Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Startups Aim to Bring Slices of the Offline World Online

I’m down at Y Combinator Demo Day in Mountain View, Calif., where the biggest theme throughout the morning’s presentations was startups that have picked a very specific offline system to bring onto the Internet.

None of these are going to save the world, but perhaps they’ll save a headache or two.

Here are examples:

Wevorce: A divorce planning site with templates and online experts to help split up families without going to court. Starts at $3,500.

SimplyInsured: An insurance comparison shopping site that promises fast, paperless transactions.

Zaranga: Calls itself “Airbnb for the other half of the market,” a.k.a. professionally managed properties.

Microryza: Calls itself “Kickstarter for science,” aims to take research funding out of institutions and into people’s hands. This was actually just one of three different Kickstarter-related projects, including the non-profit Watsi (which we’ve already covered and was a real crowd favorite today) and Backerkit for crowdfunded projects to maintain relationships with their backer.

BuildZoom: Calls itself “Yelp for contractors” (are you sensing a theme here?), aims to be the brand for finding people to remodel homes, with a 7 percent commission.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work