Why We Love Beta Apps and Startups
Startups are sexy. The idea of breaking new ground, chasing dreams, and loving what you do is just downright attractive. The best startups are not about competing in established spaces; they’re about addressing problems that have a value to people and building a business with the hopes of defining a new market space.
These are the companies that succeed, not because of their financial backing, but because of their culture, drive, and ruthless dedication to furthering their cause; not because of the monetary incentive (although that’s certainly a perk) but because that is just what they do. Everyday is do or die; every decision is made with calculated optimism.
Altruism is not the only reason we pay attention to startups and entrepreneurial endeavors. There are sensible and more tangible reasons to pay attention to startup culture and trends.
How Startup Lists Can Help Your Business
1. Get “In the Know”
Be on the leading edge of the latest tech trends in your field. If you are an early-adopter, you likely already know that some of these companies are finding revolutionary uses for new and established architectures.
2. Find New Methodologies and Ideas
These companies are designing technology that aims to satisfy a gap in their markets; this is technology that you may have always wanted, needed, or wished you could produce. Sometimes, you had no idea that the problem, market, or solution existed! The novelty of some startups can expand your mind to help you embrace novel solutions to your own business challenges.
3. Networking With Founders
Establish connections with the brightest minds in your market space. Build your network, make referrals, and create a reciprocal relationship with companies that you can get to know at a personal and business level.
4. Find Alternative Products
Trade services or bundle with similar, complimentary products. While above it’s mentioned that the best startups are carving out their own space, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be overlap. If you are also an entrepreneur or pioneering business owner, you may be able to work towards a partnership, acquisition, or bundle with a potentially lucrative new product.
Where to Discover Startups and Betas
1. Product Hunt
Product Hunt is an excellent resource for finding user-submitted links to products that are already available to download or use. While a majority of submissions are web-based or software related, there are also high-tech products, innovative food solutions, and much more to be seen. Product Hunt only accepts submissions through a small group of contributors at this time so it only function as a research platform for most users.
This is great for finding curated solutions that are production-ready, but there is huge number of startups and fledgling companies that have viable products but not the marketing or reach of these finished solutions. As a discovery engine, Product Hunt will keep you on the forefront of major tech trends, but you may miss software and solutions that don’t have the pull yet to garner the contributors’ attention. Regardless, as a quick resource for newly released products, Product Hunt is a good addition to your daily feeds.
BetaList is a complete 180-degree flip from Product Hunt. Focusing only on pre-launch companies and solutions, you won’t find any live products here. If you are looking for products that span a variety of spaces, BetaList has plenty. Browse by trending markets, region, and category to see a list of solutions that are currently in beta. Many of these startups allow for early access when you tweet about their product or sign up for mailing lists.
You can also get access to interviews with founders and employees of pre-launch and launched startups in their “Interviews” section. With more filtering options and more functionality than Product Hunt, BetaList is a solid startup discovery engine that prides itself on quality control and consistency.
StartupLi.st is a simple, feed-style listing of established, public, public beta, and private beta startups. Not limited to any particularly rigid groupings, you can find products, blogs, apps, and more all within the same feed. Without much sorting capabilities, it is a bit difficult to find specific types of startups, though the search functionality is fairly effective.
Create a profile and just click “signup” next to any startup that interests you to receive communications from that startup (drip campaigns, release notes, surveys, etc). Alternatively, StartupLi.st shows that startups various connected accounts and feeds so that you can easily click to follow your newly discovered resource, app, or business.
Moblized is a commerce solutions marketplace. As such, we are looking for those startups that bridge the gaps in B2B and B2C operations, marketing, sales, and communication. Our BetaFeed aims to bring the best new software and solutions to our users with the same attention to quality, integrations, and usability that we use to choose our marketplace vendors.
We focus on accessible SaaS business that integrates with current systems, solutions, and platforms but also extends to those products that are redefining the online commerce space. We verify every startup and beta that is submitted to ensure that you have the best chance of discovering a viable solution for your business.
The BetaFeed specializes in listing only commerce startups. As a business owner and entrepreneur in the commerce space, you need software that caters to your business needs. We provide categorization beyond simple search that integrates into our backend to provide the most appropriate startups and betas.
Subscribe to our BetaFeed to receive the most relevant startups and betas directly to your inbox. Choose your frequency, business category, and further refine your settings to receive only information on software that can help your business.
Do you have a product you’d like to list in our BetaFeed? Get Listed!
While Gust is primarily a connector between individual and group investors with startups, they have sizable listing of startups that are currently seeking funding. One thing that sets them apart is the quality of their listings. Since this is a feeder for investment groups, contact information is up-to-date, accurate, and descriptive. If you are looking to make connections with other, like-minded entrepreneurs or startups, this is an excellent resource.
Listings span a wide array of industries, with filtering options by location, industry, and a search box for specific queries. One limitation is the inability to search by stage of development. Some companies are “Product Ready” while others are listed at various stages of funding. Once you do find an interesting company, the profile is far more impressive and useful than the search.
Companies will typically have a video profile from either a conference or presentation, and the overview of employees contains contact info for almost all of the key players. You will also have access to the list standard outbound links and social accounts. As mentioned earlier, their listings cater to investors, thus there is an executive summary, financial plans, and documents which you can request access to. Know however, you will likely have to be an accredited investor in to view this type of information.
Betabound is like the Groupon of beta access and testing. Built and ran by Centercode, a professional beta testing development and management platform, Betabound has the distinct advantage of exclusive access to products that have literally JUST gone into beta through their service in addition to pulling offers and betas from other sites around the web.
You can use the site to either search for companies to apply for beta access, to research tech trends, or for something fun to do in your off time. One practical use case would be to sign up for a beta with incentives that benefit your business. For example, some betas offer free months of service for testing or even the discounted, beta rate for the lifetime of your subscription to the service!
Betabound contains a wide span of interesting betas including iOS and Android Apps, Mac and Windows betas, Video Game Betas, and Backer Reward Betas (like Kickstarter campaigns). One unique feature of this list is the ability to customize your beta testing offers into a personalized listing filtered by product type, audience, access restrictions, timeframe, and the source of the offer. You can either leave it like this (preferences stored in a cookie) or you can create a member account, where you will be emailed between 2 – 5 unique beta testing recruitment opportunities per week.
The GeekWire Startup List is a fairly long directory of startups in the Seattle region. You may be thinking, “I’m not in Washington State “to which I would reply,” Where is the Internet located?” If you answered “everywhere”, then you get where I’m going with this. While some of the startups are markedly “local”, you will find that many entrepreneurial efforts listed are indeed totally online ventures, which are available to anyone.
The look of this list reminds me of the YellowPages, unfortunately making it the least attractive for searching. They do however, have category sorting and the benefit of linking, which includes social profiles and company websites.
One benefit of the GeekWire list is that you are FORCED to see all companies within a category due to the limited search refinements. I say benefit because who knows, you may end up clicking on a gem that, with another site, you would have passed right over. It’s easy to forget that the reason you are likely checking out startups is to find new, innovative solutions. Breaking out of your traditional, filtered search patterns and exploring a little may land you with an unexpected yet awesome solution.
Crowdfunder is another connection and crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs and investors. Specializing in Small Business, Tech Startups, and Social Enterprise, their company listings cross a mixture of various industries. With thousands of listings, Crowdfunder is an excellent way to search for those startups and entrepreneurs that no one has heard of yet. Filtering options include: Category, Location (U.S. & Mex), Industry, and by newest vs most followed. Additionally, you can search via the search box.
One solid feature of Crowdfunder is the ability to create a profile and follow startups. When you follow them, they are bookmarked and saved to your profile so you can go back and view them later.
As stated earlier, this is a crowdfunding platform so expect there to be limitations on what you can and cannot view within profiles. Confidential documents, such as business plan, sales deck, and executive summary will only be available to accredited investors who sign up. As a non-accredited investor (just the basic sign up credentials) you will still have access to the profile features and all of the search functionality.
While not directly a startup discovery site, it functions to deepen and expand your research once you’ve found a startup to drill-down on. CrunchBase is one of those awesome sites you stumble upon during some one-time research and then a few weeks later, after forgetting to bookmark it, you desperately try to Google search your way back to it (personal experience).
They bill themselves as “The Business Graph” and state that they are “the most comprehensive dataset of startup activity” and honestly it couldn’t be more accurate. CrunchBase is an information aggregator that should end up definitively being the 2nd site that you use for researching any of the startups you find. The first resource, of course being any of the startup discovery sites above.
While they have top funding news, rounds, and trending company information, unless you know what company you are looking to research, you will not find much use from their search functionality. There is just too much information available and linked through innumerable keywords and other factors. Think trying to search on Facebook without knowing the name of a person or group; you end up at a Google or Bing search anyway. Assuming you know the company name however, expect to find a trove of company backstory.
While each company’s profile varies, available information can include:
- Founders, Current, and Past Employees
- Funding Rounds, Investors, and Board Members
- Products, Competitors, and News / Press on the Company
They maintain a neutral, wiki-style stance on companies. Allowing editing, updating, and additions from any party willing to register with a verified social account. This allows for unrestricted and more complete profiles but also runs the risk of overstated and inaccurate data. They rely on the community, as well as some internal moderation, to flag questionable updates.
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