More than 25,000 people descended upon Toronto for Collision Conference 2019. Speakers and big brands alike showed up to explore the future and how technology can be leveraged to improve quality of life.
And while the larger companies are set to make a major impact on the world, there are hundreds of startups who have big dreams. Here are twelve interesting small startups that were encountered on the show floor.
Remember Hal from the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey? He wasn’t great at opening pod doors but then Siri isn’t much good at understanding human speech or answering questions either. Hal Is Back has a solution. Instead of using AI to search the Web for answers, it employs teams of local humans, a kind of Uber for everything. Pay $3.99 a month, and you have Hal 24/7. You can ask questions, order food, make reservations, and a human will do the work for you.
The platform launched a year ago and is currently active in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Toronto.
Skyweaver is a trading card game that runs on the Ethereum blockchain and on the maker’s own platform, Arcadia. The game was designed by someone who worked on Magic: The Gathering, and has gameplay that’s familiar to anyone who played that game: there are five prisms; 20 or 30 card decks; creatures cast spells, and so on. The difference is that every card is a cryptocurrency and winning gives you new cards that you can sell and trade with other players, or swap on an exchange.
Grobo is a box about the size of a small closet. Users can choose a recipe from a cannabis app, plant their seed, and the box does the rest. It automates nutrients and lighting, and sends notifications throughout the grow. All you have to do is set, forget, change the water occasionally… then bake some cookies.
When Jeeves is busy and Quora hasn’t a clue, there’s Brien. At least, that’s the hope of the people behind a new Q&A service that’s aimed at the business and legal markets. The service is signing up experts and inviting them to contribute their knowledge to a new system. Is there room in the market for another Q&A service? Ask Brien.
Visiting a dentist is always a scary experience, but would it feel any better if your dentist was a robot? The makers of Dentist Robot certainly hope so. The aim is to make dental treatments easier and less uncomfortable for patients who will only have to visit the doctor once. Software creates a 3D model of a new crown or bridge, which is finished by technicians. The robot is fitted into the patient’s mouth, kept aligned and the new part is put in place. And if that doesn’t scare you off candy, nothing will.
Your mobile phone can supply plenty of information about sites you visit as you travel but it’s still hard to beat a real-life tour guide. CityGuydApp is trying to combine the two. The company first films a guide using 3D cameras as she guides through a tourist site. When you visit that location and open the app, the guide appears on your phone in augmented reality. You get to travel with a guide but keep her in your pocket. The service will be available starting in Israel and France in late summer 2019.
Karma: The Game of Destiny is bringing gamification to classified personals. Instead of joining a dating service and paying a subscription fee, users pay $3.99 and receive a token with three lives. They use that token to buy a profile, and can begin interacting with other users, playing games like Truth or Bomb. Players can zap each other but if they’re zapped three times, they’re out… and lose all their messages and content. Make a match and sponsors can offer discounts on the date. The makers see it as a next generation television show, with opportunities beyond dating. Mostly though, it’s an interactive dating app.
It’s Uber for… cows? Seriously? If you’re a moo with a place to be then Muub will get you where you want to go. Or rather, if you’re a rancher who needs to move cattle, then Muub will put you in touch with truckers who can bid for your business. The service is already available in Colombia, and will soon start a pilot in Brazil. Let’s hope the cows aren’t driving the trucks too.
Building a website has certainly become easier over the last few years but Bookmark want to make it easier still. Their AI service claims to be able to design and build a unique website in around 30 seconds. The company shuns templates in favor of AIDA, its Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant. Answer a bunch of questions, and the AI assistant will search the Web for more information then grab your cursor and start building. The technology took five years to develop and the platform has been active for a year.
Stephen Eades is the father of a young girl on the autism spectrum. His Olli Watch uses simple imagery to keep autistic children on schedule. The children get notifications and reminders telling them what they must do next and are rewarded when they complete the tasks. A biometric monitor watches for rising anxiety and overstimulation, and takes children to a pre-determined calming technique. The watch will be out in early fall 2019, and an app will also be available for the Apple Watch. Stephen Eades says that it can also be used for elderly care.
A trip to a repair shop is never fun. Mechanicly isn’t solving the problem using a robot but it will send a mechanic to your house to work on the car in your garage. As long as the car doesn’t have to be hoisted, they can fix the problem. The cost should be the same or less than a repair shop. Mechanicly currently serves three areas in Canada but expect it in the US soon.
Is your politician doing a good job. Probably not, right? Vote Our Voice is a non-partisan voting tool to grade politicians. Tell the service where you are and pick the topics you care about. The platform will call up relevant legislation and show how your representative voted on the issues that concern you. You’ll be able to see how close your representative matches your views; how your views compare to others in your voting district; and how the voting district compares to its representative.
That’s twelve startups trying to get traction. Some will make it, some probably won’t. Keep an eye on them and see how they grow.