SAN FRANCISCO — Friendship today just isn’t friendship unless you are constantly texting, tweeting, following, liking, and taking photos evidence of your shared activities. During the final pitch session at Demo Mobile, five startups presented social products that seek to help people communicate, travel, get dressed, and even hunt for beer together.
“Phones are at the center of the social network,” said Demo executive producer Erick Schonfeld. “They open up new possibilities because we are always connected and can share our lives with the world and our friends.”
Just.me brings a new, updated approach to messaging by bringing the functionalities of other social applications into once place. Founder and CEO Keith Teare said 12 trillion messages were sent in 2012, and this year there will be 17 trillion.
“We have experienced hardware revolutions, and the software needs to catch up,” he said. “Having a phone in your hands turns the world into a social network. We want you to put your phone and address book at the center of your sharing. This is an app that lets you choose who you want to be, when you want to be it. We allow you to be yourself.”
Using this application, people can access features like sharing, following, or browsing a news feed but within the native address book on a phone instead of through a cloud-based product. It is launching with 32 languages.
Stash helps you find interesting things around you. The application is a social event utility that lets users find and manage the events they attend.
“We all have that cool friend that always knows the best new restaurant or the secret show at a night club,” founder David Ziegler said on stage. “We want your phone to be that friend.”
Ziegler said the app is intended to inspire you by finding the most interesting and unordinary things to do through your network and carefully curated feeds. The product is highly visual and presented like a news feed. Items can be saved for later or shared with friends. As with other apps of this nature, critical mass is important for both users and events. The founders said they will first focus heavily on New York and San Francisco.
Traffic is an iPhone app that lets you get restaurant recommendations from friends, rather than from strangers on sites like Yelp. Founder Jordan Dobbs said that when people give word-of-mouth recommendations, they don’t give five stars. Usually, your reactions to a restaurant are simpler than that. Traffic asks users to give quick restaurant reviews in the form of green, yellow, or red lights and then add comments if they choose. When are you looking for a place to go, you open Traffic and can find what restaurants your friends like. The goal is to create a “high signal to noise ratio.”
Snaptiva is a mobile style assistant that lets users search millions of products and coordinate them with your wardrobe and home decor. CEO Ramsay Hoguet said that $480 million was spent on home design and fashion products in 2012 alone and that the overwhelming number of choices presents an opportunity.
“Color has meaning,” he said. “You can create harmony by handpicking colors. We are empowering consumers to make better and better design decisions.”
Users upload a photo to Snaptiva, and the technology applies color analysis to find products that match. Hoguet presented the application using a bright pink and green dress on stage. After uploading a photo, the engine presenting results with handbags in complementary greens and blues. People can also create ‘snapboards’ to collect different ideas. For example, a blue dress could go on a snapboard with multiple pairs of coordinating shoes. Hoguet also shared a personal use case where he took a picture of Spanish moss and created a living room design scheme based on the results.
Beer Hunt wants to be the “go-to app” for people who like to try interesting and new beers. It’s a social game. When you’re drinking a beer, you log in to document your beer and earn points and badges that can lead to rewards in the form of free beer.
“The design of beer hunt is meant to be simple and fun,” said CEO Shaan Puri on stage. “It is beer after all!”
Upon signing up, you answer a brief beer quiz about beers you have tried and/or like. You can then earn points for trying different beers and rise up on a leaderboard. The application also features a “drink-o-graph” with information like your beer preferences and the time since your last beer. Puri said that while Beer Hunt is a fun game, in their case, “free beer is serious business.” Craft beer is booming right now and beer is the most popular drink in the world after water and tea. The team plans to make money by providing beer brands a channel to reach customers, based on what they like and what they have had in the past.