What’s the San Francisco startup world chattering about right now?
We met with a bunch of investors and entrepreneurs over the past few weeks and grabbed their phones. Here’s what’s on them:
Gametime: We first saw this on an investor’s phone who was looking into a funding deal. Then we saw it an another investor’s phone, HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank. Shank is invested in about 20 startups, including Gametime. Gametime is a quick way to pay for last-minute sports tickets on your phone. There’s no paper printing involved. All tickets become mobile QR codes that can be scanned upon entering the stadium.
Hinge: A lot of single San Franciscans are beginning to ditch Tinder or use it in tandem with another dating app, Hinge. Hinge is a New York-based startup that brings together friends of friends. Like Tinder, it’s tied to your location and it also matches you up with people who went to the same college, if that’s of interest. One San Franciscan who is using both Tinder and Hinge says he’s matched up with the same people on both networks, so there seems to be cross pollination. One suitor even told him, “You’re so much nicer on Hinge!” because he was more responsive to messages on the new platform, rather than Tinder’s subtle notifications.
BloomThat: BloomThat is like Uber for flowers. Pick a bouquet, put in the recipient’s address and boom, flowers will be delivered within the hour. It’s only available in San Francisco right now. Before you roll your eyes at the next “Uber for X” startup, here’s why investors say they are excited about it:
The average person sends two to three bouquets of flowers per year. Apparently, BloomThat has been able to drastically increase that number to about 11 times per year. Its annual revenue run rate is already in the multiple millions too.
Investors get excited about on-demand markets that grow the size of the user pie, not just chip away at it. In other words, before Uber, a very small amount of people used black car services. Now average people hail a ride on Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, or another competitor, so it’s increased the amount of customers available to the car service industry. Early data shows BloomThat is positioned to turn non-flower buyers into regular customers too.
Pay By Phone: San Franciscans can avoid parking tickets by downloading PayByPhone, which allows them to pay parking meters remotely, straight from their mobile devices.
Reserve: Garrett Camp’s latest app, Reserve, is getting ready to launch with a bunch of funding. It’s still in stealth mode, but it will be Open Table meets Yelp, with a forced rating feature like Uber has. You’ll have to rate every place you eat before you can reserve a new restaurant outing.
Reserve is run by True[X] CEO Joe Marchese and it will be an Expa company. Camp co-founded Uber and is running Expa, a startup incubator that’s rumoured to have raised about $US50 million. Each startup it launches will be seeded by Expa and raise its own funding as well.
TD4W: It took SV Angel associate Abram Dawson and his app developer buddy Matt Baker 45 minutes to create the “stupidest thing they could think of,” Turn Down For What. Shortened to “TD4W,” the app doesn’t require the user to take any action. Upon opening the app, the hook for Lil Jon and DJ Snake’s hit song “Turn Down for What” begins playing. That’s all the app does. It has about 1,000 installs and it’s been live for four days.
Justin Shaffer and Aaron Sittig’s new startup: Justin Shaeffer, founder of a Facebook-acquired location startup HotPotato, left Zuckerberg’s company last year. He hasn’t announced what’s next, but whatever it is, he’s working on it with early Facebook designer Aaron Sittig. It may be a Garrett Camp-like Expa model, where the pair create a bunch of new startups at once.
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