Find a Tutor with StudentBees Sponsored

StudentBees: One-Stop Portal for Everything an Australian Student Needs

Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to worry about university was going to class and studying? Sadly, reality is a bit more complicated. Students nowadays have to worry about housing, finding affordable books, tutors, and getting part-time jobs to pay for all these things. What’s worse, while there are sites out there where students can find these things, there isn’t a single site that has them all on one page, devoted exclusively to university students. Until now. Presenting StudentBees: the Australian student’s one-stop site for all things university-related.

StudentBees Home

StudentBees was started by Australian students who faced a universal challenge: they lacked a single portal to find everything they were looking for, from buying and selling furniture to exploring financial assistance options. So they built StudentBees, which also has a forum for students from specific universities to discuss their experiences or seek advice. But of course, all of this useful information would be relatively meaningless if it wasn’t organized in an intelligent and easy-to-use manner. Fortunately it is, so let’s take a quick spin, shall we?

Visitors to the home page will immediately see a simple navigator bar up top spelling out options: Things for Sale, Housing, Jobs, Tutoring, Unit News, Links, Deals, Forum, About StudentBees, and Blog. Below that, visitors see some text about the site and below that, excerpts of available products and services. For example, visitors will see close to 6,000 Things for Sale, including Apple laptops and smart phones. As you can imagine, these are things students need, and if they can find these products at an affordable price, they’ll be much better off. Meanwhile, the page’s right-hand column shows the handy and very important Facebook user widget and below that, University News.

The benefit for students attending university is, of course, pretty obvious. They can save money on expenses, find affordable housing, and get the academic support they need. And in fact, it’s this latter piece – providing ongoing educational services, in addition to giving students a platform to buy and sell goods – which makes StudentBees stand out. They can check out entertainment options in their area, get discounted offers to events, and, using the forum page, get advice from other students (because if we remember correctly, we had a lot of questions about everything when we were 20 years old.) And because of this, StudentBees can also benefit students who live at home.

Find a Tutor with StudentBees

We couldn’t help but sense a bit of irony upon seeing that Facebook widget. As we all know, Facebook was originally created for college students only. Of course, that didn’t last very long – soon the platform grew to it’s current state of over one billion users. This made us wonder: if Facebook, naturally, is no longer focused on serving university students, who is? The answer was “no one,” until we came across StudentBees, the definitive one-stop portal for everything an Australian university student needs.

MiniJoops Home Sponsored

MiniJoops: One-Stop-Shopping for Handmade Children’s Clothes and Accessories

A friend of mine makes coffee sweaters.  What, pray tell, are coffee sweaters?  Well, they’re little knitted things that you wrap around to-go coffee cups so you don’t burn your hands.  It’s a simple idea, and she makes a decent amount selling them.  In many ways, it’s the Internet at its finest – providing a platform for unique designers and niche manufacturers to get their wares out there.

All of this got me thinking: nowadays we have all types of sites that act as aggregators for small, handmade manufacturers; wouldn’t it be cool if a site existed for, say, children’s clothes?  Because as much as we like buying stuff at Wal-mart and Target, we also like supporting small mom-and-pop designers, knowing that our purchase goes directly into their pocketbook.  Well, there is such a site.  It’s called MiniJoops, it was created by a mom looking to buy clothes for her kids, and it’s our featured start-up today.

MiniJoops Home

MiniJoops is exactly what you’d want it to be: an e-commerce site where you can shop for unique, handmade children’s clothes from various mom-and-pop (though we’d imagine it’s mostly “mom”) manufacturers.  The site is efficiently organized with a navigation bar that includes Catalog, clothes for Boys, Girls, Baby, plus Toys, Accessories, Brands, Blogs, and a Mini Cafe, which is user forum.

The usability factor increases exponentially once you actually click on, say, the Catalog page.  It’s clean and simple: a table of thumbnails showing all products without the clutter of text or pricing.  On this page you can sort by Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, Onesies (which reminds me, at what age is it not cool to wear onesies?  Or what about onsies for adults?  That could be the next big thing….), Sweaters, Jumpsuits, and Playwear.

Hover over a product – in this case, this awesome “You’ve Cat to Be Kitten Me Right Meow” shirt and you see the price; click on it and you see a description, the price, and the manufacturer.  Simply select the size and add it to your Cart or add it to your Wishlist.  Easy.  This particular product was designed and screen printed by Raygun, cut and sewn by American Apparel in Los Angeles, and Made in the USA.  We bring this up because this is perhaps the coolest thing about MiniJoops: the ability for savvy shoppers to direct their money towards small, locally-made products.  (It also doesn’t hurt that the products themselves are super-cool.)

MiniJoops Boys Clothes

So take the Brands page for example.  By hovering over it on the home page, you can select from various manufacturers: Petibo, Theif and Bandit, Wovenplay, etc.  (For a second you may mistakenly think you’re reading up on some hip new San Francisco restaurants.)   I clicked on Wovenplay and learned that “At Wovenplay, each piece is created with love and imagination, and is hand-finished in our magical studio located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn!”  Cool stuff.

So who is MiniJoops for?  The short answer: anyone who wants to buy children’s clothes or accessories.  Like a classic e-commerce site, it makes the act of buying clothes quick, easy, and painless – no need to wait in line at the mall, no parking lot rage, etc.  But better yet, by showcasing amazing, local, mom-and-pop designers it allows savvy users to spend their money knowing it’s going to, well, amazing, local, mom-and-pop designers.

Which brings me to the classic adage about children: not everyone has children, but if you do, they need clothes and if you don’t have children, you nonetheless know people who do, and their children at some point will need clothes.*  So our advice: buy cool stuff and feel good about it with MiniJoops.

* We admit it’s pretty clumsy as far as adages go.

Home Insurance Calculator Home Sponsored

Home Insurance Calculator: Shop Around, Save Money, and Mock the “Experts”

According to this recent piece in Fox News, home insurance rates are on the rise.  That’s bad.  But the article then goes on to say that hope is not lost; there are ways homeowners can reduce their home insurance premiums.  They can, for example, “shop around,” “calculate your insurance needs,” and “choose a high-deductible plan.”  There’s just one problem.  Aside from choosing a high-deductible plan, these pieces of advice are a lot easier said than done.

After all, homeowners know they should shop around.  They know they should calculate their insurance needs.  But they don’t.  And why is that?  Because it’s hard, it’s confusing, and it’s time-consuming.  Until….(drum roll)….now.  Introducing Home Insurance Calculator, a web site equipped with tools, resources, and information to help homeowners choose an affordable plan without the hassle.

Home Insurance Calculator Home

Home Insurance Calculator consists of it’s crown jewel – the calculator itself – on the home page (which we’ll get to later), plus a Home Insurance Guide, Home Insurance Comparison page, information on a state-by-state basis, FAQ, Glossary, and Blog.  So before we dig into the calculator itself, let’s take a quick spin at the Homeowners Insurance Guide page.  But before we do, a quick tangent.  Ever see those “man on the street” interviews that Jay Leno used to do, whereby they’d ask random people on the street simple questions like, “Who’s the Vice President?” or “What does the DMV stand for?”  Eight out 10 times, sadly, people look rather foolish.  And our point is this: if the average person doesn’t know these basic things, how are they supposed to comprehend the complexities of home insurance?  It gets even scarier when your hard-earned dollars are at stake.  All of this makes the Homeowners Insurance Guide so helpful.  It spells out the ins and outs of home insurance simply and without the legalese that makes your head spin.

For example, under “Forms of Insurance,” it describes HO-2 Home Insurance like this: “Normally, this is where your form search will start.  It covers your house and personal belongings as long as the damage occurs as a result of pre-determined causes.”   Even I understand that!!  Better yet, if it’s greater detail you crave, you can simply check out the pages devoted to each specific form of insurance, like the HO-1 policy page here.

So, just by taking five minutes to review the Homeowners Insurance Guide, you’ll be equipped for the nitty-gritty: actually shopping around.  So I entered my zip code into the calculator – which again, is found on the home page – and was instantly greeted with eight carriers in my home state.  I went to each page, got my respective quotes, and – tada! – realized I officially “shopped around.”  And it only took, what, 20 minutes?  Imagine if I shopped around the old-fashioned way via the telephone; one could quickly understand why so many homeowners want to compare providers, but don’t – without an online tool to guide the process, it’s a pain.

Home Insurance Calculator Map

So, to recap thus far.  In less than the time it takes to cook dinner, we’ve been able to quickly ramp up on home insurance basics, shop around across multiple carriers, and limit our search to a handful of carriers.  You’d be forgiven to think you’re done, but there’s one more step – one that Home Insurance Calculator acknowledges in its FAQ page.  Specifically, this step involves understanding the specific, random, and confusing details that may significantly influence your rates.  For example, the FAQ page addresses important questions like “”My insurance company does not pay for a claim another company would pay.  What can I do?” and “”Which elements of a home insurance policy are the most important?”  In other words, if the insurance “devil” is in the details, consider this page a kind of exorcist.

This bring us back to the Fox News page with their helpful tips.  We’re grateful someone took the time to spell them out, but when reading the article, the cynic in us can’t help but say, “Duh!”   For example, an “expert” in the aforementioned article noted – brace yourselves – “You want to take a look and see what’s out there.  You may save money going to another company, or you may not.”  Wow – who knew?

Our point is this: ideas like “saving money,” “shopping around,” and “seeing what’s out there” are easy to conceptualize and agree upon in theory.  It’s actually doing it in the real world that’s difficult, which is why, well, no one actually does it.  Fortunately, Home Insurance Calculator changes the dynamic.  It allows homeowners to quickly and easily shop around, educate themselves, and save money in the process.  It may even put a few so-called “experts” out of business.

4AutoInsuranceQuotes Home Sponsored

4AutoInsuranceQuote: Helpful Guidance to Navigate the No-Man’s Land of Auto Insurance

As everyone knows, the Founding Fathers weren’t too keen on “the common folk.”  They didn’t trust them.  The “masses” were rude, unwashed, uneducated, and an unruly lot.  This is why we have checks and balances, the Electoral College, and lifetime Supreme Court justices.  And, I must say, time has proved the Founders to be relatively prescient.  When left to their own devices, the “masses” can do some seriously dumb stuff – just look at, say, the Whiskey Rebellion, the French Revolution, and the baffling rise of One Direction.

But sometimes the “masses” can prove to be valuable.  After all, isn’t that what social media is based on – the insight of friends, colleagues, and folks who have had similar experiences?  This is why we love sites like Yelp, Stack Overflow, and Amazon’s product review page.  And wouldn’t it be nice if there was a site where you could parlay peoples’ experiences in the complicated world of auto insurance?  Again: wouldn’t that be nice?  Well, with its cool Forum feature, 4AutoInsuranceQuote does precisely that.  It’s good stuff, and it’s our feature today.

4AutoInsuranceQuotes Home

Now before we dive into the “crowd-sourced” component of 4AutoInsuranceQuote, let’s first look at what else it provides.  Because it’s a pretty movable feast here.  The site has an easy-to-use quote calculator tool that can save you hundreds of dollars by the time you finish…reading…this…sen.…tence.  It has a blog, learning center, and a glossary to help you read up on auto insurance concepts – and impress your date in the process.  It also allows you to search auto insurance regulations and requirements by state, all Federalist-style which – again, a shout-out to my boy James Madison – is what our country is based on.  Each of these tools on their own is worthy of praise, but since we now live in a world where you can spend thousands of dollars on, say, a vacation rental based on the recommendations of complete strangers, I’d like to focus on the Forum.

The Forum is cool because auto insurance is seemingly infinite in its complexity.  One plan can trigger dozens of different outcomes.  Different cars can yield different plans.  Different locations can yield different rates.  It’s some deep, quantum physics stuff.  Makes you wonder if “reality” is even really real.  And because of that, sometimes auto insurance answers cannot be tidily explained – an additional layer of detail is needed and a personalized response is required.  This is why the Forum is cool.  So let’s take an example.  Word on the street is that Hondas are the most-stolen car.  (Word on the street also says that “most-stolen” is likely bad grammar.)  So here, in the Forum, an individual asks, “What’s the insurance for a 17 year old in Florida buying a 2009 Honda Civic 2-door coupe?”  The answer is “it depends” (as are most answers in life), but the Forum also provides some helpful contextual information, noting that the 2009 Honda Civic has great safety ratings, which can help lower rates.  The more safety features, the greater the discount.

4AutoInsuranceQuotes Quote

The Forum also recognizes the differences in auto insurance and enforcement rules by state.  So this poor sap, in another example, was caught without insurance in the great state of Massachusetts.  In the process, we learn that Massachusetts offenders will receive at least a fine of $500 and a 60-day suspended license.  Bummer.  We also learned that due to high traffic congestion and poor roads, Massachusetts auto insurance rates are abnormally high.  (But oh, that chowdah!!!)  Needless to say, the information was quite useful.  (That said, the responses left our poor sap rattled.  His most recent response was traced to a seedy Internet cafe just south of Tijuana.)

So, in summary, does the 4AutoInsuranceQuote Forum have all the answers?  No.  It probably can’t tell you “who made God,” much less why you “drive on parkways and park on driveways.”  But it provides tremendous value in addressing the “no-man’s land” of auto insurance: the space where broad concepts and sheer numbers fail to account for the intricacies and complexities of unique situations.  Again, this is valuable because – spoiler alert! – life is messy.  Throw in its other available tools – the learning center, glossary, blog, and of course, the auto insurance calculator – and 4AutoInsuranceQuote is enough to make the Founding Fathers smile a big group-smile, flashing those disgusting, rotting wooden teeth of theirs.  Ugh…gross.

Insurance Panda Home Sponsored

Insurance Panda: Your One-Stop Auto Insurance Resource (With a Really Cool Mascot Too)

When you hear the term “insurance panda,” some thoughts may come to mind.  For example, you may surmise (and hope) that Geico ditched that annoying talking Aussie lizard, put up some billboards inside the panda den at the National Zoo, and gave the beloved Mei Xiang a name-change: the insurance panda.  But alas, that’s not the case.  (Apparently Geico’s marketing department has charts to prove that customers love being barraged by an annoying talking Aussie lizard.)  But there is good news, and it’s this: there’s a site that acts as an auto insurance clearinghouse, enabling cost-conscious drivers to educate themselves around various providers (including the aforementioned Geico) save money, and do so all without legal mumbo-jumbo.  And it just so happens to be called Insurance Panda.  What are the odds?

Insurance Panda Home

To these eyes, Insurance Panda is a lot like a JD Power, but for auto insurers.  You know JD Powers, don’t you?  They are the folks that objectively rate cars, whether it’s around comfort, safety, value, etc.  Over the years they’ve become the go-to guys (and gals) if you want an honest shake regarding a new or used car.  And what makes JD Power – and by extension, Insurance Panda – so valuable?  Information.  Because information is (JD) power.  (Whoa!)

Let us explain.

Insurance Panda is structured such that viewers can glean useful information in a quick and understandable way.  Again, no proverbial lawyers lurking over the proceedings.  Let’s take their Insurance Guide.  It’s broken up across six key sub-categories, a few of which we’ll highlight here, starting with Car Insurance Quotes.  Here the Panda (not sure if it’s a guy or a girl) will determine your auto quote via its calculator by considering the following information: your car, your driving record, your vehicle history, your credit score, and your neighborhood.  Its back-end algorithm shakes up the information and spits out a quote that you can live (or not) live with.  If it’s too steep, you can tweak the premiums and deductibles and such to get something more appetizing.  This part is cool because, naturally, it saves you time.  I mean, we use aggregation tools everyday to find the cheapest deal – be it flights on Kayak, hotels on Orbitz, etc. – and now we can do the same on Insurance Panda.

But massaging premiums and deductibles and such isn’t as easy as we so cavalierly made it sound.  That is, you need to know what affects what – a decimal point here and there, and suddenly we’re talking real money.  And Insurance Panda’s Car Insurance Comparison page gives you the tools to intelligently tweak the numbers.  (After all, just because the Panda appears to be chewing straw doesn’t mean he/she’s not working hard for you.)  Then, of course, there are the auto insurance companies themselves.  Insurance Panda’s Car Insurance Companies page lists them all on one page, each with their customer satisfaction score as pulled from  These scores take a look at the average score for each insurance company’s claims processing, customer service, value for price, and additional factors (including, perhaps, insidious reptilian mascots.)

Insurance Panda Map

Now let’s do a quick thought experiment.  Let’s say you were starting from scratch in terms of finding auto insurance.  It’d go like this.  First, you’d call, say, State Farm.  You’d be on the phone for 35 minutes (if you’re lucky), get your quote, write down the information, and hang up.  Then you’d call Allstate and do the same.  Then you’d call Nationwide.  Then Geico.  Then Progressive.  Perhaps by this point you’d make a nifty little spreadsheet comparing stuff.  Except, actually, you’re terrible at spreadsheets and you accidentally pressed a button that deleted everything!  Oh, but then you pressed another button and recovered it!  Next, you narrowed your choice down to, say, three contenders, but want to understand how minor tweaks to your plan can affect your rates.  So you Google “how minor tweaks to your plan affect your rates.”  The Google Search results are uninspiring.  You’re demoralized.  You’re hungry.  You want a sandwich.

With Insurance Panda, however, you can do all of these steps on one web page, and do it much quicker, and do it for free.  And that’s why we like it, and that’s why, if you’re considering a new auto plan, or looking to change an existing one, you owe it to yourself to give it a spin (get it?  Spin?)  And as a bonus, there will be no annoying, almost patronizing mascots to deal with.

Which brings us to our final point.  In addition to providing scintillating start-up features, SlapStart occasionally gives illuminating marketing advice, free of charge.  And last we checked Panda Express, the fast-food Chinese chain, had a panda as their mascot.  But check it out – it’s kinda lame.  (And besides “Panda Express” makes no sense.  Pandas move slowly.  What’s next – Tortoise Lightning?  Sloth Blitzkrieg?)  Anyway, our point: there’s ample opportunity here for the Insurance Panda to corner the “erudite, accountant-like” mascot market.  I’m thinking bifocals, a clipboard, and maybe a nice Cardigan sweater.  That’s gold, baby, gold!

Car Insurance Calculator Sponsored

Car Insurance Calculator: Free Customized Auto Insurance Quotes (and Then Some)

A few months ago, with a heavy heart, I got rid of my old vehicle.  It was very emotional.  The tow truck driver came by and hauled it off to a local junkyard and I kept singing the Neil Young song “Long May You Run” in my head (it’s about his car.)  The decision was based on cold, hard cash: my newer vehicle was more fuel efficient, and, I assumed, cheaper when it came to insurance because is was newer and nicer.  Imagine my surprise when my insurance rates went up.  So much for being a responsible, “green”-minded consumer!

Of course, the insurance hike wouldn’t have kept me from buying a new car, but it underscored the bizarre complexity of the auto insurance world.  There doesn’t seem to be any logic behind it.  And the word “insurance,” after all, is a loaded one: drivers have to worry about collision, liability, comprehensive insurance – the list goes on.  And if you weren’t confused enough, all of this stuff varies state-by-state (remember that lecture on “federalism” from civics class?)

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one site that compiled all this information – insurance rates, quotes, legal requirements, and then some – across all 50-states?  Well (you probably have a hunch by now) there is.  It’s called  It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s our featured start-up on this fine day. provides three key services.  One, it provides a car insurance calculator to get instant auto insurance quotes online from trusted carriers in your area.  Two, it lets drivers learn about car insurance companies and their ratings in the info center and discover how to calculate car insurance rates by reading trough the different factors used to determine premiums.  And three, it lets drivers get the latest auto insurance news on’s blog.

So let’s cut to the chase; namely, how the calculator lets drivers shop around for the best rates possible.  On the home page, in the upper-left hand corner, I typed in my zip code and was taken to a page where I could enter my vehicle details: vehicle year, make, model; leased or owned; primary use, daily mileage, and annual mileage.  Then I entered the type of coverage wanted, deductible, etc., as well as driver information, including credit rating, occupation, and past history of accidents.  Lastly, I enter my contact information.  Upon hitting enter, I was taken to a page which provided instant quotes from various insurance companies based in my state.  Easy!  I was able to shop around, tweak my requirements, and find the best deal available.

Now one thing we like to do here at Slapstart is address the elephant(s) in the room as they apply to any given start-up.  So we know what you’re thinking: “Don’t other sites, like, say, Progressive, allow you to ‘shop around’ for auto insurance quotes too?”  And our answer is, “Yes, but not all of these sites are the same” for the simple reason of good ol’ fashioned incentives.  Call us cynical, but we find it hard to believe that an insurance company would voluntarily and happily send you and your hard earned dollars to a competitor.  (Or to look at it another way, when you go to the check-out aisle at Wal-Mart, do they say, “Actually, thanks and everything but you should go to Target instead.”)  We’re not saying it doesn’t happen, but wouldn’t it be easier to put your faith in an objective third-party with no direct financial incentive?  Like, say, Form

That’s what provides: objective calculations whereby it acts like your own personal broker.  Throw in the fact that you can learn about how to reduce your premiums by studying different types of insurance or by checking out their info center, and we’re talking some serious money saved.  (For example, as a fan of astrology, I learned that auto insurance premiums, contrary to what I thought, were not influenced by the the outer extremes of Mercury’s path cross the orbits of both Saturn and Neptune.)

Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

So that’s what can do.  What it can’t do, unfortunately, is help you deal with the emotional trauma of getting rid of your old vehicle.  It can’t stop the tormented dreams, the emptiness, and the occasional tears.  So that’s our recommendation for version 2.0: some functionality to let you chat with an online therapist.  Lord knows I could have used it.

FlexBooker Home Sponsored

FlexBooker: Online Gym/Studio Scheduling Platform that Gives Customers One Less Excuse to Exercise

Did you know that if you write down “exercise on Monday” in your datebook you’re 45% more likely to actually exercise?  Unfortunately I can’t “source” the data per se, but I did hear it once on some self-help radio talk show.  So naturally, it must be true.  In other words, the more people consciously plan to exercise, the more likely they are to actually do it.

But what about the gym or studios themselves?  That is, if you’re a gym owner, do you often ask yourself, “How organized and well-planned are we?”  And “are we doing everything in our power to make it shockingly easy for our customers to exercise?”  Regardless of your answer to this question, we highly encourage you to take a good, long, hard look at FlexBooker.  It’s a new and simple widget that allows you to easily create and manage your class schedules while allowing customers to instantly sign up.

FlexBooker Home

Now, when we here at Slapstart first take a look at a start-up we inevitably ask ourselves one critical question: what problem does this new start-up solve?  If the start-up doesn’t exactly solve a problem, our enthusiasm dims quite a bit.  If the start-up takes an existing problem and actually makes it worse, we existentially fret for the future of the human race.  But when the start-up takes an all-too-common dilemma provides an elegant solution, well, we leap up from our desk chairs, click our heels, and quickly whistle a tune from “The Sound of Music.”

And the problem that FlexBooker solves should resonate with anyone who goes to the gym or longs to: it helps busy, over-worked, smart phone-reliant people easily schedule classes.  I hate to ask you to conjure the thought of, say, a stressed out banker racing out of his office at 9 pm or a “super-mom” hauling kids around in a mini-van, but this is the world we live in.  And these people want to exercise but it’s difficult for them to easily fit it into their 15-hour days.  Flexbooker lets them do this – and here’s how.

First, it provides tools for the gym or studio to easily create and manage a class schedule.  This is important because gyms or studios will generally fall into two camps.  The first camp: those with no online class schedule or booking system whatsoever; and secondly, those who do have one.  If you’re in the former category – and at the expense of sounding a bit harsh – it’s time to get with the regimen.  (Just imagine a jacked-up trainer screaming in your ear.)  A lack of an online class scheduling system is costing you business.  And if you do have a system in place, you need to ask yourself: how easy is it, really?  Am I still taking reservations over the phone?  Can people register on their smart phones?  Are changes easy and instant or does some IT guy/gal have to do it?

FlexBooker gets you closer to doing sit-ups

Our point is that even if you do have a system in place, FlexBooker is worth a look because it simplifies the entire process.  Which brings us to the fact that when rolled out in the real world, FlexBooker provides a widget that gym or studio owners can drop into their existing website, enabling customers to book classes from anywhere, including, of course, smart phones.  Better yet, FlexBooker includes an automated class reminder.  So when an overworked soccer mom is yelling at the referee for not calling a foul on little Johnny’s third-grade nemesis Todd, she won’t resort to physical violence because she’ll get an e-mail or text message reminding her she has yoga class in 2 hours (and, by extension, to breathe deeply).  This reminder system keeps customers happy and preserves your business by cutting down on no-shows.  And it’s worth noting that FlexBooker offers a 30-day free trial, so you really have nothing to lose (except more business).

Making excuses for not exercising goes way back to our prehistoric ancestors, when a caveman named Gog (aren’t they always named Gog?) opted to chill in his cave, blankly staring at a fire rather than rolling a stone wheel up a hill to train for that summer’s Woolly Mammoth hunt.  Fortunately, with FlexBooker’s easy-to-install widget, there’s one less excuse for your customers to exercise and one fantastic new tool for gym and studio owners to grow their business.

eBounties Home Startup

eBounties: Want Something? Just Ask the Crowd

If you were to go back and read science fiction at the dawn of the computer era, the optimism was staggering.  Technologists predicted flying cars, the end of disease and famine, and even teleportation.

Fast-forward to 2013 and the Internet age, and what do we have to show for it?  Websites of streaming videos of kittens.

Mind you, that’s a harsh assessment: the Internet, of course, is extremely valuable and has improved lives (and OMG those cats are adorable).  But many contrarians argue that a lot of the brainpower and effort that goes into making the next site about men who look like Kenny Rogers could best be directed at creating sites that can y’know, help people.  Which is why we’re so excited about  eBounties.

eBounties Home

eBounties is a crowdsourcing platform that lets users post what they want, and get it.  Better yet, by providing whatever a user wants you the provider can reap financial rewards.  These rewards, or bounties, are all pre-approved through PayPal to confirm that the money is available.  As you can imagine, this model is tremendously flexible and promising.  Bounties can be awarded for the personal (e.g. “I’m looking for a male 30-something tennis coach in Boston for my teenage son”) to the business-oriented. For example a company seeking the right employee. In this case they could choose to pay the bounty only after a successful hire.

To get started, you need to register.  The site is free, and once registration is out of the way, you can naturally post what you’re looking for or respond to a need.  Users browsing the site can claim a bounty in two ways: by providing the exact knowledge, service, item or connection that a buyer is looking for; or by connecting the buyer with someone who has it.  It’s that simple.

We specifically like eBounties for two reasons.  One, the level of precision it brings to the searching process.  The Internet makes looking for things pretty easy, but as we all know, search engines can only do so so much.  Or, as eBounties Luke Chao notes, “You can’t just go to Google and type in ‘hypnotherapists in Toronto who are looking for part-time contract work’ or ‘a nine-foot tall mirror that could be mounted like a door for under $100’ and get useful results.”  With eBounties, you can.

Second, we like how eBounties’ model differentiates it from the competition.  Their FAQ page makes no bones about it: if you want to sell your old sofa, eBay or Craigslist is probably a better bet.  They have no designs on infringing on that turf.  Rather, eBounties is all about relationships, matching well-connected sellers who provide a valuable service to buyers.  eBounties can help both parties do away with the middleman – headhunters, matchmakers, or other service providers – while also acknowledging that sometimes providing a connection is just as valuable as providing a tangible product.  It also doesn’t hurt that the site navigation is clean, simple, and easy to use.

Which brings us back to the less-than-useful nature of many elements of the Internet.  We won’t dwell on it, lest we inadvertently slander the hard work of many intelligent people out there (like the person who created SpamRadio.  Stunning work, really.)  So instead we’ll say this.  Since our ancestors first crawled out of a festering, putrid swamp many millennia ago, we as humans have been searching– for shelter, for the meaning of life, or maybe just a good burrito.  It’s part of our DNA.  This existential quest may never end, but with its flair for the precise and a seller-centric model, eBounties can make searching (and life) a lot easier.

So check it out.  And while you’re at it, maybe drop a line to Bono’s publicist.  Apparently during a recent concert in Berlin he still hadn’t found what he was looking for.  As tech-savvy as he probably is, he could still probably use a head’s up.

Clean Pickup Home Sponsored

Clean Pickup: Your One-Stop Your Laundry Pick-Up and Delivery Provider

I recently spent about a week in New York City.  It was insane.  And that’s because I don’t live a the city.  Where I live, even some of the most seemingly annoying tasks – like driving to Target to buy new flip-flops, for example – are relatively seamless.  One could even say pleasant.

In the city?  Not so much.  The sense of siege was real: crowded subways, horns honking at 4 a.m., trash piling up, precariously threatening to topple over and devour a sidewalk at any minute.  (I even saw a driver honk at a limping woman feebly and slowly crossing the street!)  My point: under such duress, people rarely have the time, much less the desire, to engage in mundane tasks.  Which is why I wasn’t surprised to see, on my friend’s fridge, a magnet for a local pick-up laundry service.  “That’s something I’d pay for, no matter the cost,” I told myself.

But not everyone is as fortunate to have a magnet somehow appear on their fridge.  That is, city or not, we’re busy people, and things like laundry get put off until it piles up – literally and metaphorically – at the absolute worst time.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy, convenient way where you could find a laundry and dry cleaning provider who (especially in the Big Apple) picks up your stuff, cleans it, and delivers it to your door, hassle-free?

Lucky for you there’s Clean Pickup.

Clean Pickup Home

Clean Pickup is exactly what you imagine it would be and precisely what you want it to be: a service that takes care of your laundry.  It’s simple, it’s painless, and it’s free.  And here’s how it works.

First, simply enter you address and viola – you get a list of all local cleaners who not only are nearby, but will pick-up your laundry.  Second, schedule a pick-up time online.  Next, forget about your laundry for a spell and go on living your life until it’s ready.  You’ll know this because you’ll get a helpful reminder from Clean Pickup.  And lastly, arrange the delivery.  Heck, imagine yourself opening your front door, clad in slippers and bathrobe, with your clean laundry delivered to your doorstep.  It can happen!

Clean Pickup also has a rewards system: every time you schedule through the site you earn 2,500 points.  Reward points can be easily redeemed online for a variety of cool things, like Amazon Gift Cards, or even charitable donations.  For example, get a $5 Amazon Gift Card for just 11,000 points. Get a $10 Amazon Gift Card for just 20,000 points.  Furthermore, Clean Pickup can be a boon for laundry services themselves.  Clean Pickup will drive more customers their way and won’t charge a monthly service fee.  This is especially good news for services based in places like New York where competition is fierce.  (More info on that here.)

So that, dear readers, is Clean Pickup in a nutshell.  No crazy bells or whistles, just a clean, simple, easy-to-navigate, mobile-friendly site that will make your life easier.  It fits nicely in a long chronology of city dwellers expecting (and demanding) convenience- such as New Yorkers embracing their constitutional right (you can look it up) to have access to quick, home-delivered Chinese food, or more recently, grocery delivery services like Fresh Direct.  So why not a door-to-door laundry service portal?  It makes perfect sense.

Clean Pickup is all about minimizing life’s seemingly annoying tasks and giving you more time back in your day.  So, using the case of the aforementioned example pertaining to New York, this means City Pickup can give you more time to, let’s say, bask in glorious recycled subway air, meditate on the Zen-like quality of blaring car horns, and ponder the complexities of life while clumsily tripping over street corner trash bags.

What’s not to love?

EVNTLIVE Home Sponsored

EVNTLIVE: On-Demand Provider of Live Concerts

For better or worse, I am a fan of the New York Yankees.  It’s how I was raised; I had no choice in the matter.  But I do have a choice whether to go to their games in the Bronx, and every time I choose not to buy a ticket.  The answer is simple: cost, convenience, and the fact I can have an equally great experience from the comfort of my own home.  In other words, professional sports have figured this problem out, and fans consider it perfectly natural to skip the “real” thing and instead watch it on TV, tablet, or iPhone.

So what if this same phenomenon was applied to live music?  What if, instead of having to navigate through a complex ticket purchasing process, getting gouged by ridiculous fees, and getting beer spilled on you in the way-back row, you could see your favorite live concerts on your tablet, computer, or phone?

With EVNTLIVE, you can.

EVNTLIVE isn’t just a purveyor of online media, it is – if you can wrap your head around it – an actual venue.  It’s an on-demand curator of live concerts online, which makes it akin to a real, physical club, but in digital form.  It’s tremendously cool and much like television with our aforementioned sports analogy, it’s poised to revolutionize the way we “watch” live music.

At the most fundamental level, users will be able to watch Webcasts of live concerts.  Of course, large-scale festivals have this capability, but oftentimes small clubs do not.   Furthermore, the market lacks a single place where users can pull up live concerts, much like they do with music on, say, Spotify.  With EVNTLIVE they can do precisely that.  Users can pay for concerts either on a pay-per-view basis on a sliding scale, at reduced rates, or for free, thanks to sponsors.  Also don’t be surprised if smart musicians out there voluntarily offer concerts for free.  Free publicity is a good thing.

Better yet, EVNTLIVE is fully attuned to our social media world.  You know how during a rocking live show, you turn to your friend and say, “That song ruled!” and your friend says, “What?”  And you scream, “I SAID! THAT! SONG! RULED!” and your friend says, “What?” (And then someone spills a beer on you.)  Well, we can safely say that’s a thing of the past: users can share Twitter and Facebook events of the show in real-time, building a mini-ecosystem around a specific show where people can interact and meet like-minded fans.


Now here at Slapstart we deal with all kinds of start-ups, from the large to the small.  And a cursory Google search finds that EVNTLIVE isn’t fooling around.  It’s already lined up a list of impressive on-demand performances, including Shelby Lynne, Flogging Molly, and Gogol Bordello.  The cost?  Only $2.99 or $3.99 per show.  Users can feel part of the magic of an exciting 40,000 person arena show, or the intimacy or a small club show.  And EVNTLIVE is especially a dream come true for music fans whose favorite artists aren’t touring in their part of the country.

Which bring us to EVNTLIVE’s massive launch just a few days ago.  EVNTLIVE streamed Bon Jovi’s US tour-ending performance in San Jose, CA on April 26th.  In the process, EVNTLIVE made national headlines.  If this is a sign of things to come, the future looks bright for EVNTLIVE, and more importantly, music fans.

On a final note, it’s also worth noting that Jon Bon Jovi grew up in Sayerville, NJ, a mere 35 miles south from where the New York Yankees play.  Coincidence?   I think not.