10 Startups That Actually Make Life Better

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Photo: Thomas Purves via Flickr

Tis the season of giving thanks, and there are a few startups we’d like to tip our hats to.They’ve saved us from being caught in the rain without a ride, from starving when we were lazy, and from getting lost on the subway.

Hopstop keeps you from ever being lost on the subway

What it is: Plug in your starting and ending locations, select which form of transportation you'd like to talk (walking, subway, bus, taxi) and get step by step directions as well as travel time.

Why we love it: When you're new to a city, it's hard to master the subway system. Hopstop makes you look like a pro. It is the only I find half of my of office meetings. Plus the app is free.

ZocDoc finds you a doctor the moment you need one

What it is: A way to find a local doctor the moment you need one.

Why we love it: When you're sick, the last thing you want to do is call up a doctor's office, get put on hold, then find out there's no opening. ZocDoc lists local physicians and lets you book appointments on its system for free.

Seamless delivers food to you when you're hungry and lazy

What it is: Local food ordering and delivery site

What we love it: For those days when you work late, or it's raining and you have no food in the house, or you're too lazy to cook, Seamless comes to the rescue. Unfortunately for the rest of the country, the service is only seamless in New York, although it's aggressively ramping up in a bunch of other cities.

You could argue that Seamless isn't really a startup since it was founded in 1999. But it was acquired in the mid-2000s and was recently spun out into its own entity so it's sort of like a startup all over again. It's experiencing a growth spurt, it just re-branded itself, it has been acquiring companies like MenuPages, and it is hiring like crazy.

LegalZoom makes it incredibly easy to file government-related paperwork without a lawyer

What it is: A dumbed down, lawyer-free way to file government paperwork online. It covers everything from from trademark filings to divorces.

Why we love it: I used LegalZoom to file my third trademark (I currently own Syracutie, I'm in the process of getting Americutie, and I want to get Connecticutie). I filed the first two on the USPTO site; it was a nightmare. It took forever to get through the legal jargon and I had a family lawyer watching over the process to make sure I didn't mess up.

For Connecticutie, I used LegalZoom. It took me all of five minutes to file the paperwork and there weren't any question that stumped me. Everything was written in plain English. The next day I received a call from a LegalZoom rep who confirmed the paperwork had been filed. The process was a breeze and it was actually delightful to use.

Spotify lets you listen to almost any music your little heart desires for free

What it is: Music site that lets you listen to millions of songs for free or millions of songs commercial-free and on the go for $10 per month.

Why we love it: favourite songs change all the time. I'd rather rent music than buy it, and Spotify lets you listen to what ever you want, whenever you want, and see what your friends are listening to. Spotify is better than Pandora, which guesses what you'll like.

Adium combines all of your buddy lists (Gchat, Facebook Chat, AIM, iChat) into one

What it is: An ultimate chat list. It combines all messaging services from AIM to Gchat into one list that you can IM anyone from.

Why we love it: We can talk to our friends and our colleagues without signing in to multiple accounts. The only downer is you can't tell which service you're IMing someone from.

Uber gives you a ride when no one else will

What it is: Car service that picks you up on the fly; it charges your credit card for the ride and tip so no cash is exchanged.

Why we love it: When I traveled to San Francisco, I didn't rent a car and cabs were unreliable. If it hadn't been for Uber, I would have been late to every meeting.

Uber has also picked me up on a few late nights in Manhattan. Plus, I am notorious for never having cash on me, so I love that Uber keeps credit cards on file. I never have to worry about paying on the spot.

It's a safe, convenient and reliable way to travel, although it's more costly than a cab.

FreshDirect delivers groceries to your door when you're unable to shop

What it is: Online grocery store that delivers to your door

Why we love it: When I lived in Manhattan I didn't have a car. There was no way to pick up bundles of groceries without breaking my arms. For bulk buys, I used Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct has a large selection plus ready made meals you can order and have delivered at whenever time is convenient.

Business Insider has been ordering snacks from Fresh Direct since we were founded in a loading dock in 2007, so it's great for corporate use too.

ZipCar gets you a ride out of town whenever you need one

What it is: Instant rent-a-car service that delivers the vehicle to your door

Why we love it: Again, having no car in a place like New York can be problematic. On weekends when you need to flee the city a ZipCar comes in handy. It is often cheaper than other modes of transportation too.

Evernote helps you remember everything and it's accessible from everywhere

What it is: A 'Things To Remember' list that can be accessed from anywhere

Why we love it: You can save everything from pictures to notes to memories in one place and pull up the items from any computer or mobile device. Evernote comes in handy for things like grocery lists and conversation notes.

Now check out the most brilliant startups being created right now:

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