magazine.

The solution: a simple ads-recognition technology, that let people “click” on a printed ad with their smartphone. Like a Shazam for ads. It drives traffic to the site, and can give information about the potential customers and readers.

What is their market: brands are probably eager for a tool driving more traffic to their site. Especially big brands, that can catch the attention of a potential customer, then show their whole product line in a controlled environnement on their own site. Having the technology to do this is a way to enter the probably big market of “printed ads going online”.

Visit Adzuki Mobile

Helping print editors to drive traffic to websites is a great idea for them to take a bigger part of the digital ad market.
And the more simple and obvious the solution is, the more it will be efficient.

From what I understand, you need to download the Adzuki to “click” on your printed ad.
Meaning the newspaper or the brand has to explain how it works.
Meaning your readers must download the app, then use it on an ad.
Meaning no one will use it more than once, for fun (at best).

U.S.E.’s take on it

The first idea is good: driving online traffic from offline contents. But it looks like it’s too late and not effective enough to have a chance to be successful.

As the New York Times announced they have now more subscribers online than offline, proposing a technology to make ads in digital editions more interactive (and note just a copy of a printed ad) would probably have more potential.

Finally, the business is not easily scalable, which is another constraint to its further development.


  • No way this will work
  • Not betting on it, but the start is interesting
  • Need a bit fixing, but the path is clearly good
  • Where do we sign to invest ?

Our grade

3/12

Enlarge your Body

Track your training with Sportlyzer

The situation: Summer is here, and you want to look good on the beach. Or you just would like to feel better and work out a little more. But you don’t know how much, when, and you easily lose track of what you’ve already done last week.

The solution: Sportlyzer is a web app that lets you register your sport sessions, and gives you a plan of what you should do, depending of your own goal.
Every sport can be included, and after each jogging or football match, you just have to log the duration and hardness of it, to track your progresses.

Their unfair advantage: No need for an electronic device. You just enter the time you worked out, your sport and how hard it was. You can add your heart rate if you have it, but it’s not required to update your training plan. After all, you’re not preparing for the Olympics!

Visit Sportlyzer

The science behind the app calculates what’s your training plan, based on several parameters.
Your goal (be fit, run a marathon), your muscle pain and sleep quality are taken into account.
Not rocket science, but a very nice way to use algorithms to define an quite adapted plan to your own body, without any expensive electronic device.

Some actions are not self-evident. Modifying your plan, updating a workout, etc.
Not broken, but it could be better and simpler to use.
Overall, a bit more explanations or tours might help newbies to see the power of the app, instead of rejecting it as “too complicated for me”.

Wow your Audience

Forget Powerpoint. Lead the show with Prezi

The problem: Powerpoint presentations are lethal weapons.
Not only are they boring when mis-used, but they’re increasingly painful to create. Hard to include media in it, hard to export or to embed. What was good in 1995 is not in 2012 anymore.

The solution: a cloud-based tool where you can design your whole point or argument, and zoom in on the different parts of it during your oral presentation, as it were usual slides.
And what’s the best way to hit your audience and make it remember you? A great design, with smooth effects but an astounding view. It’s all in Prezi.

 

Why we talk about it: Powerpoint presentations are increasingly common, but evenly boring for the most part. Creating a completely different tool involving new habits is probably the best way to break into the MS monopoly.

Plus, even if they already got praises and funding in the US, Prezi is European-born. With a great potential to become a worldwide reference in their field, it had to be duly noted here.

Visit Prezi

 

A recently launched iPad app lets you present your Prezi on it!
It’s an excellent way to make a big impression when you’re presenting your product or new service to a partner, a VC or your mom!

 

Starting using Prezi is a bit like learning a new language. It’s hard, painful, and you do not enjoy it until you speak good enough to sustain a small talk.
Too bad an improved presentation tool, half way between Prezi (which is great) and Powerpoint (which is efficient) does not exist yet.