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.
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Spread the Number

Make stunning infographics in a snap with Infogr.am

The context: infographics exploded on the web recently: company growth and metrics, sociological analysis, preposterous but funny figures… It spreads faster, better, and stronger, and its good for the brand and for the one who designed it.

The toolinfogr.am offers you the possibility to make your own infographic, without any design or photoshop expertise.

A few templates, in which you can include datas, pictures and words, a bit of imagination, and you have a perfect, slick and complete graphic.

Where it’s headed: the tool itself and its interface are great. And new templates (some of them probably premium) are on the way.
But you’ll never get the level of detail and cohesion with your brand that a pro designer can bring, althought it’s great for a quick but efficient presentation limited to a quite small circle.

What if infographics become out of fashion, though?

Visit Infogr.am

Interactive and animated graphics!
Unlike usual infographics, most of them static, Infogr.ams are made for sharing. Interactivity (zoom on a figure for example) and animation are great additions to infographics.

The possibilities of different types of graphics and/or integration of your owns are still very limited. Meaning you won’t beat professionnal designers at their own game. Yet…

Drop the Paperboard

A virtual whiteboard that actually works

The problem: working with a team on an idea, a new design or a strategy is, by itself, hard. But unless you’re all in the same room for a long time, it also involves lots of email (where you loose the remarks you needed to include) and/or hundreds of paper sheets (you never know what the last version is). Most of the time, it does not work.

The solution: a big whiteboard tool, where anyone can write its remarks or propose ideas and changes, that you can discuss and follow. This is exactly what Conceptboard is : a tool for teams to work on a common project, as everyone was there (but they’re not).

What it does better: the intuitive UI, the possibility to import any kind of file (well… almost any) in the board, and the easyness to comment and discuss (like a Facebook status) a specific detail. Then transform it into a todo, check if everyone agrees, makes it a very powerful tool.

Visit Conceptboard

For loyal U.S.E. readers: get a 15% discount on Conceptboard with the following code: unitedstartups

Despite there is no app, it works perfectly on your iPad.
Multi-fingers gestures, zoom in, scribbling, it’s all working in Safari. Probably some room for improvement, but very nice work.

Some features look a bit superfluous, and may slow the app.
For example, do you need a video chat integrated into your collaboration tool? Using skype, Facetime or your phone on the side makes much more sense.

Collect them All

Take care of your Mobbles in a fun new smartphone game

Where it starts : with your phone in hand, you scan your area to catch one of the more than 50 different Mobbles (tiny cute creatures) hanging out in the hood. Once trapped in your phone, you take care of them and make them progress. Like a mix between Pokemons and Tamagotchis (kids will know).

Where it goes : you have to feed your creatures and play regularly with them, or they’ll die in a few days. But when you do, they’ll level up and access to new accessories, toys, and other stuffs.

Why we like it : the design itself is a good reason to download the game: colorful, neat and funny. The game mechanics is simple but addictive, and you or your kids – if you have some – certainly won’t stop taking care of your Mobbles.
Finally, the localisation factor (you have to walk to find new Mobbles) makes it a true phone game, not a GameBoy-like game on a smartphone. That’s very interesting.

Download Mobbles

The number of different Mobbles you can catch is just huge!
No way yet to know if the creature you just got is rare or not, but I’m told it’s gonna be soon.

Some tasks are a bit repetitive… Wash, feed, entertain, sleep, wash…
No different than pets or kids, but at least those fight each other…
(I heard fighting against each others Mobbles is on the way…)

Hire an assistant

Get everything you need to blog, when you blog, with Zemanta

The problem : writing a blog post is not the hard part! But exploring sources, getting the links, finding the right picture, that’s what takes most of the time of bloggers.

The solution : integrated through a browser plug-in into most famous blogging platforms (wordpress, tumblr, etc.), Zemanta brings your own sources and content ready to copy/paste into your next post. No more need for 12 open tabs, or loosing half an hour getting the source of this picture right.

It also gives you suggestions of links (related contents) and pictures, and it can create automatic links to Wikipedia or other trusted sources to improve your post.

What’s their business : It looks like Zemanta plans to offer better tools to bloggers, so that they can sollicit them for advertising or brand-related contents. Not a bad strategy, althought it requires a sales network as wide as their plugin is used.

Visit Zemanta

Connect your Instagram and Flickr accounts to Zemanta, and you’ve got your pictures right here, next to your blogging interface!
It’s a huge productivity bump for every blogger.

The sources and features are limited to Zemanta’s partners.
It’s probably the right business approach, but bloggers could ask for more, and try to find a better assisting tool.

Time to Play

Sport management games come to smartphones and Facebook

What is it : it’s a game, with simple principles : rule your football team, and make it win its league. Choose the players, train them, trade them, build your stadium, manage your sponsors… Everything a football club manager has to do!

What’s new? : it’s social and mobile. It means you can compete with your friends in the same league, brag about your last win, and do all of that while riding the subway.

Why talking about it : to show that startups can beat gaming mahamots like EA or Ubisoft to their own games. Wildly acclaimed as one of the best game of its kind, it’s like Top Eleven just won the Champions League twice in a row!

Visit Top Eleven

Playing a championship season with your friends is just a lot more fun than playing against an AI or a bot.
Only a few will accede to the upper league, one more way to spice the challenge.

The game is hard, as it includes all the parameters a real manager has to play with!
If you’re not a football fan, you may find it complicated and sometimes boring, but football fans are pretty common in Europe!

The Right Size

Universal body passports are on the way

The problem: when you shop online for clothes or shoes, you’re never sure they will fit you. And even with the best customer service you can imagine, returns and refunds are painful and time consuming.

The solution: you enter every size you can take of your body, from your toes to the top, in a “body passport” that online merchants accept. This way, you can order the size of this great jacket that will fits you the best.

The competitorsFits.me and UpCload are two competitors on this market, both with great technology and first references. They both work on the same principle (the measures you entered vs. the clothes size), but Fits.me adds a robot on which they try every piece of garnment, so that you can check how it would look on you (requiring more work from the merchants, though).

A winner?: The adoption by online shops and merchants is evidently critical for success. As in VHS vs. Betamax, the winning format will probably get all the money.

Visit Fits.me and UpCload

UpCload can take your measures with a webcam and a CD (as a size reference) : three pictures on a white wall, holding a CD, and thats (almost) it.
Does it really take every measure, though?

It looks like integration of Fits.me may be more painful and costly that it should probably be.
It improves the shopping experience (seeing the piece on “you”, with the robot), but it may slow the integration on many sites.

The Culture Currency

Micro-pay for web contents with Flattr

The problem: as an artist (real or wanna be), you do not want to make you audience pay anything, but a bit of support (meaning, money) wouldn’t hurt and help you develop new projects. On the other side you’d like to help bloggers, musicians, video makers – in one word, web contents creators – but don’t exactly know how.

The solution: the monthly contribution you set up on Flattr is given to all the creators you like. All your clicks on an embedded button defining what part of your gift each of the authors gets (call it a Spotify model without the fat major record companies).

Why we talk about it: already featured as #14 best idea of 2011 by Wired (UK), and praised by many others, they probably don’t need more attention. But the fact their model is beautiful and slowly expanding, and that they’re Europeans where enough for us.

Visit Flattr

The idea of setting up a contribution and sharing it between all your clicks is just brilliant.
In that kind of business (supporting “cultures”), being painless is key!

For a few bucks a month, will content creators make the effort to install it? At least, they should try it, for sure!

Rent Your Code

Port a software in any web browser with the Roozz plugin

The problem: you developed a great game or a powerful application that you’d like to see running on the web. But you’re lacking the right language skills or the ressources to make it web compliant, in any environment.

The solution: the Roozz platform makes any app running in a web browser. How does it work? Developers send their app, and Roozz makes it available to any user who installed their plug-in.

The bonus: Roozz also manages revenues, subscriptions and free trials. It’s a full new platform (and sales channel) for developers.

Their unfair advantage: once the audience has reached a threshold, it could become a cross-platform app store, appealing for developers and customers alike. That’s what big names are just trying to do right now!

Visit Roozz

It works for 3D games, or any high resources consuming apps, which opens a bigger market.
Maybe one day we won’t have to worry anymore about our computer speed before playing a recent game!

The website and the interface are lacking a piece of fun and color! The graphic codes coming from the technology world are not very engaging for users.
For ideas, see Apple, they opened an app store not long ago…

Publish in one snap

Create a page and just share it.
That’s it with Checkthis.

The problem: you have a question or a post, but you don’t have a blog (or you lost your password), you don’t want to put it on Facebook, and a tweet is too short. How can you easily set up a page to share it with the world?

The solution: they call it “between nothing and a blog”, and poetry aside, that’s not far from reality. On Checkthis, you can publish your content in 2 clicks and get a unique link to spread the word, like this one.
It’s all about publishing content with Efficiency and Rapidity. So easy to use, self-evident and with such a great UI (User Interface) that you wonder why this did not exist before.

The bonus: basic templates let you choose if you want to publish a text, a product, a question or an invite. Basic needs. Basic solution.

How far can it go: pretty far if Checkthis becomes an habit for publishing perishable content. But how often do individual publishers (who already have blogs, highly followed twitter accounts, a tumblr and so on) will need this kind of page?

Visit Checkthis

You can set up a “due date” to your post. After one week or one month, it will entirely disappear from the web (theorically, at least).
It’s definitely like posting a poster in the street or handing out fliers for your party: who keeps that?.

With only four basic types of content available, you could feel frustrated if you want to publish a few pictures of your party, or anything else not fitting in one of them.
Fans of personnalised backgrounds or account parameters configuration might feel disappointed.