A lot of hot new startups launched this year.
Looking ahead into 2014, Business Insider has identified some of the most promising startups to make a dent in the ecosystem.
Some of these startups are tackling the sharing economy, while others are trying to change the face of payments.
While we prefer the design of Nest, Birdi seems to be making some serious headway in the smart smoke and air quality detector market.
Similar to the Nest Protect, Birdi also detects carbon monoxide and will alert you and emergency response services through its smartphone app. Birdi also measures various other elements of the air in your home so you can monitor the quality of gas you might be breathing, pollen count, and fires.
So far, Birdi has raised $US25,473 of its $US50,000 IndieGogo campaign.
Inside.com is serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis' next act. It's still in stealth mode, but 'it's going to be really cool,' according to its Twitter page.
As of late November, Inside.com completed a beta with 15 users, and aimed to expand to 100 users this month.
'All I'll say is, you can imagine how awesome it would be to go to, like, Inside.com/architecture or Inside.com/aviation and get information about those topics'' Calacanis previously told BizJournals. 'So it will be topical and it's a pretty definitive URL in the About.com sense, but it won't be About.com.'
Ambro, a new food startup based in Finland, is launching a product for busy, ambitious people who care about their health.
Ambro is a liquid-based organic meal, which fulfils daily nutrition requirements that you can prepare in two minutes.
So far, Ambro is serving 120 paying customers in Europe and North America. It expects to start delivering its product in February 2014.
Lucas Duplan started mobile payments startup Clinkle while studying computer science at Stanford.
Last year, Clinkle raised a $US25 million seed round -- the largest in Silicon Valley history.
When he was 19, he started gathering up a group of Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to work on the company. Some have since taken leaves of absence, but Duplan was able to graduate a year early so he could work on Clinkle full-time.
But 2013 didn't come without its downs. Toward the end of the year, Clinkle laid off about a quarter of its staff.
Ridesharing app Lyft is quickly growing to become a mainstay in the hands of economically conscious city dwellers.
Lyft also recently decided to ditch its donation-based model in California to set payments determined by the company. The ridesharing service initially operated on donations because it wasn't legal to charge for ridesharing in California. But as of September, the California Public Utilities Commission legalized ridesharing, allowing Lyft to make the switch.
It has also since expanded its service into the San Francisco East Bay Area, from Oakland to Castro Valley, and some of the suburbs of Los Angeles, Calif., like Pasadena and Malibu.
Oscar, a New York health care startup, is trying to revolutionise health insurance. Joshua Kushner, its CEO, quietly hired 25 employees (including computer scientist Mario Schlosser) and raised $US40 million to launch Oscar.
Oscar will be a full-blown insurance company to rival popular entities like Aetna and UnitedHeath. This fall, Oscar will start enrolling New Yorkers who are seeking insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Oscar is set to officially launch in January 2014.
Spun out of Y Combinator and backed by the former head of Google Wallet, Coin wants to offer a solution that consolidates all of our credit cards, debit cards, loyalty rewards, and other cards.
Coin hasn't launched just yet, but it already seems to have a few problems to address before it can convince the masses to jump on board. For one, Coin won't work if your phone runs out of battery. The current version of Coin locks up if it's away from your smartphone for more than 10 minutes, or if your phone dies.
It may also have a hard time convincing retailers to accept the card.
Level Money has become a useful tool for simply managing your budget. The app automatically updates you as to how much cash you have left on hand after a purchase. It's also dead simple to see how much money you have left to spend this month, today, and this week.
Co-founded by Visa's former manager of global emerging products, Level Money has already raised a $US5 million Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins, with participation from former Citigroup executive Sandy Weill.
Whisper, an app for anonymously sharing secrets, has been a hit since day one. From the moment it launched, people were using the app eight to 10 times a day, and using it for more than 25 minutes on average.
Today, Whisper is approaching 3 billion monthly pageviews and has raised $US25 million from early Snapchat investor Lightspeed and others.
Distractify is another one of those viral story sites a la BuzzFeed and Upworthy.
After launching just last month, Distractify says it reached 21 million monthly unique visitors worldwide in November, according to its data from Google Analytics.
Some of the most shared Distractify content includes The 29 Whitest Family Photos of All Time, 26 Black People Not Amused By White People, and Advertisers Should Just Quit. Nothing Will Ever Top This Volvo Commercial.
Distractify aims for a mix of original content and repackaged content meant to go viral. Down the road, Hu says he wants to hire creatives, expand production, and get into native advertising.
Every month, the Assembly community picks an amazing idea for an app. It's kind of like a VC firm, but the capital is used to accelerate app growth.
Assembly lets in anyone with a good idea for a mobile app or Web app. The community upvotes the ones that are most promising and then green lights the project. Anyone in the world can work on the app and contribute to it. Every month, when revenue comes in, it pays the bills and then split the money among everyone who worked on it.
Assembly is one of the most exciting products in a long time, one VC tells Business Insider.
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