For something new, we are going to start featuring new startups weekly to show the weird and wonderful side of the tech community, entrepreneurship, and the future of business. There are startups for basically any product or service you can imagine. There is an IoT plant watering device, there are IoT latrines and toilets. There are so many plays for IoT toasters that if they weaponize we will soon be ruled by robot overlords with toasters for heads. Obviously, this list is nonexhaustive, there are certainly amazing, and wacky, startups that fly under our radar. So without further ado, here are the startups for this week.
Blockchain, but not that blockchain
A bitcoin startup [blockchain] raised $40 million in series b. For those of you not familiar with startups, that's a pretty big deal. Richard Branson got down on it. Google ventures was involved. It was a good time. To further rub salt on the wound of other bitcoin startups, not only have they named their company after a term associated with furious google searches - here is a link to the definition of blockchains - but now thought leaders everywhere who have written about blockchain are frantically altering their content marketing strategy so they don't accidently promote Blockchain. Nefarious indeed. This is a novel, but slightly bullish take on disruptive growth hacking. Oh, what Blockchain does, oops. Blockchain will be a cryptocurrency wallet provider, similar to coinbase, but different. We will see how this plays out.
Everyone knows vegetarians, and vegans, but everyone knows that *one* vegan who makes it a point of contention. That's not about being vegan, that's about being difficult and the center of attention. Sgaia foods out of Scotland aims to take all the difficulty out of eating vegan. They're doing well, opening up shop in New Zealand, and hopefully we'll be seeing them stateside soon, too. For people who love great tasting food, remaining true to their principles, and healthy options to meat, you can't get much better. We salute you plant meat creators.
A slightly less palatable startup is working on creating a new alternative to current medical practices. No we're not able to regrow limbs, yet. We've all heard about 3D printing organs (also not quite there, even livers), but what about biocompatible capsules (say that ten times fast) that can treat "a variety of serious hematologic, enzyme deficiency, and endocrine disorders"? Sigilon Therapeutics aims to create effective, implantable cells that secrete live saving proteins into a patient's body. Sounds kinda creepy. Secretion is always a great word to drop at a fancy dinner party. Another point to Sigilon, these implants are marketed to not scar the patient. These implants deliver these proteins in controlled releases, over extended periods of time. This could result in dramatically cheaper healthcare options, prevention symptoms from life altering illness, as well as tissue that will avoid the effects of a body's rejection to foreign tissue.
VR is hot right now, so hot right now. Oculus rift, HTC Vive, PS VR, XBOX VR (Also oculus rift), everyone has some sort of VR play and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Surrounded by a sea of steep, steep competition, how can anyone hope to stand out? By being 17 times better than the competition, obviously. Helsinki-based startup Varjo claims the screen resolution of their product is 17 times better than the existing competition, which is a pretty big different. I wonder what it looks like to the average consumer? Will they be able to notice each magnitude of difference? Or will only a magnitude of say, 3, matter? 20/20, as it is called, is purported to use eye-tracking software. The biggest problem consumers have with VR is the screen resolution. And sometimes they're a little clunky, and sometimes people get carried away and crash into furniture and expensive vases your mother-in-law gave you. Regardless. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out - a boost to screen resolution could be just what the industry needs to pull up the bottom line.
So there you have it. 4 Startups that are diligently working to carve out a chunk of the world for themselves. Whether they make a larger impact or not remains to be seen, but with anything from advanced VR capabilities to solving world hunger with plant parts, the future looks pretty bright. Technology will continue to revolutionize the way we interact with our world.