For those of us curious about where technology trends are heading, looking at companies in the beta stage is often a good start. Still centered around what’s possible rather than what’s profitable, these companies are experimenting with new solutions to familiar problems and exploring new verticals altogether.
To get a taste of the what the future may look like, check out these five Chicago startups currently in beta:
Bringing the cloud closer to home
As our smartphones grow increasingly integral to how we capture and relive memories, reliable backups become more and more important. As a “personal cloud device,” Monument gives users the convenience of cloud storage without ever having to upload their photos to the Internet. The device supports iOS, Android and SD camera cards, making it a platform-agnostic solution that can follow users from phone to phone — and help keep DSLR photos safe, too.
Simplifying video game streaming
Once a niche hobby, watching and creating video game live streams have become commonplace activities among gamers, novice and professional alike. While watching other gamers play is as simple as tuning into any video streaming service, the complexities of configuring a live streaming studio still pose a significant barrier of entry to many would-be streamers. Infiniscene’s cloud-based broadcasting studio makes the setup and customization of streams easy, leaving streamers to focus on engaging their audiences.
Letting your bike scream for help
Urban bicycle commuters resort to all manner of tricks to keep their bikes from getting stolen, from deliberately making their bikes look less new and shiny to locking them up exclusively next to busy intersections. reLock wants to make your bike safer by leveraging IoT technology. Co-founded by a Booth MBA candidate, reLock is a device that attaches to your u-lock and sends push notifications to your phone if someone tries tampering with it. Tampering attempts also trigger a loud alarm, hopefully scaring would-be bike thieves away.
Using AI to get on top of your finances
Sure, you plan to invest in stocks and bonds, save for vacations and keep track of how much money you’re actually spending at Starbucks. But will you ever really stick to that plan? Tellur is an AI-powered financial assistant that lets you pre-program conditional messages based on your bank account activity. Currently, Tellur can notify you when you spend or receive money, let you know how you’re doing with your budget, and remind you to transfer money to investments or savings accounts. The ability to actually make transfers to savings and investments on your behalf is currently in the works.
Leveraging gamification to build hype for upcoming products
Besides keeping early prototypes from getting crashed by stampeding crowds, waitlists can be a good way to build hype around an upcoming product. But if you want to get the hype machine going, you’ll have to be smart about it. Waitlisted takes a gamified approach to signing people up for betas, allowing users to move higher up the list by referring their friends. By letting users check on their position in line, Waitlisted also helps startups build brand engagement long before users ever even get their hands on the product.
Images via listed companies.
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