Posted by Tom Foremski - August 21, 2013
Nick Statt at CNET, reports that among the latest batch of startups from Y Combinator there were a small number focused on minorities and the elderly.
Among the 49 startups at the recent Demo Day, there were four that had unique services solving "real world" problems: Beyond apps: These startups are tackling real-world problems
Take for instance SoundFocus. Cofounder Alex Seig, who took the stage to give his startup's pitch, has suffered from hearing loss all his life and decided to channel his disability toward helping others overcome the enormous financial burdens of standard hearing aids that are typically not covered by insurance. Using an app that adjusts to a user's particular hearing deficiencies, SoundFocus tunes music from your library or Spotify for the best result.
"Ever since coming to this country, 20 years ago, I've been sending money home every single month," cofounder Edrizio De La Cruz said during his pitch. Started in 2011, his company allows immigrants to send financial support to families living in Latin America... directly via SMS for a flat transfer fee of $3, which family members can then use at partner establishments.
There were two startups focused on the elderly:
Amulyte was plugged as the modern day Life Alert, and provides a high-tech pendant equipped with GPS, Wi-Fi, and an accelerometer to make the destructive element of falling for fragile senior citizens more quickly addressable.
And True Link pitched its credit card for the elderly, which allows one's parent or grandparent to maintain financial independence while also having all transactions routed through the company's servers. Once the data is there, True Link analyzes it for known scams or manipulative tactics.
It's good to see young developers focused on apps beyond the many me-too apps that are flooding the market as the low hanging fruit of prior graduating classes is exhausted, and as their lack of real-world experiences limits the number of ideas they can transform into useful business ideas.
The rest of the Y Combinator Demo Day included a large number of me-too apps. And making sure Papa Paul Graham heard the right words on the billions of dollars in market viability, no matter the limited potential of some of the business ideas, was a key part of all the presentations. However, the ridiculous nature of such claims sometimes drew much laughter.
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For example, take one of the stars of the show, SpoonRocket, an organic food delivery service that charges only $6 a meal and was described exuberantly as "fast food 2.0" and the "the Uber of food." ...
"We are a money-making machine," cofounder Anson Tsui said with slow pauses on the words that were eventually met with jubilant laughs from the crowd...Tsui ended his pitch with, "Remember, the rocket ship is taking off," receiving the most receptive applause of the day.