SAN FRANCISCO -- Startups focused on giving consumers better experiences in travel, entertainment and behavioral economics are among those vying for attention at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference Monday, as e-commerce and financial exhibitors await to take their place the next day. Three ventures in particular are looking to give busy mobile users a little extra support in their daily lives.
Ever browse through a lifestyle magazine with stunning photography and a glowing write-up of a destination never heard of, or a great hotel in place you've always wanted to visit, only to forget about it by the time you actually need to plan a getaway? TripTease, based in London and San Francisco, lets you see and share content related to travel created by ordinary customer/reviewers who want to post images and comments, along with professional travel bloggers. Design is front and center: It features large images of venues, and you can also follow the posters you appreciate. The key is that you can tag your favorites and build a wish list of places you'd like to decamp to one day.
Charlie Osmond, whose business card gives him the title "chief tease," says that TripTease works with hotels and hospitality companies to market their properties, and that it hopes to get prospective travelers to book directly from the content. So, no more feverish Googling or sifting through a stack of magazines. Impulse buyers, you have been warned.
Gathering All the Videos From One Place, In One Place
Tacking a different tack in the business of user-generated content, CrowdFlik coordinates video uploaded via its mobile app by precise time and location, so that you can quickly look through what's been shot by others at the same occasion or event.
Chris Hamer, its CEO and founder, says the service "bridges the massive gap between users and events" in crowdsourcing -- where multitudes of people contribute content. Think about a child's birthday party, where two dozen parents take video clips that are sent off to different YouTube channels or social streams, instead of being aggregated and visible to all attendees. (More broadly, think of a dramatic event like the Boston Marathon bombings, and the possibility of seeing what's been recorded from various sources.)
The CrowdFlik app is available free and carries no advertising. For the time being, it's basing its business on sponsored events and brands that want to gain visibility and let others use and edit time- and location-specific video. Hamer gets excited about what's possible in delivering local content, and how a brand like Chevrolet can connect with high-school football aficionados in Texas, for example. We're not too far from a world where cable networks could cut to CrowdFlik when there's a breaking news event somewhere.
Getting Your Bad Habits Under Control
Finally, if you've ever tried using a curse jar or a calorie-counting app, you might have noticed that your progress on taming your bad habits is mixed. To this end, a startup called Vicejar -- so new that its CEO and co-founder hasn't left his day job yet -- has you put real money where your mouth is. It also ropes in others to push you along, whether the goal is to save more cash or smoke or drink less. Jackson Quach, who has spent years in corporate finance, said he and his friends thought there would already be an app out there to help them stay on top of exercise goals, as well as incentivize healthier behavior, until they looked around. Then, they built Vicejar.
Money you stash in Vicejar pays no interest or market return yet, according to Quach, who's pointing attendees at the show to a YouTube video describing the service, a somewhat irreverent ad that's not suitable for work. As long as they're helping us save, the kids at Disrupt might be all right.
For more from the conference, visit the TechCrunch Disrupt website.
Anthony Lazarus is a contributing editor for DailyFinance. Follow him on Twitter @Sr_Lazarus.