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How a young startup is contending with giant competitors

(Tech News) When an idea comes about, many people are discouraged because their competitors are gigantic, but that didn’t stop one startup from skyrocketing to 25 million users.




weheartit startup

How do you launch a brand when your competitors are so huge?

You have an idea. It’s a good one. You have identified a need in the market, and your research indicates that you’re sitting on a mint. You have your business plan put together, but you hesitate because you have competitors that have been around for a long time and are multi-billion dollar companies. Eventually, that hesitation eases, because you realize that you have a better way of doing it, and consumers are clamoring for it.

We Heart It is an image-based social network startup, and launched in the middle of some pretty huge competitors. But, they’ve already surpassed 25 million users and say they are seeing one million new signups every month. They decided to nix comments to so away with bullies, making it popular with younger users. So how do they compete with Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter?

Ranah Edelin, CEO of We Heart It says that competing with mega-funded, mega-sized social networks keeps them on their toes. “Seriously, it is very humbling to be compared to a lot of great companies in the social space who have hundreds of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment.”

Edelin added that “It is also extremely motivating when you look at how large and active our community of 25 million is and how favorably we compare to these same services that have many more resources than we do. It keeps our team focused and ensures that every member of our 18-person team contributes a lot to our service and its growth.”

Was the goal to disrupt?

“Our service was originally started as a personal project by a design student named Fabio who wanted to collect and organize images that he could refer to later for design inspiration,” noted Edelin. “It was his first coding project and he originally called it “I heart it” because it was just for his personal use. He shared it with some of his design friends who immediately asked him for an account of their own. He added the ability for others to create accounts and changed the name to We Heart It and it just took off from there.”

The company has focused on natural and organic growth and iteration, seeking to stay true to their roots rather than disrupt. Edelin said, “We believe that we complement the existing social ecosystem quite well and that the positive, supportive, and expressive tone of our community is quite unique.”

They have also benefited from the shift in technology to mobile, with over 80 percent of their traffic coming from mobile devices, and they’ve enjoyed the “coveted” teen and young adult demo, with over 80 percent of their users under the age of 24.

What have you done differently to attract so many young users?

Edelin said, “We have always focused on the two most important things any company in our space should focus on: our users and our service. For example, we never talked to the press about We Heart It prior to June of 2013, even though we had over 20 million users and were already extremely popular in our core demographic. I think the fact that our service has been “under the radar” with mainstream press has helped our community really embrace We Heart It as their own…..they love We Heart It and have really helped spread the word for us.”

He added, “I should also say that the best way to stay true to our users and the service is to have a really amazing team working at We Heart It. We spend a lot of time vetting each person who joins our team and making sure that everyone has the ability and opportunity to contribute in significant ways. It’s really rewarding and necessary for each member of our team to have a large impact on the success of our service!”

Why did you determine that comments should not be a feature on the site?

“From the start, We Heart It has really embraced the notion of constrained design, a concept made popular by the likes of great services like Twitter and Vine,” said Edelin. “The heart (pun intended) and soul of We Heart It is our users and the images they share. The lack of comments forces people to really focus on those two things (users and images) and to find more creative ways to express themselves to their followers and the broader community. That’s why you see a decent amount of images with text overlaid on them…the image becomes a self-contained unit that fully captures how someone is feeling or what they believe is important.”

“The lack of comments also allows our community to really stay positive, supportive, and “bully-proof.” The only action another person can take towards another person on We Heart It is a positive one (heart the image or follow the person),” Edelin added. “That has made We Heart It a much more authentic community where people can share how they’re feeling without fear of backlash from others. This is especially important given the cyber-bullying that happens on some of the other social networks that makes people, especially young people, feel a lot of pressure and even fear on those social networks.”

Businesses and We Heart It

Edelin said that any company seeking a young audience should set up an account and share “beautiful, inspiring, expressive, and authentic” content. “We also get a lot of fan tributes to We Heart It which is always fun to see… they basically unleash their creativity around the We Heart It brand and the results are pretty amazing. For example, here is an image on our service made by a user that has been hearted over 180,000 times that really captures what makes We Heart It special and unique”

We Heart It says they have just announced their new Partnership Program with initial participation from Conde Nast brands Teen Vogue and Lucky, as well as some other great consumer apps with strong traction in their core demo. “Our team can help onboard new brands and help them maximize their presence on We Heart It by helping them do things like create a verified We Heart It account, learn about best practices and how to get more followers on our platform, and how to implement our “Heart It” button on their mobile app or website to make it easier for their content to appear on We Heart It,” Edelin concluded.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Tech News

Defense startups are getting beaucoup bucks from the DoD

(TECH NEWS) Some tech companies are getting large venture capital because the Department of Defense is looking for new defense startups.



military looking defense startups

While private investors remain wary of funding defense startups, they are still keeping an eye on the possible venture opportunities. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is hoping domestic investors will increase spending into these startups in order to compete with China’s strategy of creating private equity firms to invest into foreign technologies.

A major reason for the growing interest by venture capitalists is the shift in focus from traditional weapons to tools for information warfare, meaning software and tech systems. Defense startups are creating products that may have multiple benefits outside the DoD.

Changes in the defense venture landscape are slow with all three parties learning how to benefit from one another. Startups realize working with the DoD is a “mission-driven objective” as stated by Ryan Tseng, founder of Shield AI. “We went into this eyes wide open, knowing full well that to the venture community, the math doesn’t make sense.”

However, there are several big investor players already in the game. Andreessen Horowitz, a top-tier venture fund is banking on the economic sustainability of defense startups in the future. They’ve already invested in Shield AI and defense tech company Anduril Industries. Additionally, the Founders Fund, another big name venture firm led by Silicon investors Peter Thiel, Brian Singerman, and Ken Howery is investing in Anduril and goTenna after successfully backing SpaceX and Palantir Technologies.

Defense companies’ emphasis on tech could be the answer to challenges usually associated with DoD investments like competing against dominate manufacturers with steady government contracts and long procurement cycles. U.S. Code 2377 stipulates that commercially available items be considered first in procurement efforts. If defense startups can enter the market, they will also stand a chance of winning government contracts over bigger, traditional companies, thus diversifying the playing field.

But until there is a greater guarantee of a payoff, investors are likely to remain skeptical. The possibilities for this new generation of defense companies is going to needs some more wins to prove the future is in their corner.

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Tech News

Goal-based project management tool simplifies your work life

(TECH NEWS) If you are struggling to keep tasks straight then this new tool Qoals allows for a simpler and more straightforward way to accomplish goals as a team.



Qoals pitch

We all have goals – whether they be personal, professional, financial, etc. Anyone can set a goal, all it takes is having a thought and assigning it a certain level of importance. However, not everyone completes their goals due to the oft difficulties and confusions associated with execution.

Like anything else, if there’s a will, there’s a way. A new way has been found in the form of Qoals – a simple and straightforward tool that helps you to get aligned around business goals instead of an endless wall of tasks.

The ability to complete goals is done through: setting goals, adding tasks, collecting things, and tracking progress. With this, everyone on your team has access to this information to keep tabs on what’s happening.

With setting goals, you create and prioritize your goals, letting your team members know which ones are most important at that time. Goals can be prioritized with tabs such as: long term, short term, and urgent. By adding tasks, you can add and assign tasks to set a clear path in order to complete set goals.

In collecting things, you collect resources related to your goal and keep them in one safe place (again, this is accessible to your whole team). This doesn’t require uploading files, but simply including links to resources to keep everything easily accessible. Finally, by tracking progress, everyone on the team can see where you’re at with your goals – which saves time with the follow ups of “how’s Goal X going?”

Why did Qoals develop this goal-oriented approach? “It’s about time we simplify things,” according to the official website. “Get aligned around goals and let everyone know what’s important for the business. Add goals under various projects and start adding tasks and resources to make that goal happen.”

Additionally, Qoals boasts that this provides users with a birds-eye view of what’s happening with their team, allowing them to be more human-centric. You can create unlimited projects, set and track your goals, collected everything related to said goal, keep the discussion relevant, access your tasks with one click, stay connected to your team, and see what’s going on at a glance.
Qoals is currently in beta.

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Tech News

7 ways AI will transform health care

(TECH NEWS) Instead of worrying about the singularity of AI technology, let’s shine a ray of hope, and show one of the best ways to use AI robots.



robot AI health care

Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized business practices across many industries. With 39% of health care providers investing in AI-related technologies, it’s safe to say it’s about to transform the medical industry as well. AI’s disruptive potential may increase profits in other sectors, but in health care, it can save lives.

While robots aren’t quite ready to replace doctors, they can help them accomplish their tasks with higher speed and precision. AI in the hospital is not just a thing of the future, either. All around the world, smart machines are already assisting medical staff in a variety of ways.

As this technology refines, machine learning will become an increasingly regular part of medicine. Here are seven ways AI will transform health care in the coming years.

1. Robot-Assisted Surgery

It may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but surgery robots are already in use. In 2017, more than 690,000 surgeries were assisted by robots in the U.S. alone. As these machines continue to demonstrate their worth, they’ll appear in more operating rooms.

Robotic surgeons like the da Vinci Surgical System offer more precise and less invasive movements than human hands and traditional tools. With AI, they can improve upon surgical methods. AI-enabled surgery bots can notice reactions in a patient invisible to the human eye and make necessary adjustments.

2. Early Diagnoses

Intelligent programs can quickly analyze vast amounts of information. This unique talent makes AI ideal for making preliminary diagnoses in patients. Smart machines can take note of patients’ symptoms and interpret them to make an early diagnosis while doctors make their rounds.

The accuracy of these diagnoses will improve as AI develops, but even at its current state, they can be useful. Doctors can use them as a starting-off point. A list of likely diagnoses can be a helpful resource to doctors when trying to diagnose patients as quickly as possible. They might also make health care professionals consider options they otherwise wouldn’t have thought of, increasing accuracy.

3. Administrative Assistance

Treating patients is not the only duty of health care professionals. Doctors and nurses have to take records of patient data, from symptoms to insurance information, so they can refer to them later or send them to other hospitals. This process can take time, and any issues along the way can create problems for patients and doctors alike.

IT usability is a critical part of health care, and AI can optimize it. Intelligent systems can find ways to streamline the information-sharing process, ensuring health workers get the data they need as soon as possible. AI can also handle administrative tasks like scheduling and logistics, allowing hospital staff to focus on more pressing concerns.

4. Health Screenings

Just as AI applications can diagnose patients, they can also make predictions about a person’s fitness for a given situation. Predictive analytics is an AI function that analyzes historical data to make predictions about future outcomes. AI systems can use predictive analytics to perform more nuanced health screenings.

AI can tell doctors is a patient would be fit for surgery or not. Similarly, it can advise people if they aren’t a suitable candidate for physically exerting activities or tests. These analytics consider a wide range of data, including things a human might overlook, leading to more accurate predictions.

5. Remote Monitoring

AI can also optimize health care outside of the hospital. Wearable technology is already prevalent with products like Fitbit, and the medical industry can use this to its advantage. With wearable health-monitoring devices, doctors can monitor their patients remotely.

Remote monitoring devices can alert patients if they need to see a doctor. Should an emergency occur, they can also alert hospital staff so they can send an ambulance. These noninvasive technologies will allow patients with conditions such as heart disease to live without fear by providing them with almost instant assistance.

6. Robot Nurses

Intelligent robots can help fix the nursing labor shortage by filling in those vital roles. Nursing robots are already working in Japanese hospitals and may soon see use in the U.S. These machines can help patients move, reduce their stress and remind them to take their medicine.

With AI, these robot nurses can adapt to each patient’s needs and desires. By analyzing how different people respond to various stimuli and situations, they can customize care. Intelligent nurse robots treat patients in a manner ideal for their health and comfort needs.

7. AI-Enabled Genomics

Compared to humans, AI is better suited for data-heavy tasks. Since DNA sequencing is a form of data analysis, it’s an ideal area to employ AI.

Using artificial intelligence in genomics has already shown impressive results. In 2019, an AI system identified new genetic mutations that contributed to autism. The system could detect patterns in DNA humans would not be able to, as well as predict how changing each gene would affect a person.

AI Is Revolutionizing Medicine

Artificial intelligence is changing the way the health care industry operates. With continued research and improvement, AI systems could save countless lives.

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