My Top 5 Startups for 2013 – Charmaine Li, VentureVillage editorial intern

chemistry beakers
chemistry beakers

Here Charmaine, our editorial intern, explains why she’ll be keeping an eye on these five startups in 2013…

CharmaineChemistry used to be one my favourite subjects in high school (embarrassing, I know), which is why I sometimes think of startups as chemistry experiments where the materials are the different branches of strategy (finance, marketing, recruitment, etc) and the result is the product/service.

For me, the most interesting part is the method, or the way in which companies carefully combine these materials to provide a desired result in their venture. While there’s no theme or trend underlying my choices, I was particularly drawn to these startups for their interesting mix of tech and design.

Dreamboard

Dreamboard

The one-line pitch
“Like Google Analytics, but for your dreams” 

The story
Dreamboard is a tool designed by psychology experts to help record and analyse dreams so you can gain insight on the workings of your inner world. Not only does the app allow you to jot down dreams quickly, it also offers an array of options, like moods, emotions and colours, so you can depict your dreams accurately.

Why I’m backing it
A) The Dreamboard dashboard = aesthetically pleasing + highly entertaining B) Every time I try to finish Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections I get (re)inspired to keep a dream journal but every time I wake up with most of my dream intact, I’m waaay too groggy to turn on the light and write them down. With Dreamboard, I only need to remember to place my phone within arm’s reach before going to bed and I’m set.

Venio

Venio

The one-line pitch
“Healthy eating made simple”

The story
The Toronto-based startup, founded by Jonathan Carr-Harris and Nima Gardideh, launched Venio to make healthy meal planning easy and enjoyable. Create a profile, input your dietary preferences and the mobile app generates a personalised meal plan to help you achieve health goals.

Why I’m backing it
Because snacking on carrots and Zwieback can get boring. And I really like the sounds of these meal suggestions: whole wheat apple pancakes (breakfast), mashed potato cakes with onions and kale (lunch), sweet potato hummus (snack) and baked eggplant parmesan over spinach spaghetti (dinner). Yuuum.

Somewhere

The one-line pitch
“Recruitment – it’s not about the CV, it’s about cultural fit”

Somewhere

The story
Somewhere, founded by Justin McMurray, is a Berlin-based startup aiming to redesign the recruitment process by providing a platform that allows people to connect with companies in a more personal and meaningful way. Instead of standard CVs and banal questions, Somewhere acknowledges important factors, like values, personality and work-style, that are needed for a truly successful match.

Why I’m backing it
Because Monday mornings are infinitely easier when you’ve found a place where the people are inspiring, work is engaging and environment is stimulating.

Holvi

Holvi

The one-line pitch
“Banking for the modern world” 

The story
Finnish startup Holvi is taking a new approach to traditional banking by offering an online platform that  allows for bookkeeping as well as money management within groups. Users can link multiple accounts to their profile, make payments, collect funds and share their account with teams.

Why I’m backing it
Most online banking interfaces are confusing, complicated and downright ugly. If Holvi’s charming web experience is any indication of the platform’s user experience then I’m willing to bet that the company will bring a breath of fresh air to the banking space.

OpenBrand

OpenBrand

The one-line pitch
“GoogleDocs for designers and agencies”

The story
OpenBrand, a UK-based startup, offers a cloud-based platform that makes it simple for designers, agencies and clients to collaborate on creative materials, like logos, ads and business cards. The tool helps to organise and structure creative content so that users can exchange information easily and manage brand assets effectively.

Why I’m backing it
Having briefly worked in the account services department of an ad agency, I understand the frustration that comes with having to repeatedly answer the same technical questions about creative files from clients and affiliated partners. OpenBrand sounds like it has the potential to help agencies and designers spend less time on mundane tasks and more time on creating.

What do you think? What are your Tips for the Top 2013? Let us know in the comments section below…

For related posts, check out:

My Top 5 Startups for 2013 – Linsey Fryatt, VentureVillage Managing Editor