1. Call Trunk
You're on the phone (often to a premium-rate number) to a service provider, signing up for a new contract or complaining about something etc. You'll have been warned, prior to the conversation starting, that your call will be monitored for "training purposes" or something similar. If you've ever been on the receiving end of poor customer service, been promised something you've not received and so on, there's now a startup for that.
Call Trunk's mission is "to make the spoken word accountable and verifiable". For a monthy fee (or on a PAYG plan), they'll record your outgoing (no incoming capability yet) calls via the free Call Trunk smartphone app (or their web app), decrypt and then store them securely online – for as long as your account has credit.
Call Trunk are solving a niche problem, but one that seems to exist (check their infographic about "people who lie" if you're unconvinced). It'll be interesting to see how they scale in the UK (the prices seem quite high), but if what they're offering sounds useful, Call Trunk's services are free to UK users until January 1st 2012.
Any startup that produces a rap to market themselves (and ask for funding) is guaranteed to get noticed. And if said startup also writes custom raps for most of the big Angels in Silicon Valley, they're guaranteed to get people talking about them.
That's exactly what Undrip did two weeks ago when they uploaded their 2.28m hip-hop masterpiece to YouTube. And two weeks later, a venture fund uploaded their response saying they were interested in funding the 4 man startup. Doing things differently can work out!
Undrip are currently in closed testing, but are advertising a product which apparently reduces information overload/ fatigue from content shared on your social networks. It's a big task taking on the likes of Flipboard, but if their product is anywhere near as good as their rapping skills there's definitely promise. One to watch!
3. Slideshare & Cardmunch
Both of these companies have one thing in common (apart from being pretty useful); they exist in their current forms because of LinkedIn.
Cardmunch solve that ever frustrating problem of not having your library of business cards easily accessible on your smartphone or computer. The Cardmuch technology photographs a business card, the photo is then uploaded to their servers and transcribed by Amazon's Mechanical Turk before being pushed back to your phone as an electronic contact. LinkedIn bought the company at the start of 2011 and relaunched the app a fortnight ago with the added functionality of connecting a new business card to the person's profile on LI. Pretty neat!
Slideshare launched their content marketing service for professionals on LI back in 2008. Today, they're on the receiving end of 60million unique pageviews and 3billion slide views a month. You can follow their impressive road to success via their new infographic here. As the popularity of content marketing continues to grow, you can guarantee Slideshare will be at the forefront.
Social has changed the web. The internet is slowly moving towards everyone being interconnected, able to share experiences with whoever they want to. We've got social networks tying everyone together, social search joining up the dots and now we've got social commerce in the form of Germany's Sellaround.
Imagine you've got an shareable, embeddable, social e-commerce widget that contains a product you're trying to sell. It operates in Facebook's newsfeed, in the Twitter stream, on blogs and so on. And it's mobile by default. That's exactly what Sellaround allows you to do!
There are loads of potential applications for Sellaround's widget. We're pretty sure you'll be seeing it in your social circles soon.
With the explosion of social media over the past few years, it's become progressively harder to organise and present content in a logical, clean and user-friendly way. Luckily, Storify are doing their best to make recording events recorded with social media accessible.
Storify curates social media content into streams or 'stories' – and there are many examples of why Storify's concept is so useful. The journalist Mona Eltahawy was recently arrested and tortured in Egypt, a lot of which was played out over Twitter as the world discovered what was going on. Her story has been Storified; as has the part Twitter had to play in her subsequent release. Yesterday's social media coverage of the public sector strikes has also been Storified.
The rise of social media has led to the need for a concise way of documenting the often important content that's posted online. Storify covers that need wonderfully!