13 or so startups to watch

A great list of rising startups from Mashable, highlighted for the creative ‘geekfest’ that is SXSWi 2014; I’ve just numbered them for you so you can more easily spot the one you want to follow. For me its #11, based in London, its YPlan.

  1. Mulu, a company that currently offers ad plugins that allow products to be bought directly on a webpage. Mulu was started in 2011 and is led by CEO and founder Amaryllis Fox.
  2. Dapper looks to simplify men’s fashion in much the same way as Cool Guy by creating shoppable outfits for various occasions. Dapper launched on Feb. 24, making it among the youngest apps in attendance.
  3. Of course it’s not just about making the sale. Customers must be retained if a business is to survive. Windsor Circle, founded in 2011 and based in Durham, N.C., was started to track sales, analyze data and execute retention strategies to make one-time buyers into loyal customers.
  4. Enter Kiwi Wearables, a Canadian startup that is taking preorders for its first product. Kiwi Move is a small, nondescript wearable that attempts to link together just about anything in your life. The company, which was founded in mid-2013, claims its wearable will be able to understand gestures and track your activity level and even control voice-operated appliances.
  5. Wearables also offer a unique opportunity to do away with the dreaded password. Bionym‘s wearable bracelet uses your heartbeat to determine your identity. The company believes it does not need to stop at passwords, and could even do away with keys and even credit cards.
  6. Bionym was started in 2011 and joins a burgeoning field of biometric security startups like FST21and Microlatch.
  7. Active Protect has developed clothing that can detect falls and deploy small airbags to protect the hip bone, an area that is particularly susceptible to injury for older people.
  8. Kinsa is going after the other end of the age spectrum with a thermometer that plugs into smartphones to help parents track the health of their children.
  9. Start-ups from around the world will be at SXSWi in unprecedented numbers. Companies from 74 countries will take part in the festivities, up from 57 in 2013. Denmark is represented by The Eye Tribe, which seeks to bring affordable eye tracking to smartphones and tablets.
  10. AddSearch, from Finland, stays true to its name, adding a fast, effective search option to websites.
  11. YPlan was formed in the busy nightlife scene of London. It wants to help you find local events and pay for tickets in as few taps as possible.
  12. Eyeris is an emotion recognition company that can look back on webcams and read facial expressions to determine how a person reacted to a video.
  13. Large companies have been taking notice of the appeal in eye-controlled software. Facebook bought a similar company, GazeHawk, in 2012.

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Books on startups and startup methodology

Thanks to Michael Ugor, a few ideas on startup books to buy:

“Life is too short to read bad books” – There are many crappy books out there that claim to tell you “the secrets of running a successful  startup”  I got personally fooled by some of the self-proclaimed expert authors and catchy titles in past.
 
Since then I became extremely picky about what I chose to read. To find the books, I’ve spent days scouring sites like Quora for recommendations from top tech entrepreneurs and investors as well as personal blogs of entrepreneurs like Marc Andreessen to find out what what he reads and recommends the most.
 
And we’ve collated the list of some of the top books you simply have to read if you are into startups and care about your education and skills.
 
1. The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve BlankThe essential book for anyone bringing a product to market, writing a business plan, marketing plan or sales plan. Step-by-step strategy of how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development for a new product or company.

 

2. Rework by Jason FriedRework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think.

 

3. Lean Startup by Eric RiesMost startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

 

4. The Art of the Start by Guy KawasakiGuy Kawasaki explains how to transform ideas into action, offering a step-by-step approach to launching great products, services, and companies and demonstrating how managers can unleash a creative approach to business at established companies.

 

5. Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age by Paul GrahamPaul Graham on importance of beauty in software design, how to make wealth, heresy and free speech, the programming language renaissance, the open-source movement, digital design, internet startups, and more.

 

6. Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy by Carl Shapiro and Hal VarianDurable economic principles can guide you in today’s frenetic business environment. Technology changes. Economic laws do not.

 

7. Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld and David CohenCollection of advice that comes from individuals who have passed through, or are part of, Techstars accelerator.

 

8. The Thank You Economy by Gary VaynerchukWe are living in the ‘Thank You Economy’ thanks to social media and other forms of instant communication. This book is about building loyalty, trust, and repeatable business.

 

9. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clay ChristensenDisruptive vs. Sustaining Technologies. Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School describes a theory about how large, outstanding firms can fail “by doing everything right.”

 

10. The Entrepreneurial Guide to Customer Development by Brant Cooper and Patrick VlaskovitsCustomer Development is a four-step framework for helping startups discover and validate their customers, product, and go-to-market strategy, developed by Steve Blank and an integral part of Eric Ries’ Lean Startup methodology.

 

11. Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld and Jason MendelsonAn engaging guide to excelling in today’s venture capital arena by managing directors at Foundry Group.

 

12. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy KomisarIf you can’t see yourself doing this business for the rest of your life, don’t start it. In other words, angel investor Randy Komisar wants to see passion and purpose in business, not just spreadsheets and a by-the-numbers business model.

 

13. Delivering Happiness by Tony HsiehCEO of Zappos explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers.

 
 

And just for fun I’ve embedded below a slideshare on the top 10 mistakes entrepreneurs make. The only #thinslicing point I’d make is to make point #10 into #1 – getting feedback from customers in response to a prototype/MVP: