The startup world churns out more duds than hits. Part 2

But for every hundred startups that fail, there’s a fledgling company that’s creating an original and useful product or tackling a difficult real-world problem.
Planet Labs: working towards the goal of taking a high-resolution picture of the entire planet, every single day? Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that has already launched more than 70 satellites into space can monitor deforestation and urban sprawl, or provide insights for disaster management or help with agriculture. Data from the satellites allow them to see how our planet changes on a daily basis. They also hope it will change the way humans view their planet. Because the cube-shaped satellites — or CubeSats — are so small, Planet is able to launch them cheaply, sometimes hitching a ride on other companies’ spacecraft. As it captures more and more imagery, Planet Labs plans to make the resulting data available to developers it hopes will find creative new uses for that information.
Shyp: a Silicon Valley venture that wants to transform the cumbersome shipping process by taking over the packaging, picking up and dropping off of parcels. Snap a picture of what you want to ship — say, a pair of skis you sold on eBay. You don’t have to worry about finding a ski-shaped box or the right packaging materials to keep them from getting damaged, because Shyp will do that for you. Shyp estimates how much it will cost to ship the skis via FedEx, DHL, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service, picks the best deal and then sends an employee to your location to fetch the goods within 20 minutes. These couriers (Shyp calls them “heroes”) take your skis to a local warehouse, box them and send them on their way. Customers pay the estimated shipping cost, plus a $5 pickup fee.
Smart Vision Labs: has developed a pocket-sized gadget that lets doctors test people’s vision and prescribe glasses directly through the app. According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 200 million people who are visually impaired living in low-income communities — and roughly 80% of the cases are curable. The device, called the SVOne, slides onto an iPhone and lets doctors measure refractive errors of the eye. The SVOne can also produce a more accurate reading for children, who can be difficult to test using traditional machines. The device connects to the cloud, meaning a pediatrician could perform the test and have data sent directly to an optometrist for review. They plan to have about 100 devices available by the end of the year.
Spring: lets consumers follow their favorite fashion brands and shop for new looks on a free mobile app that’s heavy on pretty images. Spring boasts over 300 brands. Instead of having to download individual apps to browse and shop for new clothes and accessories, Spring’s users can do it all in one place. Spring’s appeal is its convenience, tailored to the growing number of people who make purchases through their phones. Once customers have registered with their payment information, making a purchase takes only a simple, Tinder-like swipe – which makes impulse buying dangerously easy. Spring users also can get access to exclusive deals and receive push notifications when favorited items go on sale. The startup’s immediate future looks bright. More than 900 companies have reached out wanting to sell on the platform. For now, Spring is only available in Apple’s App Store in the United States.
uBiome: a company that studies microbes in people’s guts. For as little as $89, the San Francisco-based company sends customers a kit to collect a tiny stool sample. Two other options let them upgrade this “Gut Kit”all the way to a $399 version that also lets users gather samples from their mouth, nose, genitals and skin. Scientists with uBiome remove bacterial DNA from the samples and identify it all. They then send the user a breakdown of how their microbes compare with other people who have submitted samples. You might learn that the bacteria in your gut put you in the same group as people who are vegetarians, or of a certain age, or drink too much, or who reported mental health issues ranging from depression to bipolar disorder to schizophrenia. Recently, uBiome started using a new method that will let it send results to customers in as little as a week, compared with the six-week turnaround it’s had since its launch.
source: cnn

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