Archive for Online Companies

Dubsmash

Dubsmash is a lip synching app where users can pick from multiple soundbites to record themselves with. The video then can be shared to multiple other social media platforms. Roland Grenke, Jonas Druppel, and Daniel Taschik are the inventors of Dubsmash. The creators originated from Germany. The team previously created two failed apps, but Dubsmash was reigned number one in one week in Germany. The team saw the rise of social apps and the music industry, deciding to combine the two. More than 100 million people have downloaded Dubsmash. Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Jimmy Fallon, and Rihanna have even used Dubsmash. Many entertainment outlets like movies, music, and tv shows have been promoted through Dubsmash. In May of 2016, Dubsmash earned six million dollars. Dubsmash’s major competition has been Musically and Snapchat. Sadly, Dubsmash has not stood the test of time. It has faded away despite its success in the app store. It goes to show that applications are big business, but it takes a lot to stay on top.

Music To Your Ears

Daniel Ek is one of the founders of Spotify, which is the leading music service and also features access to podcasts, and videos. It allows users to access songs, videos and more from all over the world. Using the basic functions, like streaming music, is free. There is an option to upgrade to Spotify Premium which costs $9.99 per month and includes personalized features where users can create their own radio stations, collections of music, and playlists. It is also available for use across different devices like phones, tablets, cars, and even TVs. It even has the ability to be integrated into social media and matchmaking apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Tinder so people can find friends and potential dates with similar music interests. They use the idea of “freemium,” where basic streaming services are free to the user with advertisements to offset the cost for Spotify. This way, users can listen to new songs without having to pay for each song. It saves the users money, and also saves space on devices because the music isn’t downloaded onto the device, it’s just streamed. It has big competitors, particularly Apple, but it still has over 100 million users and is continuing to grow. It uses many data collection techniques in order to release new products and keep users interested. Spotify has helped the world by creating a new way for people to access new music. In the past, music piracy was a pretty big issue. Spotify has helped decrease music piracy because it’s free and gives users access to top hits. It is a completely legal way for people to access music, and it in turn doesn’t hurt the music producers and singers who lose out on money when their music is pirated. With Spotify, they still get paid because of the occasional ads that play while the user is listening. Daniel Ek definitely was innovative when he created Spotify. He transformed the music streaming industry by benefiting both the users and producers.

Chalmers Brown | Due.com

Chalmers Brown is a software engineer and entrepreneur who is currently working on his fifth startup, Due.com. Due helps small businesses with invoices and payment processing so that they can receive the money that they earned.

Brown’s entrepreneurial story started at Rutgers University, where he began a business to help local students earn money selling their used textbooks. He found a very immediate need that he could meet and turned it into a business. As his education in software engineering advanced, he started developing software back ends for social media companies, healthcare providers, and other businesses.

Due.com emerged from the experiences and relationships he made during his early entrepreneurial years, as he connected to freelancers and started to understand what they could use to make their processes easier. He spotted pain in an experience, and turned it into a business that delivers millions of invoices every year across the globe.

Although the business is very small and simple, the beauty of Due.com is the great need it meets for many people. While many people try to make starting a business complex and formulaic, Brown found a intersection of passion and pain and launched from there.

Wag! Personal dog walking

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One of the biggest concerns with dog owners is getting consistent walking. If you own a dog and no one is home all day, or if you go on vacation, there isn’t a quality way to let them have freedom to exercise while keeping them safe inside your home. Wag! Co-founder and CEO Joshua Viner was unsure about committing to take care of a dog since he wasn’t home often and it wouldn’t be fair to the dog to be stuck inside a cage all the time. He took this problem and created a very innovative unique solution.

Wag! is an app you get on your phone that allows people to come to your house and give your dog a walk. This idea sounded really weird to me at first but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Most dogs require at least 30 minutes of exercise per day with bigger dogs needing even more. A lot of time with people working full time jobs and having other activities it can be difficult to always find the time to walk your dog.

Wag! has a guarantee that your house and dog will be safe using their services and even have insurance up to 1,000,000$ for your home while using their service. They thoroughly screen everyone that applies to become a dog walker and does everything possible to keep your home and beloved animal safe.

This service is not only a great idea for dog owners but also for the people walking the dogs. Personally, I would love to be paid to walk people’s dogs and spend time with them. I was never allowed to get a dog as a child and so I always appreciate it when I get to be around any dogs. It also seems like a great way to make money as a college student looking for something to do over breaks or during free time at school.

All in all, Wag! is the best new service to help keep your dogs healthy. It helps owners know that their dog is well cared for and in the best shape possible while giving them the freedom to be away from home. Finally, it is a great new way for dog lovers to spend time with a lot of dogs and making money while doing it.

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Ollie Dee Design

What makes Ollie Dee Design special is not so much what they do (it’s a pretty run-of-the mill custom design company that largely works with other small businesses) but the story they tell: Ollie Dee Smith is the grandfather of a dear friend of mine: Leigh Anne. Growing up, Leigh Anne watched her grandfather struggle as an entrepreneur but also saw the triumph of hard work and success. What did she learn form all this? She learned that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

And that’s how she markets herself: as a young designer who is passionate about what she does and about helping others grow their businesses. And since that is the work she has chosen for herself, she is dedicated to doing it well! She takes her “old school work ethic” and adds to it “modern branding and design”. Leigh Anne promises her customers open communication, honest criticism, and level-headed guidance as they work together to provide high quality product to a market infatuated by all things fast, cheap, or easy.

We’ve all heard it before: “they just don’t make things the way they used to;” “we weren’t afraid of hard work back in my day;” “if young people would only take a little pride in their work, things would be better”… We’ve all heard this type of thing a thousand times; most of us role our eyes and assume that our grandparents are just nostalgic for their youth. But not Leigh Anne! She had the wisdom and humility to recognize that her Grandfather’s success as an entrepreneur wasn’t a coincidence. She saw that he had valuable insight to offer, so she built her business around the values he taught her. After all: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Koofers

In the 21st century, more than ever before, a college education is the single most important step young Americans can take towards securing a prosperous and stable future. Unfortunately, the cost of higher education is going nowhere but up: while many Americans have been saving for their education since birth, very few of us will be able to come up with the nearly $100,000 check needed to see us across the stage. And even if we are able to make up the difference through loans, scholarships, and grants, there is very little aid available to help cover the costs needed for success: many of us may find ourselves working several jobs just to cover the cost of textbooks, study materials, and practice exams, putting us even further away from paying off our debts and cashing in on the security our education promises.

That’s where Koofers comes into play: in 2008, Glynn LoPresti, Patrick Gartlan, and Dan Donahoe – three young professionals with background in Computer Science and Finance – decided enough was enough and set out to find a way to lighten the financial burden of College education. But while others before them had looked at the problem through the lens of tuition and enrollment fees, the founders of Koofers saw an unmet although equally daunting need: the miscellaneous cost of success. It’s all well and good to provide the financial support necessary to get students into college, but what about their needs once they are there? We’re all students, so none of us need to be told about the stress of trying to find the necessary funds to keep ourselves in books and school supplies. It’s really hard to be successful in school if you are working 60 hours a week just to pay for the tools you need to keep you in school!

Koofers provides students with FREE access to those tools. It is a consumer internet platform that provides access to testbanks, practice exams, professor rating data, flashcards, and scheduling software at absolutely no cost to the students who use it. It is funded through textbook sales and commissions from employers looking to hire students so that those who already struggle to make ends meet to cover tuition won’t find themselves struggling to keep their grades up because they can’t afford study tools. It is a free one-stop-shop that offers students the needed resources to not only get them into school, but also to see them through to graduation.

The site also offers an “enterprise Campus Recruiting solution” that connects employers and recruiting firms with students looking for internships and full-time work opportunities. By charging prospective employers for the use of this system, Koofers is able to offer a wide variety of services to students free of charge! The recruiting program also ensures that the students working so hard to put themselves through school don’t see all that effort go to waste: through Koofers, students are not only supported through their schools years, but are also given access to a community of professionals and employers eager to help them put their education to work!

Founded and run by recent college grads, Koofers understands that college acceptance and tuition is just the first step in the uphill financial battle that so many Americans face in trying to procure and education. If tuition is the canoe, then school supplies are the paddle: without one, the other is useless. While federal grant programs, trusts, and loan programs get students on board, only Koofers provides them with the tools they need to navigate their way towards a brighter future!

The Mind Behind Mozilla Firefox

Blake Ross epitomizes what it means to be a millennial entrepreneur. But before Blake’s story is told, here’s a word about Netscape.

In the late 1990s, Netscape Communications Corporation, an internet suite, was competing against the Microsoft giant, Internet Explorer. One could hardly call it competing, though, because Internet Explorer was beating their competition to a pulp. Netscape needed a better product in order to survive against Internet Explorer. So in 1998, Netscape made development of their new version open source, meaning that any programmers could help develop it. This is where Blake enters scene.

Blake loved programming, and by the age of 10 he had constructed his first website. At the age of 15, he started developing with Netscape. He and two others, David Hyatt and Joe Hewitt, would eventually become the major minds behind Mozilla Firefox through the Netscape open source project. In 2004, at the age of 19, Blake helped release the first version of Firefox. By 2010, Firefox surpassed Internet Explorer as the most popular web browser in Europe, and Firefox continues to be successful to this day.

Blake started working on another project in 2006 called Parakey. It was a computer interface that he wanted to be able to perform the same functions as an operating system. Shortly after its development in 2007, Facebook bought Parakey for a multi-million dollar deal.

Blake Ross excellently shows the benefits of starting young and getting out into the entrepreneurial world as soon as possible. He took something that he enjoyed doing and was able to use his skills to do big things in the field of technology.

Birchbox

For $10 a month you can get designer make-up sent right to your door. This seems like a dream come true to me, and I have found a way to accomplish this, thanks to Birchbox.

A monthly subscription service that was founded in New York City by two Harvard graduates, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, in 2010.  The company started trying to get funding and investors and managed to get over $1.4 million from venture groups that helped the business go from an idea to a multi-million dollar company. With over a million subscribers and over 800 partners the business has become a new way people think about buying make-up. Instead of having to go spend over a hundred dollars at a cosmetics store, we’re able to get samples of the make-up we like sent to us. Then they introduced the feature of being able to customize your box. This means that if you really like a product you are able to get products like it, or by the same brand.

The goal of the subscription sample boxes are to get people to buy the full size product from the retailer, and 50% of Birchbox users did go on to do so. Another feature that customizes the product to the consumer is Birchbox Points. Every time a customer purchases the full size product, refers a friend, or purchasing a box as a gift for a friend, would earn them points which they could put towards their boxes and buying products.

Birchbox also partnered with Instagram and Soldsie to open an Instagram shop. This means that customers who were interested in Birchbox products could comment with a hashtag (#birchboxcart) and it would automatically be entered into their cart on Birchbox.

This company has capitalized on both the social and business side of their idea and it has clearly paid off for them.

Silbermann and Sharp: Pinterest

Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp, co-founders of Pinterest, both used their prior experiences in the technology and the internet to start a very successful business of their own. Silbermann was a Google employee until he left to design apps on his own. However, these failed to gain any traction, until eventually he designed a product inspired by his own love of collecting things.

Similarly, Sharp worked at Facebook as a product designer. He met Silbermann in New York, and then joined his team to make Pinterest a reality.

Pinterest is really about idea sharing. People enjoy telling others about their ideas, and Pinterest gives them a platform to not only do so but also to gauge how a community will respond to it. It is a great place to see other peoples ideas as well, and find inspiration for many different things.

This business idea is a great example of collision in a liquid network. In the realm of technology and the internet, two men with the experience and ideas necessary collided to make a business that could possibly eclipse Facebook and other social media giants.

Without one another, the idea would just be a pair of hunches, and nothing would have come from it. However, in a community where ideas can bounce around, change, and grow, true innovations can be born.

From Pic to Snap

Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy are the two founders of one of the biggest social media networks, called Snapchat. Snapchat is used by one hundred fifty million users per day. Snapchat has a wide age demographic because it is popular among people who are school age, college age, and even young adults. Users make a username, which is how others see them, and add them. A relatively new feature Snapchat has added is the ‘Snapcode,’ which is a quicker way to add friends, rather than by username. Users can either screenshot their friend’s Snapcode and upload it into snapchat from their device’s camera roll, or they can take a picture of their friend’s Snapcode right on Snapchat, and their friend will be added. Once people add their friends, they’re all kept in a ‘friends list.’ Then, users take pictures of themselves (called selfies), scenery, or anything else they want, and send it to people on their friends list while adding a caption. The picture can be set to be shown for a certain amount of time, or until the receiver taps it off the screen. It is like texting, only with pictures each time, and there’s a catch; the pictures disappear forever either after it is clicked off the screen or the time runs out. This was a completely new and innovative way for communication. The ability to send pictures and videos, while still chatting with a person, was easier and more fun. Also, because the pictures disappear, it added more fun because people can send embarrassing “selfies” and not have to worry about them being seen by everyone. Snapchat also made connecting with people easier because it only requires an internet connection to be able to send pictures. There was a time when sending pictures through texts costed extra. With Snapchat, people could send pictures and messages as long as there was internet connection, and there’d be no extra charge. Spiegel and Murphy were very successful and innovative with their invention of Snapchat. It added a twist to texting and made communicating with friends easier and more fun. Even today, they are constantly adding new features to the network, such as the ability to add filters to the pictures, the ability to use the ‘discover’ page to read magazines and catch up on current events in the world, and make Snapchat Stories. Snapchat Stories are pictures or videos that people put on to their Snapchat and everybody the person is friends with can see it continuously for 24 hours before it disappears. Their new ideas and changes to Snapchat continue to make the network better, more exciting, and more appealing to users, all while still making communication easy.