In the smartphone era, there are opportunities to make our everyday lives smarter in multiple ways, and highly skilled entrepreneurs are hard at work figuring out how to do just that.
A prime example is Randy Adams, a serial entrepreneur and founder of seven venture-backed technology companies, with a track record that includes the invention of the PDF at Adobe; the establishment of the first e-commerce web site (the Internet Shopping Network); and the creation of the first PC desktop publishing app, Personal Publisher.
Getaround, the peer-to-peer car-sharing service, announced a bunch of news today, including a new way for car owners to rent their cars out for an extended period of time, such as when they are backpacking overseas or on a military deployment.
As part this new longer-term sharing program, which is called Getaway, the company has also released a feature called Instant Rental that allows people to get access to a shared car instantly through its in-car technology known as the Getaround Carkit.
Finally, the startup has raised a substantial Series A round of funding from an impressive group of investors, including Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s new CEO, as well as the venture firm of Google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt.
Consider the modest PDF, for almost two decades now the de facto standard digital document format first described by Adobe co-founder John Warnock as the “Camelot” system – a file format independent of specific software, hardware, and operating systems in the early '90s.
These days, probably the main way most of us are reminded how often we use PDFs is that annoying red icon of the Adobe Reader Updater that pops up almost constantly on our computer screens.
Whenever Google launches a new product or a major upgrade to its search results page, the first news of that change often comes in the form of a post to the company’s official blog.
Meanwhile, when the company gets it right, most users don’t even notice that the change was made.
That seemed to be the case back in May, when the company announced the release of its Knowledge Graph, an enhancement to its basic search results.
Over the past twenty months, I’ve been meeting with entrepreneurs throughout the Bay Area, trying to get a handle on the fast-moving technology boom that is sweeping through our communities.
In the process, I’ve profiled hundreds of startups and the people behind them.
Say you've just landed at JFK to start your visit to New York, and now you’ve got to find your way into Manhattan. What’s the best, and/or cheapest way to get to the part of town you need to reach? Besides taxis, which will run you (with tip) the better part of three Jacksons, there are actually over 50 different options, from limos, to shuttles to buses.
But how can you find out about all of these services, evaluate them and choose the right one for your needs and budget?
Meet Mozio, which is a “point-to-point multi-modal travel search engine.”
The technology-driven entrepreneurial boom headquartered in San Francisco is now extending well beyond bootstrapped startups and hot IPOs to disruptive efforts by established firms in many fields.
A perfect example is the “innovation studio” at MKThink, an architectural think tank with offices in North Beach that in addition to its traditional design work has pioneered data-driven solutions in fields like education.
Jayati Sengupta, the CEO and founder of Flipgigs, a newly launched social marketplace that connects teens with summer jobs, says “it started with a personal problem.
“My 15-year-old daughter wanted to look for a writing gig. Kids today, they’re not interested in just doing errands; they’d like to find jobs that cater more to their talents.”
So Sengupta started asking anyone she could think of for advice.
Jean-Francois “Jeff” Clavier is the Founder and Managing Partner of Palo Alto-based SoftTech VC, one of the most active early stage investors in Web 2.0 startups. He is therefore in a great position to comment on the major trends in the tech boom currently sweeping through the Bay Area and beyond.
“Our hope, when we make investments, is that we can recognize and anticipate the big trends,” Clavier says. “A lot of startups will fail but every now and then we hit the bull's-eye. We try to look closely at the technology platforms that enable consumer behavioral evolution.”
Calling itself “the first on-demand rideshare community,” Sidecar emerged from four months of beta testing last week, having already facilitated 10,000 rides in and around San Francisco.
It's a free smartphone app (available in both iOS and Android) that connects you with nearby drivers when you need a ride. You can choose to make a donation to the driver for that ride if you wish; it’s voluntary.
“During testing, people told us that they love the convenience and the friendliness of Sidecar,” says CEO Sunil Paul. “The reception has been astounding.”
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