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Great Expectations

This thing's about to blow.

We've got 44 of the coolest startups poised for big things in 2015

Listen, we’re reasonable people around here – we still haven’t bought a Selfie Stick, for example. But that doesn’t mean we’re not given to moments of perfectly rational exuberance. That’s why we want to introduce you to 44 awesome startups from which we expect great things in 2015. It’s going to be a good year.

Despite the endless customer support bubbles that are increasingly popping up on websites, trying to get help with software is typically a nightmare of wading through outdated forum posts. Solved, currently in beta, seamlessly connects users with experts on 13 major platforms – Photoshop, WordPress, and Facebook Ads among them – to get quick, reliable answers.

Vires Aero
“Revolutionizing Aerodynamics” is a pretty big claim, but that’s just what Northern California’s Vires Aero’s new wing design claims to do. Tim Draper calls them the “first true innovation in aviation since the jet engine.”

Kickstart Walking System
The name might not be so original but the product is – the Kickstart Walking System allows people with stroke injuries, MS, MD, and more to walk again. Their device uses “Exotendon technology” to store and release energy that provides movement assistance without electronics, programming, or motors.

Just because you’re not eating at a restaurant every night doesn’t mean you’re not a regular. Venga tracks guest purchases and preferences and integrates them with reservations and point-of-sale, meaning you’ll never get that table by the bathroom ever again (hopefully).

For those of us who have trouble visualizing just what a floorplan looks like in real life, the Real5D software platform turns architectural models into interactive spaces that look like something out of Grand Theft Auto.

Ship Your Enemies Glitter
This one just crossed our radar yesterday, but the moment we visited Ship Your Enemies Glitter, we knew we would have to include it on the list. The Australian startup does just what the name promises – sending an envelope filled with glitter to anyone in the world for $9.99.

The 2014 World Cup may have come and gone, but soccer has undoubtedly gained a toehold in the States. Recent Techstars grads Sportsy offer soccer training from coaches and athletes via iOS and Android devices.

Based out of Menlo Park, Transcriptic allows academics and scientists the ability to conduct biomedical research without ever going in a lab. Their robotic cloud laboratory offers results signifanctly faster and cheaper than their old-world counterparts.

The game developers Artillery will be releasing the much-anticipated real-time strategy game Project Atlas later this year with one big pitch – instead of running on a high-end console like PS 4, the game will be available to play for free from the browser on your computer or phone.

Even slackers deserve good seats. The mobile apps from Gametime deliver last minute sports tickets directly to your phone – in September they raised $4 million from Accel Partners.

It’s no secret that the hiring process is almost as much of a nightmare as getting hired. San Francisco’s Lever builds applicant tracking software that promises to reinvent the game through collaborative tools and innovative software.

In this age of oversharing, we may be impossibly self-aware, but we still know remarkably little about our own bodies. Counsyl offers genetic testing for more than 400 mutations and 100 genetic disorders at a price 1/10th the competition’s.

Hammer & Chisel
A gaming studio created by the founder of OpenFeint, Hammer & Chisel is bringing battle arena games into the tablet area. And with more than $8 million in funding under their belt, they’re growing fast.

Every day it seems, another online ad platform is popping up. The apps from AdStage allow marketers to manage ad campaigns across more than 25 platforms from one simple-to-use dashboard.

Oh, the hours we have wasted. RescueTime runs in the background of your desktop and mobile devices to track the time you’ve spent managing Excel spreadsheets or trolling Facebook. The free web app then offers highly detailed reports on your activity and allows users to set alerts, block websites, and more.

Palo Alto’s Diffbot combines machine learning and web scraping to turn the web into your personal database. The company has already been called “the next Google” more times than we can count.

It won’t be long before Buy Now buttons start appearing everywhere in the real world – Scan is already making that a reality. The company’s app allows users to scan barcodes, QR codes, and more to allow customers to check in or check out instantly.

Imagine reinventing the very way we surf the web. Vurb won last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt NYC with just that promise. The service, currently in closed beta, integrates various web services in one seamless experience – no more jumping from app to app or site to site.

how do you roll?
Founded in Austin, how do you roll? is a casual dining sushi restaurant whose franchises are steadily opening across the country. Allowing customers to make their own roll using proprietary maki machines, hdyr? could be the future of your lunch hour.

If Apple’s acquisition of Beats proved anything, it’s that people still care about pumping their latest jam. San Francisco’s Boombotix promises that their ultra-portable, all-weather speakers are the loudest – last year they raised $4 million to help drown out the competition.

Let’s face it – there is no end to what pet owners will buy to ensure their cat, dog, ferret, or Tamagotchi is well looked after. Petcube lets pet owners watch, talk, and play with their pets all from their smartphone. After selling out to incredibly high demand last year, Petcube’s second batch of devices will be available in February.

Through cloud-based analysis of energy meter readings, Gridium helps building managers better monitor and control their energy use. The web based SaaS integrates weather forecasts, historical data, and billing information; it’s already been deployed to more than 100 million square feet of commercial real estate in California.

As people have begun to realize that those cherished digital photos are far too ephemeral, dozens of photo printing services have popped up. But none of this is like Fracture – the service prints images directly to glass, resulting in a startlingly vivid image that’s also ready to mount on the wall.

Let’s face it – the typical gym membership represents far too much commitment for our Tinder lifestyles. The Gymsurfing app is replacing those yearlong contracts with gym passes on the go, for as little as $5 per workout.

We’re partial to a leisurely day planted on the beach, but for those who long for the thrill of the high seas, Sailogy allows users to book high-end sailboats and catamarans, complete with skipper, anywhere in the world.

Does the world need another social music network? Maybe it does. Soundtracker gives you the chance to create your own radio station from more than 32 million free tracks and share them with friends.

Selfie Dolls
Admittedly we’re not entirely sure of the backstory behind Selfie Dolls – the site is in Hungarian – but those two words together just scream “success” to us.

Austin’s TrendKite helps brands and agencies figure out just how effective all their PR efforts really are. Last June, they snagged $3.2 million to build out their team and expand their data offerings.

Trying to build a high tech app or software often relies on seriously low tech tools, and a whole mess of them at that. Atomic is an interface design software that guides the process from wireframes to finished product.

In this age of telecommuting and virtual offices, even the humble music studio is going virtual. Splice, a cloud platform for music creation and collaboration, was launched in 2012 by the cofounder of GroupMe.

If anything promises to be a growth industry in 2015 and beyond, privacy is it. Spotflux offers a free, highly-encrypted VPN that keeps users internet traffic completely private – or at least as private as is possible.

You check your phone too much. You know that. But were you aware just how bad the problem has gotten? The iOS and Android app Checky simply tracks how often you check your phone over the course of a day. The results might terrify you.

And you thought it was just a garnish. Parse.ly is also an analytics platform for digital publishers that provides actionable insights. It’s already being used by the likes of Business Insider, Condé Nast, and Slate.

Could this be the end of credit card hold music? Charlotte-based Tresata is a big data financial analytics software company that gives banks and financial agencies the ability to understand their customers as well as Amazon does.

Last year’s iCloud hack should have proved a wake-up call for anyone who just blindly trusts the security of the cloud. That’s where CirroSecure comes in. Their suite of cloud security tools are being used by Dropbox, Google Apps, and Salesforce.

Playlists are more than just a way to DJ your next party. Gibbon creates “playlists for learning”, searching out the best educational content on the web and organizing them by topic.

Team collaboration and communication might have been taken over by Slack in 2014, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for competition. Kato combines text, voice, and video to reduce all that noise in your inbox.

Social Bicycles
If you’re a city, school, or business looking to start a bike-sharing program, you don’t want to start from scratch. Social Bicycles provides all the infrastructure necessary to start a program – their equipment is already being used in eight cities throughout North America.

The WayRay navigation system integrates with your car and smartphone to offer heads-up displays, highly precise navigation, and a dashcam.

Sure, you can turn your lights on and off with your iPhone, but can you control their color? The LIFX bulb is wifi-enabled to allow users the ability to transform their room simply by opening up the app.

Want to get your video seen? Virool distributes video content across a network of more than 35,000 publishers, allowing you to globally target just who’s watching.

When even Mark Zuckerberg is getting in the book club game, you know there’s something there. Glose is an ebook reader with a social reading platform built in – you can connect to fellow readers and share thoughts, questions, or just find out what the hell is going on in Infinite Jest.

Meetings – everyone hates them, everyone does them. Solid promises to change that, by prepping attendees for a meeting beforehand, helping keep things focused on the agenda, and providing actionable summaries only minutes afterward.

We have no idea how you could monetize this thing, or even sustain it as business, but anyone who’s been stuck wandering the city in search of a bathroom can surely appreciate the genius behind Airpnp. The app promises to connect users with the best public bathrooms in their vicinity.

Needless to say, this is hardly an exhaustive look at the big things to come this year. Stay tuned for more of the best.

Now go forth (and get excited).


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