This article was originally published on Information Age.
A key tech trend that has emerged over the last few years is the number of startups that are creating tools specifically aimed at fellow startups. Until fairly recently many startups would simply use applications from the big tech companies.
Now, however, we’re seeing a rise in startups for startups — companies inspired by the challenges they themselves faced, transforming the solutions they designed or happened upon – into solutions for other startups. A niche within startups, for startups, delivering effective bespoke tools that make SME owners’ — and their teams’ — lives easier.
Some founders, and professionals, turned the solutions to problems they themselves faced, into separate startups, realising the answer to prolific problems faced by entrepreneurs, was an entrepreneurial opportunity in itself.
Despite sounding like the epitome of the perhaps naval-gazing tech world, it makes sense that the best solutions for entrepreneurs are designed by other entrepreneurs, and where innovation removes the obstacles to accelerate others’ innovations, it’s exciting to stumble across some golden gems in the startup to startup sector of the tech world.
True disruption elicits a radical shift in both behaviour and output. Nowadays, every AI and blockchain startup is associated with “disruption”. And if you break that down to the “before” and “after” experience, you can isolate what really is a game changer, or a fad. True innovation takes place when the user can’t imagine what they would do without the new way of doing things. It is so transformative that reverting to the previous routine would simply be unimaginable.
It makes sense that the true innovators find a completely new approach straight out of the starting blocks. Here is our collection of some of the most innovative – from a company that simplifies digital marketing through to an AI bot that makes meeting scheduling a cinch.
Simplifying meeting scheduling – Evie
Evie is designed to come to the rescue of startup owners and execs who are struggling to keep up with their scheduling. It’s an AI-powered tool from a Singaporean company that creates meetings for the user on the fly simply by analysing the words in their emails. The user CCs Evie into the email dialogue and the bot uses natural language processing to extract the key information and automatically schedule meetings. Evie also follow ups unresponsive invitees, sends meeting reminders and delivers a daily digest of events.
Empowering growth – Aiden.AI
Aiden.ai’s solution for SMEs has been created to address the most common issue that companies face today with growth marketing – time wasted through analysing multiple platforms. By integrating with the largest ad networks like Facebook, Google Ads, Twitter, Instagram and aggregating all the campaign editing functions, Aiden frees up marketers’ time to apply their expertise in driving user acquisition, on-boarding more accounts and securing more revenue. For marketers supporting more than one company, like execs in agencies, Aiden also helps to balance and maintain workload per client.
Personalising email content – Datasine
Datasine is a London-based startup which combines expertise in psychology and machine learning to help businesses personalise their communications at scale. Its key product is a personality-driven marketing platform Connect, which enables businesses to tailor content to resonate with their oftentimes very specific audiences. Its machine learning system analyses behavioural data which then powers an AI-driven content editing platform so that words, images and videos are match the psychological profiles of the users or segment. So far the company has optimised its tool to work with marketing tools like Mailchimp and Hubspot. Definitely a company to watch.
Validating plans and strategy – Attest
Attest is a tool that was created to enable startups, and indeed enterprises, to get to know their audience a whole lot better. It is an online Consumer Growth Platform, where business can ask market research questions to audiences of over 100 million people across 80 markets. For startups it’s especially useful for researching new markets, validating decisions and ultimately developing better products. The London based company recently announced a $16m Series-A investment round.
Managing the work management tools – Unito
There’s a multitude of excellent online work management tools around (think Trello, Basecamp and Monday.com), which enable business owners to track the progress of their projects. The issue for some SME owners is deciding which one to choose when their staff are comfortable with different platforms. Canadian startup Unito has come up with the answer – its technology syncs the various tools letting the teams collaborate seamlessly, regardless of what they are using.
Simplifying finance and accounts – Freeagent
One of the best known Scottish startups Freeagent offers small businesses a way of keeping on top of their accounts via an intuitive and seamless online platform and app. Its suite of tools generates invoices, tracks expenses, monitors cash flow and even makes tax predictions.
Perfecting the business plan – Bizplan
A great resource for early stage startups and growing SMEs is the US site startups.com. Among the many tools it offers is Bizplan, a clever online way of creating a bulletproof business plan that, if appropriate, can also be used to attract investors. Among its features are a drag and drop creator for coming up with professional looking presentations and prospectuses, and a financial command centre that serves as a hub for key business financials.