Ever had a really neat, mostly-legal idea, a few extra dollars and a bit of spare time? You too could join the exciting world of startups – small, innovative businesses with cool products to offer. If you were thinking of using one of the following ideas, however, you’re out of luck; they’re already taken.
Plastiq – Ever tried to make a big government or school payment with a credit card, only to be told that the recipient only accepts payments by cash, cheque or carrier pigeon? It’s happened to everybody; not every student wants to feel like a drug dealer carrying around $8000 in cash to pay her tuition fees. The makers of Plastiq felt as annoyed as anyone else, but unlike the rest of us, they decided to get off their lazy butts and change it. Plastiq is a system that dramatically cuts the costs of accepting credit card payments, coaxing cost-conscious institutions into accepting plastic payments. The Boston-based startup is set to premiere their new product in partnership with the University of Alberta.
Alcohoot – You know approximately how many pints you can slam down before losing all self-awareness and having to go have a chat with the very nice emergency room nurse pumping your stomach, but just how much alcohol can you have before you’re stupidly risking innocent lives if you venture behind the wheel of a car. Alcohoot is a breathalyzer that plugs into your smart phone and accounts for your height, gender, age and weight to give you an accurate reading. If you blow past the legal limit, the accompanying app will even recommend cab companies to take your sorry self home.
BabbaCo – Are you at a loss for activities to do with your child? Does your offspring give you a confused look when you hand her a raw potato and a railway spike and intruct her to play? BabbaCo is here to help. The service delivers a box of pre-made activities for you and your darlings once every month, and it has already caught on with busy celebrity moms like Jessica Alba and Ashlee Simpson. You may not be as much of a mess as one of the Simpson sisters, but when it comes to kids, everyone can use a little help now and then.
Balbus Speech – The King’s Speech almost made speech disorders look adorable, when in reality, they’re roughly on par with oozing face sores on the “fun” scale. Balbus Speech is an app which employs clinically proven speech pathology techniques to coax users into saying their consonants and vowels correctly. The apps are a little costlier than average at $15 and $10 apiece, making them slightly daunting of an expense than the thousands of dollars you’d need to purchase special equipment for the same task.
JiveHealth – Our children are morphing into large, gelatinous blobs before our very eyes, and no one seems to be doing anything about it. Kids hate exercise almost as much as they love smart phones, and one adept startup noticed this seemingly useless trend. JiveHealth, a new app development company, develops diabolical games that force children to exercise and consume healthy foods in order to advance. The apps are free to download, leaving you just that much more money to buy junior some smaller pants.
Edward Dennis is a tech and marketing blogger. He’s currently working for Web24; Australia’s largest Hyper-V provider and a dedicated server solutions company.