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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik