10 Awesome Startups at Collision

A week ago we were in Las Vegas - soaking up the sun, playing the tables and checking in to exhibit Workshape.io for the first time.

We were at Collision Conf 2015, the US leg of a series of a events put on by Paddy Cosgrave & friends and named after Tony Hsieh’s vision of creating a vibrant tech ecosystem in Downtown Las Vegas, where the serendipity of ‘collisions’ would create the sort of unplanned opportunities that make tech hubs great places to work and build.

We had a blast - an awesome conference with great people and great products. For this write-up, we wanted to talk about some of the amazing Startups we encountered last week and tell you why we love them. In no particular order, here are our faves.

1. Vanhawks

  • Company Name: Vanhawks
  • Website: www.vanhawks.com
  • Twitter: @vanhawks
  • One liner: The first ever connected bike
  • Country: Canada
  • Founded: 2014
  • CEO: Sohaib Zahid

Why we love Vanhawks: It’s a fully connected carbon fibre bike, what’s not to love?! The bike has navigation, safety, security and performance monitoring all built in to take urban commuting to the next level experience. Their first model, the Valour, is already available to order on-line from $1,400. We'll take 3 please! (when we get funding).

2. Freight Farms

  • Company Name: Freight Farms
  • Website: www.freightfarms.com
  • Twitter: @FreightFarms
  • Country: USA
  • One liner: High-volume crop production units made from upcycled shipping containers to support farming in any climate.
  • Founded: 2011
  • CEO: Brad McNamara

Why we love Freight Farm: Ready-to-grow hydroponic farm in shipping container? In an overpopulated world staring at a near future of catastrophic climate change, widespread food insecurity and potential ecosystem collapse, Freight Farms might be the sort of Startup that we might all one day need, nevermind love. It's an amazing idea needs to succeed.

3. Japan Crate

  • Company Name: Japan Crate
  • Website: www.japancrate.com
  • Twitter: @JapanCrate
  • Country: USA
  • One-liner: Japanese candy, delivered monthly
  • Founded: 2014
  • CEO: Hank Rao

Why we love Japan Crate: Sometimes simple ideas are the best. Hank Rao’s Japan Crate is going to do one thing for you - send you crazy stuff from Japan, once a month, in a crate! Well, it’s a box really, but you get the idea. Japan remains a place that creates in-demand products that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It’s a serious problem. Question: Who needs Wasabi flavoured Kit Kat? Answer: We all do.

4. re:3D

  • Company Name: re:3d
  • Website: www.re3d.org
  • Twitter: @re_3D
  • Country: USA
  • One liner: Human Scale 3D Printing
  • Founded: 2013
  • CEO: Samantha Snabes

Why we love re:3d: We were walking past the PITCH contest when we first encountered re:3d. Samantha Snabes, one the founders, was on stage holding a 3d printed stool. She told the audience that she and her team were focussed on 2 things at re:3d, cost and scale. We stopped in to listen on the rest of the pitch were she introduced their flagship model, the Gigabot. It is an industrial sized printer that comes in at under 1/10th of the cost and boasts a printing volume 30 times bigger than desktop models. This got my attention, as well as the audience and the panel. They went on to win the competition. We believe the future holds great things for this Austin based startup and we look forward to encountering a Gigabot in the local 3d print shop!

5. Shippabo

  • Company Name: Shippabo
  • Website: www.shippabo.com
  • Twitter: @Shippabo
  • Country: USA
  • One-liner: Expedia for Ocean Shipping
  • Founded: 2015
  • CEO: Nina Lu

Why we love Shippabo: Who amongst us hasn’t dreamt of being in import / export mogul? Shippabo has actually managed to bring that dream closer to reality by providing a unified solution for anyone who want to ship goods overseas. Instead of a fragmented marketplace with hidden costs, opaque pricing, regulatory confusion, multiple carriers and total mystery as to where your damn container is, you get a single dashboard to manage and track it all.

6. PocketPay

  • Company Name: PocketPay
  • Website: www.pocketgroup.mx
  • Twitter: @PocketGroupMX
  • Country: Mexico
  • One liner: The best mobile wallet
  • Founded: 2014
  • CEO: Bruno Ramos Berho

Why we love PocketPay: We had serious lack of sleep coming into the final day of Collision and these guys rescued us with their brilliant stand serving coffee as part of the demo of their beautiful payment app. PocketPay looks beautiful, is simple to use and provides a seamless way to pay in stores that have low cost tech. In production in Mexico right now, we’d all love to be able to use this service and get through the payments process that's all too often, all too painful.

7. BoatSetter

  • Company Name: Boatsetter
  • Website: www.boatsetter.com
  • Twitter: @boatsetter
  • Country: USA
  • One-liner: AirBnB meets Uber, for Yachts!
  • Founded: 2013
  • CEO: Andy Sturner

Why we love Boatsetter: The sharing economy has taught us a lot about chronic under utilisation of assets, services and labour. Boatsetter solves all three by combining the rental mechanics of AirBnB with the labour market of Uber to deliver a service in which everyone wins. Boat captains get more work, the yachts get a necessary weekend run out and we, the users, get easy living luxury holidays on our own private vessel. What’s not to love?

8. FirstJob

  • Company Name: FirstJob
  • Website: www.firstjob.com
  • Twitter: @firstjobtweets
  • One liner: Awesome jobs for today’s Workforce
  • Country: USA
  • Founded: 2011
  • CEO: Eyal Grayevksy

Why we love FirstJob: They have a laser focus on creating an incredible recruitment experience for recent graduates looking for their first job. We really value their approach and commitment to millennials - they connect users with companies on issues that matter to them. We also really dig their website!

9. BioWatch

  • Company Name: BioWatch
  • Website: www.biowatch.ch
  • Twitter: @biowatch1
  • One liner: A wearable biometric solution
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Founded: 2014
  • CEO: Matthias Vanoni

Why we love BioWatch: They have built a technology that leverages vein recognition as a biometric identification technique - incredibly relevant today with the current buzz around wearable smart tech. We were blown away by the demonstration of what they have already built and the advantages that vein recognition offers over other forms of biometric security. We will be watching this company very closely!

10. Arango

  • Company Name: ArangoDB
  • Website: www.arangodb.com
  • Twitter: @arangodb
  • Country: Germany
  • One liner: The Multi-model NoSQL database
  • Founded: 2014
  • CEO: Claudius Weinberger

Why we love ArangoDB: Well, it’s a multi-model database named after the Avocado, and we love Avocados! The name aside though, the feature set is very impressive with a ACID compliance, support for joins and a very clean query language. They are very actively developing their product with a new version (2.6) coming out that will show that a multi-model DB can indeed compete with specialised solutions with respect to performance. The multi-model approach is gaining a lot of traction of late with a recent talk at the Strata/Hadoop conference mentioning ArangoDB. We’re excited to try ArangoDB out on future projects.

RISE Badge

We’ve profiled 10 companies - we could have easily put up another 50. Almost everywhere we went, we saw people and products that were simple, ingenious and had great product/market fit. Honourable mentions to OneRecruit, Somewhere, Memmo, Unbabel and the rest - you have all inspired us to do better with our own humble project, Workshape.io.

Was Collision Conf worth it for 3 lads from London bootstrapping their own Startup?

You better believe it. We are looking forward to returning to Vegas next year for Collision 2016 (2 for 1 offer now on folks). We are also certainties to attend Web Summit in Dublin later this year and might even be tempted to get ourselves along for RISE in Hong Kong in July 2015.

After all, one thing we have learned from our first conference together as a team, is that good things happen when great people, collide.

Workshape.io Team