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Neighbor.ly: The Funding Platform for Community Projects that Helps Fund Civic Projects which are Immensely Beneficial to the Community

http://www.neighbor.ly

Neighbor.ly is the funding platform for community projects. We help fund civic projects that usually can’t be put on the tax base but are immensely beneficial to the community.

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Today, we had an in-depth and very interesting interview with Mr. ‘Sean Connolly‘; Director of Engagement at the US (Kansas City)-based start-up “Neighbor.ly”.

Neighbor.ly” is a civic crowd-funding platform that helps funding community projects.

Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Connolly’, regarding his start-up company “Neighbor.ly”;

1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Neighbor.ly” is all about?

Neighbor.ly is the funding platform for community projects. We help fund civic projects that usually can’t be put on the tax base but are immensely beneficial to the community. Neighbor.ly allows for cities to pre-capitalize projects instead of relying on debt and borrowed federal dollars. Projects can scale so US cities, community organizations and other civic-minded entities can all act as project owners. We’re invested in improving communities and we’re giving cities a new option to do just that.

2. When has “Neighbor.ly” been founded? And what stage is “Neighbor.ly” currently at?

Neighbor.ly was founded in March of 2012 and launched in early July of 2012. The platform is in an open, working test phase in which listed projects are live and are accepting real dollars. Software is continually being improved to provide better functionality and streamline the application and approval process. In October, we launched a skatepark in Portland, OR which marks our first national project. Our backlog continues to grow and we now have well over 20 project proposals from around the country.

3. What is “Neighbor.ly”‘s business model and how does it work?

In order to continue helping cities across the nation, Neighbor.ly takes a 5% platform fee from each project. Currently, we take a very proactive role in helping projects to get on the platform. In the future, we imagine having a streamlined application process and an option for cities to use our services as a consultant, in which case we would charge a consulting fee.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

Jase Wilson (CEO) and Briston Davidge (COO), met back in 2003 when they formed the civic-minded web development company Luminopolis with backgrounds in city planning and development and programming. The two eventually moved to OfficePort, a colocation space in the heart of the Crossroads in downtown Kansas City. Chris Parrott (CFO), a certified public accountant working out of OfficePort, has advised dozens of ventures on balancing short-term operations with long-term vitality and value growth. Shaul Jolles (CBDO), a real estate developer and founder of OfficePort, has extensive networks and a business sense that made him ideal for the role he plays at Neighbor.ly. Patrick Hosty (Advisor) is a Kansas City native with a background in public finance and corporate banking.

5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?

Neighbor.ly is the first funding platform in the US focused on community and civic projects. Other crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are interested in helping individuals while we are interested in helping whole communities. We host projects strictly by civic-minded organizations because we’re interested in improving the very communities we live in. We understand the power of all levels of a community gathering to support a cause. This is why we encourage donations and support not just from individuals but from companies, institutions and organizations as well. These entities essentially get to vote with their dollars to put money toward projects they really care about in their own communities.

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Peoplegeist: A 100% Free Social People Search Engine that Puts You in Complete Control of What Others See and Learn about You Online

http://www.peoplegeist.com

Peoplegeist is, simply put, designed to make it easier to find information about people for the purpose of forming and maintaining stronger relationships.

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We had a long and insightful chat with Mr. ‘Darian Wilson‘; Founder of the US (Washington)-based start-up “Peoplegeist”.

Peoplegeist” is a social people search engine that allows you to present your digital self to the world and interact with those who are most interested in you by adding your links and answering questions they send you.

Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Wilson’ regarding his start-up company “Peoplegeist”;

1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Peoplegeist” is all about?

It is a commonly held belief by those in the know that the information revolution will be won by those who can design the best filters to help people find and use all the data gathering in the cloud. At the same time, people around the world are increasingly using the Internet for two main purposes – one to form and maintain relationships and two to find information. Peoplegeist is, simply put, designed to make it easier to find information about people for the purpose of forming and maintaining stronger relationships.

2. When has “Peoplegeist” been founded? And what stage is “Peoplegeist” currently at?

The Peoplegeist team first came together in July 2012 when four partners decided to hire a developer to build the site. The first version was launched in October 2012. Another programmer was brought on-board in November 2012 and the current version went online in December 2012. Funding for the site came from the initial four partners, with less than $5,000 being invested in site development to date.

3. What is “Peoplegeist”s business model and how does it work?

We are operating as a 100% always free social media site at this time and we will never charge members for our basic services. As the community grows, we will perhaps experiment with a search result advertising system similar to Google or we may decide to charge for premium services above and beyond what is currently offered on the site for free. Bottom line is we created this site in an attempt to change the way people find and communicate with each other using social media. That will always be our primary focus, and we will look at possible revenue models as the community grows and tells us what it needs, wants and is willing to pay for.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

The four initial partners have all never met in person, but are all tied together through the founder who knows each of them in either a personal and/or professional capacity. When it came time to hire developers, we conducted a very careful vetting process using online employment and freelance services. We are truly a global team with members in the U.S., Japan, Singapore and Brazil, and we are able to conduct all of our business using online communication and collaboration tools.

5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?

When you look closely at almost all of the most popular social media sites available today, the one thing that becomes very clear is that many of the “conversations” taking place online appear to be very one-sided. On Facebook, for example, someone will make a post. Another ten people will comment on the post. Then the next post will appear and all is forgotten and the group moves on. Let’s not even think about how someone following 30,000 people on Twitter could respond or even read all of those posts. Peoplegeist is designed to be more permanent, and uses a question-and-answer format to foster a better sense of real conversation and connection. It is also designed to be more permanent, and we hope that people will be able to go read your information on our site 10 years from now and still feel that it is relevant and useful to what they are seeking.

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Render.st: An Easy to Use and Affordable Online Render Farm, with a Great Customer Support

http://www.render.st

Render Street is an easy to use and affordable render farm for 3D projects with very good customer support.

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Today we had an in-depth and insightful interview with Mr. ‘Sorin Vinatoru‘; Co-Founder and CTO at the Romania (Bucharest)-based start-up “Render Street”.

Render Street” is a global provider of rendering services.

Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Vinatoru’ regarding his technology start-up company “Render Street”;

1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Render Street” is all about?

Render Street is an easy to use and affordable render farm for 3D projects with very good customer support. Using our services, the customers can speed up their rendering speed up to hundreds of times in case of large animations. We have recently entered the closed beta stage and are currently supporting only the blender 3D modelling software.

2. When has “Render Street” been founded? And what stage is “Render Street” currently at?

Our startup was founded in May 2012. We are currently in the closed beta stage. At this stage, we accept selected customers in the beta program, so they can test our platform and provide feedback on what works and what can be improved. We are looking at opening up the open beta at the beginning of the year. Usage of the site in closed beta is free of charge for a limited time.

3. What is “Render Street”‘s business model and how does it work?

We have opted for a “utility” business model, in which the customers pay exactly for the resources they use. The customers can choose one of the three paid plans, depending on the complexity of their work and the resources they need to allocate. In the open beta, we will offer a limited amount of free credits so people can test our site without needing to pay.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

We are a team of 3. The CEO (Marius Iatan) and CTO (Sorin Vinatoru) have worked together since 1999 in 4 different companies and met at the first company they worked together. They both have a technical background, but have been running businesses as well in the past. The 3rd partner (Oana Vinatoru) is responsible for Product and Community Management and is Sorin’s wife since 2000.

5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?

We identified a need for our product some time ago when Oana was in need for a render farm to render a bigger project she had. The current offering in the market is extremely difficult to use, has bad customer support and is either expensive or uses outdated hardware. What we do better than the current market offering is:

- have a very easy to use interface
- have great customer support by 3D professionals
- have affordable prices or top of the line hardware

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SpotLoss: A Device that Keeps Track of Everything from your Keys to your Kids

http://www.spotloss.com/

SpotLoss is a device that allows you to keep track of everything from your keys to your phone to your kids. The SpotLoss fob allows you to press a button on the fob to find your phone, or a button on your phone to find your fob.

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We had an in-depth and very interesting interview with Mr. ‘Christopher McLain‘; President of Product Development at the US (Binghamton, NY) start-up “SpotLoss”.

The “SpotLoss” Fob allows you to press a button on the fob to find your phone, or a button on your phone to find your fob.

Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘McLain’ regarding his start-up company and their flagship product “SpotLoss”;

1. What is it exactly that you do and what your “SpotLoss” is all about?

We provide a device that allows you to keep track of everything from your keys to your phone to your kids. The SpotLoss fob allows you to press a button on the fob to find your phone, or a button on your phone to find your fob.

Additionally, it is a proximity alert system. You can be notified by the fob or by your cellphone if the two devices become more than 50 meters apart, or conversely come within 50 meters of each other. This would notify you that you left your keys on your desk, that your child ran off in the mall, or that your sister is nearby. Besides an alarm, you can also be notified to a change in proximity by text or email.

The fob runs for roughly a year on a replaceable watch battery without having to remember to recharge it. It measures 5.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 cm and the carabiner style design allows it to quickly latch onto nearly anything.

The fob uses a free cell phone app, and we are planning an SDK for developers that would like to use our hardware.

2. When has “SpotLoss” been founded? And what stage is “SpotLoss” currently at?

We were founded in January 2012. Currently, we have working software and working prototypes. We’re in the process of trying to raise money to start mass production on our first SpotLoss product. At the same time we’re continuing to design new software and make variations on the SpotLoss hardware.

3. What is “SpotLoss”‘s business model and how does it work?

We plan on selling our hardware for $25 to $35 dollars and providing a free iPhone and Android app. Our marketing strategy is still being finalized, but we will be distributing a lot of free fobs and investing in advertising and marketing campaigns. We are also currently running a crowdfunding campaign to establish some pre-sales.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

I (Chris) sought out Charlie Taylor and Erik Gregory on a tip from a friend’s father. I write the software for the fob and the apps. Erik designs and builds the PCBs and is focusing on our first production run. Charlie, a retired EE professor, provides general guidance and all around mentor-ship.

5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?

We use Bluetooth 4.0 which allows our product to have a range of 50 meters while using a watch battery that doesn’t need to be recharged. (Unlike similar products such as Zomm which need to be charged weekly.)

Also, we have a unique way of connecting that allows devices to connect in a many-to-many relationship. This increases the number of uses.

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BigMarker.com: A Global Network of People and Communities that Meet Face-to-Face Online

http://www.bigmarker.com/

BigMarker offers a community based management platform for teams, groups and organizations to video conference and collaborate online.

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Start-Ups.Co interviewed Mr. ‘Andy Papier‘; Media Coordinator at the US (Chicago)-based start-up “BigMarker”.

BigMarker” enables anyone to host webinars and video conferences, or join one of the thousands of conversations that are already happening.

Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Papier’ regarding the start-up company “BigMarker”;

1. What is it exactly that you do and what “BigMarker” is all about?

BigMarker offers a community based management platform for teams, groups and organizations to video conference and collaborate online. Ditch your patchwork subscriptions for video conferencing, file sharing, and member or project management, and put the time and effort spent juggling those half-solutions toward something more worthwhile. As a BigMarker member, your toolkit is instantly simplified into a single, easily accessible solution. Whether you need to better engage your members, drive your team’s productivity, or connect with a new group of people, BigMarker is the place for you. With BigMarker, Any Community can make a visible and lasting mark on the world, classroom, office, or audience.

2. When has “BigMarker” been founded? And what stage is “BigMarker” currently at?

The name ‘BigMarker’ stems from the idea that global connections and collaboration allow communities to make their mark…in a big way. The company was founded in Chicago, IL by Zhu-Song Mei in 2011. From there he sought out capital and is now backed by an angel investor.

Our goal in the near-term is to provide these global connection and collaboration tools in a way that is simple, easy-to-use, affordable, and instantly accessible to all.

In the long-term, our vision is to provide a podium to address the world, one that not only connects people within existing groups, organizations, and communities, but empowers individuals and communities to achieve truly global reach.

At the moment we have 9 team members.

3. What is “BigMarker”‘s business model and how does it work?

We believe that knowledge should be open and accessible to everyone. So Public Communities are always free – to connect you to the world!

If you need more exclusivity or more advanced features, we offer Pro Communities to power internal collaboration, and provide video conferencing that lets 3, 5, 10, or more people host conferences in your Community for the same price the other guys charge you for one.

Join for Free!
Create a free BigMarker account to browse, join, and attend existing Communities and Conferences.

Create a Free Community
+ Unlimited Members + 8GB File Storage
+ Unlimited Public Video Conferencing
50 person Conference Rooms | 3 Hosts to start + 1 for every 50 members
+ Discussion Board
+ Community Calendar

Create a Pro Community (starting at $9/month)
Pro Communities enable you to host public or private conferences, discussions,and files, manage projects and tasks, and organize into groups.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

The Techies

Zhu-Song Mei | Founder & CEO
As BigMarker’s Founder, Zhu-Song is the driving force behind our vision. Prior to creating BigMarker, Zhu-Song was a Software Architect in Accenture’s R&D group (Where he met team members Dmitriy and Justin). He is a graduate from Northwestern University, where he earned three degrees (one in computer science, and two in engineering). When he’s not improving on BigMarker or dreaming up what’s next, Zhu-Song can be found exploring Chicago.

Bill Gloff | Chief Technology Officer
Bill touches many areas of the product, but primarily focuses on the community aspect of it. He’s also always working to keep us up to date with the best tools and methodologies available. Bill has 12+ years’ experience in software architecture and development. Prior to joining BigMarker, he was a co-founder at the Chicago Groovy User Group and a consultant at CityTech. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from DePaul University.

Dmitriy Feferman | Software Architect
Dmitriy (Dima) joined BigMarker from Accenture and spends most of his time perfecting our video conferencing product. His insightful perspective, however, helps the team make all product decisions. Prior to joining BigMarker, Dima was a consultant in Accenture’s R&D group and graduated from Northwestern University, where he studied Computer Science.

Jia-Long Xu | Web Designer
Jia-Long is our lead web designer. With extensive knowledge in design and incredible ability to innovate, he is continuously helping to improve our look. Based in Qingdao, China, Jia-Long is BigMarker’s nighttime creative guru.

Li Jin | Web Developer
Li does development work for our web apps, bringing a breadth of experience including Rails, C, C++, C#, and Java. She holds a Master of Computer Science from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Southern Polytechnic State.

The Techie-Wannabes

Justin Brown | Chief Operating Officer
Justin leads BigMarker’s day-to-day business activities including business and customer development, product management, marketing, analytics, operations, and finance. Prior to joining BigMarker, he was a management consultant at Accenture, where he helped businesses and governments solve a multitude of strategic and operational issues. He holds degrees in Economics and Marketing from Miami University.

Andy Papier | Media Coordinator
Andy leads BigMarker’s digital marketing, public relations, customer outreach, research, and support activities, focusing on providing BigMarker’s customers with the best experience possible. He also leads the BigMarker Speaker Series, which provides a podium for experts looking to share their knowledge with the world. Andy holds an MBA from Roosevelt University and a BS from Indiana University.

Caryn Wille | Branding and Design Coordinator
As the leader of BigMarker’s brand marketing activities, Caryn is the champion of BigMarker’s mission and brand across all touchpoints with our users, customers, and community! She is also our daytime creative guru, helping the team to package everything into one cohesive design. Caryn is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied Creative Writing.

Joe Yeoman | Director of Partnerships
Joe leads BigMarker’s Partnerships efforts, where he helps organizations such as schools, nonprofits, and businesses achieve greater impact through social collaboration. As the team’s other creative guru, Joe also makes significant contributions to the BigMarker experience. Joe is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, and holds an MFA in Writing from Naropa University.

5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?

We try to focus on markets that are overlooked or that can seem to be less attractive to larger more enterprise interested companies. Those markets are small business, non profit, education and faith based.

What we do that’s new is combine multiple tools in one solution (one site). The primary feature being video conferencing that allows for interaction after the meeting or presentation. We also offer a public facing section that allows members and non members alike to attend a conference or meeting that interests them.

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KindCritic.com: A Social Platform that Allows you to get Crowdsourced Feedback on your Creative Projects

http://www.kindcritic.com/

KindCritic is a social platform where creatives can give and get crowdsourced constructive feedback on their creative works from real experts in their field of interest.

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. ‘Jeff Callahan‘; Founder of the US (Austin)-based start-up “KindCritic”.

KindCritic” is A Social Platform that Allows you to get Crowdsourced Feedback on your Creative Projects.

Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Callahan’ regarding his internet start-up company “KindCritic”;

1. What is it exactly that you do and what “KindCritic” is all about?

KindCritic is a social platform where creatives can give and get crowdsourced constructive feedback on their creative works from real experts in their field of interest.

Users can post images, links, writing and music publicly or incognito. They can then track their creative posts and the best feedback gets voted to the top.

2. When has “KindCritic” been founded? And what stage is “KindCritic” currently at?

KindCritic was founded in May of 2012 with a MVP being launched in late July. After extensive feedback and further development we just launched a much improved version and are currently working on more exciting features to enhance the user experience.

We are pre-revenue, self-funded, but are open to meeting with potential investors.

3. What is “KindCritic”‘s business model and how does it work?

Eventually we will integrate an advertising model for both advertisers and users and are considering a licensing option.

Users will be able to pay for sponsored trends to get more exposure as we build our user base. We will also allow advertisers to buy space on the site.

We will also allow users a chance to pay for feedback from expert critics. For instance, I am an aspiring song writer and I want to get feedback from a real record producer in Los Angeles who was worked with big name bands. I can pay a small fee to get his feedback on my music and we collect a small fee.

We also are considering licensing the platform to Universities and schools with creative departments for students to have a place to easily critique each other’s work.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

There are two of us who have worked to bring this product to life. We actually met online and have been working remotely since the beginning of KindCritic.

I am the business, marketing, and designer side of the business. I do a little front end as well. I also work with a very talented developer who built out the entire back-end.

5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?

There are many forums online to post your content, but most succumb to cyber-bullies, trolling, or flamers.

KindCritic is a site exclusively for constructive criticism where negativity and bullying is not a part of our community. No other site is solely dedicated to getting/giving constructive criticism.

Also. no other site ranks critics. Using our scoring system we assign you a Critic Score. So, you can finally put your money where your mouth is.

It is the perfect place for aspiring creatives to really hone their craft and learn from vetted experts in a positive environment..

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