The 20 most fascinating iOS apps from TechCrunch Disrupt

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 Bay Area startups make it to final TechCrunch Disrupt battlefield.

A new startup, Rollout.io, launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2015 wants to put mobile app developers back in control of their software by allowing them to make code-level changes on the fly.

Specifically, he said how common it is for startups to pivot (using the example of Zimride becoming Lyft), but music artists are rarely able to recover from a flop. Four of them are from the Bay Area — the maker of a fingernail-painting robot, a pot business software developer, a healthy school lunch subscription service and a small business finance startup. And then, of course, major entrepreneurs like Drew Houston, Nick Woodman, Tim Westergren, and Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth taught us a little something about building products that not only delight but make money. That is, when there are critical bugs or other issues that need to be fixed, the process of actually getting an updated app installed on end users’ devices can take hours or even days, if not longer.

Each will get six minutes to convince judges Wednesday afternoon that they deserve the Disrupt Cup, $50,000 prize and bragging rights that they hope will attract the attention of media and investors. Carter said that artists should understand this is usually a flawed argument, because the only alternative to streaming services are piracy or having someone simply listen to the song on YouTube for free.

Today, we’ll hear from Sam Altman, Ron Johnson, Vinod Khosla and Eric Migicovsky, and then we’ll head into the Disrupt Battlefield Finals, featuring Agrilyst, Green Bits, Leap Financial, Preemadonna, Scrumpt, and Stitch. That’s because of the way mobile applications are distributed – updated versions have to be submitted, then approved by app stores run by Apple and Google, before the new apps are made available. He cautioned artists to be patient, and said that streaming is a numbers game: “once everyone is converted to services like Spotify, the economics will make a lot more sense.” When asked if Silicon Valley would remain the center of the tech world, Carter explained that while the area is filled with intelligent entrepreneurs and innovative companies, the ecosystem eventually needs to open up and expand, or the area will see severe financial repercussions.

While there are ways to expedite critical security fixes, for more minor problems, like crashes that only affect a subset of users, user interface glitches, or other changes a developer wants to make – like adding a new event to track via an analytics provider, for example – developers are still stick waiting out the app submission and approval cycle. But one winner will emerge from the crowd to succeed Alfred, the New York-based errands runner that won last year and went on to raise about $12.5 million, rolling out a version of its service nationwide this past spring. Co-founded by former Intel engineers, Erez Rosovsky and Eyal Keren, the company’s mission is to bridge the gap between developers and their live applications. He gave Stance Socks, one of his portfolio companies, as an example of a huge hit in an industry that isn’t exciting as something like wearables or VR.

Rosovsky says they came up with the idea while working on a different startup at an accelerator in Israel, as they realized this was a universal problem affecting the industry today. “When an application’s crashing, you get bad reviews, users are abandoning you, your App Store ranking starts to plummet, you might be losing sales if you sell something inside the app,” explains Rosovsky. “You’re getting all these emails about the problem, but there’s nothing you can do…you have to release a new version of the app,” he says. Users choose from a wide variety of products to create personalized lunch kits than include a main dish, sides and a treat, along with a napkin and utensils.

Teams will also receive a free booth in the Battlefield section of Startup Alley to network their way to glory, as well as the opportunity to rub elbows with our speakers and judges at our VIP events. Sometimes, developers just want to make minor adjustments – like tweaking the user interface or the app’s flow, change the messaging users see, make an adjustment to something they’re tracking with Google Analytics or Mixpanel, or even just inform users that they’re aware of a particular problem and that a fix is in the works. “We actually change the runtime of the application,” says Rosovsky. “You have method-level access [on iOS]…and let’s say you know a specific method causes a crash,” he explains. “You access that specific method, and in the SDK, we’ve already packaged pre-defined solutions that are generic enough to solve many problems, but are specific enough to solve your problem,” Rosovsky says. The Battlefield has helped give birth to companies like Fitbit, which spiked more than 50 percent in its recent IPO and Zenefits, the HR startup that just raised a $500 million Series C round at a $4.5 billion valuation.

Green Bits: This San Jose company co-founded by Andrew Katz, Trae Robrock and Ben Curren claims to take some of the regulatory worry out of running a legal marijuana business. It provides point-of-sale software for retailers, processors and producers of marijuana and helps them meet the seed-to-sale tracking requirements of each government agency they fall under the scrutiny of. In addition to the pre-packaged solutions, Rollout.io also allows developers to inject JavaScript code in order to get method-level access and fix more complex problems.

Their San Francisco startup’s software tracks things like revenue, cost of customer acquisition, monthly recurring revenue and other key stats by pulling the data from software products like Quicken that business owners are already using. Founded in June 2014, the platform was opened into limited testing a few months ago and already has 1,700 developers registered and more than 100 apps in a production environment today, including several notable names, like GrabTaxi (an Uber competitor in Asia), Ask.fm, Max Levchin’s pregnancy tracker Glow, Musical.ly, and others.

Currently, testers are using the service for free, but the company will introduce a SaaS-based monthly subscription model in time where fees will be based on volume. Stitch: This startup from Cambridge, Massachusetts, aims to be the HIPAA-compliant communications platform for healthcare communications around individual patients. Separate.us: Out of Oakland, this startup co-founded by Sandro Tuzzo and Larry Maloney has developed software they say helps to reduce the complexity of filing for a divorce. For more information and to apply for the Startup Battlefield visit http://apply.techcrunch.com/ and submit your application by September 23rd at 9am PT.

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