On my first full day in Israel, I left the hotel and was driven over to the Blonde 2.0 HQ for startup speed dating. I met with several different startups over the course of the morning and into the early afternoon. Think of startup speed dating as a lightning round of sorts–each startup gets X amount of time to do their pitch, talk to me, show me the product, etc. It was actually pretty fun, after all, I love meeting new people and seeing the latest tech.
Anyway, each team came in excited to share what they had been working on. I love that. One thing I always look for when speaking to another founder/entrepreneur is whether or not they are truly passionate about the problem they are working to solve. I think that’s critical.
It’s critical for several reasons: Money aside (and frankly if money is your sole motivator or even the biggest motivator, you’re in the wrong business), when I see a passionate individual, it means that person has a real vested interest in getting it right. Additionally, if you are passionate about something it’s entirely likely you are well-versed and knowledgeable about the space you are in or plan to be in. This typically leads to a better product. Of course there are others but I’ll save those for another blog post.
Anyway, back in Israel at Blonde 2.0 HQ a bunch of people came and met with me to discuss what they are working on. Here’s my favorite three companies from those meetings:
SessMe is a Secure Messaging App that Puts YOU In Control! Co-Founded in 2014 by Ofer Ben-David and Haim Saar, SessMe was created in order to tackle the problem of digital violence, and a lack of control over mass personal data in social networks. SessMe’s patent-pending technology aims to be used as a security tool, in everyday communications.
The app includes some novel features including the ability to block messages from being able to be screenshot (Android only), the ability to track how many times a photo was forwarded to other people, and even the ability to delete messages at any time (so for example, even if you sent a photo 5 months ago, you can still delete it from whoever you sent it to). These are nifty security and privacy measures.
As with any other messenger app it’s really only as good as the amount of people who are on the network. When I spoke with SessMe they had 70,000 downloads, a far cry from the hundreds of millions on Facebook Messenger or WhatsUp, but still it does serve a different purpose. To me the main question (and it’s a scary one) is whether people (general messenger app users) care enough about their privacy and security to use SessMe. For that, I don’t have an answer.
WonderVoice works as your personalized voice assistant for social networking, messaging, and other daily-used apps. The main goal of WonderVoice is to offer a seamless hands free interaction that is not confined to a limited number of apps defined by your OS. WonderVoice includes intelligent interaction with your favorite and fundamental apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, Glympse, and Pocket, as well as services aiming to help drivers find vacant parking spots, and sharing of location.
This app was one of the one’s that got me really excited. I think there is a lot more that can be done with voice commands and AI so it’s nice to see WonderVoice looking to tap into more of the potential that’s there. That being said, I downloaded the recently released version of the app and had issues with the voice appearing to “stutter” and the app would lock up occasionally. This was not the same experience I saw when I received a demo. A quick look in the app’s recent release comments verified I wasn’t alone with this issue. I’m sure the team is already working on those issues and I can’t wait for an update.
Download WonderVoice on iOS.
TIPIT is a video company aiming to inspire the world to live more creatively through their new app, which allows users to mashup videos on their smartphone and personalize their creations by adding interactive objects, captions, special effects and smart filters.
When I saw TIPIT in action, I was impressed. You can do some seriously cool effects and editing straight from this app. Think of TIPIT as a video remix app for the viewer. What do I mean by that? Well, imagine a YouTube or Vine star creating some content and then telling their fans to use TIPIT to make some crazy, hilarious, cool remix video. That’s what TIPIT can do.
Download TIPIT on iOS.
Disclosure: Blonde 2.0 is the PR firm for my other company, KYA. That relationship did not my impact my coverage of these companies. Just wanted to make that known.