My Startup Crushes

Every week on Twitter I reveal a startup I love, essentially my startup crush. They’re not always from France either. Have a startup idea you want to submit ? Click here.

November 2013

Gemmyo

It’s really hard not to love the French startup Gemmyo, founded in 2011 by husband and wife team, who have intertwined the story of their startup into the story of…their engagement. And it works quite nicely. Unable to navigate the traditional and rather unwelcoming French jewelry market at a rather important time in their lives, they realized they were probably not alone. And thus Gemmyo was born. It may look a lot like Gemvara but this French startup is definitely one to watch. More thoughts here.

October 2013

JellyNote

My latest Startup Crush – who recently won the startup competition at the Blend Conference in Lyon – is JellyNote. This musical startup offers social platform with a selection of scores, tabs and synchronized video/sheetmusic lessons for learning and playing music for 6 different instruments. The company calls itself a “Guitar Hero for Real Instruments” (which is ironically similar to how I presented Corsican startup iMusic-School when I wrote about them in TechCrunch several years ago). The platform also allows you to follow your favorite bands in order to receive and request their latest songs, and users can upload music to the site as well.

April 2013

VoiceBunny

I assume that I discovered VoiceBunny in the same way most people discover VoiceBunny…via Fred Wilson’s blog! VoiceBunny is an incredible idea, that simplifies making voice-overs. The company has coined the term “crowdvoicing,” meaning that you can crowdsource the voice you need for podcasts, advertisements, mobile apps, etc. from the company’s community of over 100,000 talents in 50+ countries. Love it. While the company’s HQ is in NY, the company also maintains an office in Colombia, where the founder is originally from.

Augment

This is a long-over due crush of mine, that dates back to LeWeb 2012, when the Paris-based team first demoed its product for me. Augment’s augmented reality application is for e-commerce, allowing you to easily visualize any object you see online directly in your home. I love the idea so much I’m almost mad I didn’t think of it :) The company graduated from Paris’s LeCamping accelerator program and announced a mini-round of funding not too long ago.

November 2012

My new bestfriend is FidMe, developed by Bordeaux-based Snapp. Similar in some ways to Apple’s Passbook or Google-acquired Punchd, this lovely little app turns all your annoying paper loyalty cards into digital ones – all in a single app. Absolutely no charge for the user and the visual and user experience is, well, beautiful. With over 3,000 loyalty cards to choose from, you can use your FidMe account – available in 14 different languages – in numerous countries. Download the app for iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, you name it, here.

October 2012

Paris-based Youboox recently stole my heart. This “Spotify for books” currently offers over 2,000 free digital books available on tablet and web, reviews and critiques included. Currently, all content is availabe in French but it shouldn’t be long before additional languages and the premium offers are added. There are some absolutely fabulous books listed in this free digital library. Could be just as much fun as going to the FNAC!

August 2012

Berlin-based Wunderlist is perhaps one of my new favorite productivity tools. When it comes to trying to keep up with work, life, Girls in Tech, blogging, Failcon and whatnot, I confess to needing all the organizational help I can get. I’ve tried oodles of productivity tools – Yammer, Asana, and the likes. When I was installing new applications on my new Mac, I asked people for suggestions on what to install and Wunderlist the application recommended to me the most. Now I’m loving the application for its simplicity – it’s insanely easy to use and syncs on all your devices.

It’s kind of impossible not to love Visual.ly. The online community and database for infographics and data visualisation was founded by some of the former team from Mint.com in 2011. Even though it’s raised money with some of the big guys – Softtech and 500 Startups – I admit that I was slow to sign-up and check it out. But once I did, I was hooked. Actually, in many ways, I feel like they take 1 of verticals from Pinterest and do it really well. Clearly, digital content is becoming increasingly visual.

July 2012

Truth is, I’m kind of addicted to Popset – which was introduced to me by Maxime De Greve at a Startup Weekend event in London. Even though the Y Combinator startup has been hyped as a great photo-sharing app on numerous blogs, there are so many photo apps these days that I actually wasn’t really inclined to use it prior. I thought Instagram & Co. was sufficient. But I was wrong :)

I definitely think I enjoy Popset as much as Instagram…maybe even more? Instagram is stronger visually and in terms of photo editing but I think Popset integrates social in a very unique way. And if you still need a reason to try it out, ask Will Smith why he loves it so much?

June 2012

Some people describe Le Petit Ballon as “Birchbox for wine” but actually, it’s more. For anyone who has ever stood in the wine aisle at a supermarket unable to differentiate between the hundreds of almost-identical bottles, this is essentially a creative way to discover, try and learn about new wines – which you can enjoy in the privacy of your own home with friends.

Sign-up to the service (currently only available in France) and you’ll receive 2 full bottles of wine to try every month for less than €20 plus great deals if you want to repurchase directly from the producer. In addition to the wine itself, you’ll receive tasting tips from Le Petit Ballon’s renowned wine expert, Jean-Michel Deluc.

My other favorite part about their story is that one of the co-founders is a former musician! And go figure. Because that’s exactly the type of person that could shake up the traditional French wine industry.

I don’t remember exactly how I discovered Creative Market – oh wait, yes I do. The team has already earned their stamp of approval from Y Combinator’s Paul Graham and raised with the likes of SV Angel and Crunchfund.

But the reason why I love it is not because of the impressive names behind it (because, let’s face it, there are a lot of those), it’s the idea. Essentially, it’s Etsy for digital content – icons, fonts, you name it. Already a huge fan of Etsy, hard not to like the idea behind a digital version. If you sign up for the beta you can earn $5 credit (and more if you invite friends) and the public version should be online later this summer.

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