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Monthly Archives: March 2017

7 Businesses Transforming Travel

Traveling is a rewarding experience. Between food, drinks and sights, there are a multitude of memories and experiences not to be forgotten.

Often, planning your trip and getting to the destination is the hardest part. These 7 businesses aim to make traveling less stressful and more enjoyable.

Snapshots are the best part of vacation; it gives you the opportunity to relive your favorite moments. Flytographer takes that concept and helps you plan a trip. According to the company’s website, you can “meet with one of [the company’s] local photographers around the world, have a stroll together and bring home the best souvenir possible — memories.” Simply search for a photographer you like in the location you’re traveling to and book a photo shoot via the company’s website after you’ve finalized your trip details. When it’s time for your shoot, your photographer will guide you around and take candid photos (though he or she will also take posed portraits, if you prefer).

Love the water but not sure how to properly rent a boat while away?GetMyBoat provides a peer-to-peer marketplace giving boat owners the power to rent their boats and vacationers the opportunity to experience a yacht, speedboat or watercraft of their dreams at an affordable price. GetMyBoat is bridging the gap of boat ownership costs. Boating enthusiasts get the benefits of worldwide inventory without the cost or headache of ownership. And as the average boat is only used 8 percent of the year, boat owners get the chance to make owning a boat more affordable by earning some income from their under-utilized asset, the site said.

Remove the hassle and pressure of planning activities on vacation with Peek. The site curates a selection of fun activities for you that you can book online or via the company’s mobile app. You can also use Peek’s Travel Guides to see an overview of the top things to see or use the “Perfect Days” feature to book a complete itinerary with “insider tips and hidden gems from tastemakers,” according to the website.

If you’re flying solo but would prefer to travel in a group or make new friends while on vacation, The Trip Tribe makes it easy. The company allows members to create a profile and search for trips — they’ll use your profile information to match you with other travelers who share your interests so you can book a trip with like-minded people. When you view trips on the site, you can see which other members are going, as well as the dates, price per person and other important details. Some of The Trip Tribe’s featured trips include an eco-retreat in Puerto Rico, a food and beer tour in Ireland, and a cycling and boating adventure in the Czech Republic.

Welcome Beyond is dedicated to those travelers who prefer to forgo staying in a big-name hotel and would rather have a unique vacation experience. Welcome Beyond strives to curate hotels and vacation rentals that are “truly original.” These exclusive rentals range from quirky to posh and are easy to search for and book. Choose a country and region for your stay, and search by interests like architecture and design, nature and ecotourism, and secluded retreats. You can also refine your search by accommodation type, with selections ranging from boutique hotels to private islands available in more than 30 different countries, including the United States.

If you thought UberBlack made you feel like you were riding in style, try traveling on a jet. Book a seat on a private jet with BlackJet. According to the company’s website, “BlackJet members enjoy the convenience, reliability and private jet experience at prices you would expect from American, Delta or United first class.” As with all flights, costs vary depending on your origin and destination locations and the date of travel, but prices start around $1,000. BlackJet memberships are limited but free until you book your first trip — after that, there’s an annual fee.

Travelers with a spontaneous streak will love Triposo, an app that gives you personalized suggestions for things to do on your trip while you’re on the go. Users can book tours and activities via the app, as well as learn important information about their destination’s history, culture, currency and language. Before you go on your trip, download Triposo’s destination guide to your device, and while you’re there, get real-time updates about what’s going on nearby. Bonus: The app works offline too, so you don’t need to search for Wi-Fi to find your next activity.

7 Cool Vegan-Friendly Businesses That Inspire

Being a vegan means a whole lot more than eating a meat- and dairy-free diet — it’s a lifestyle committed to not using any animal products. This means that strict, dedicated vegans don’t wear materials like leather and suede or use any products that have been tested on animals or harmed animals in the production process in any way. And it’s not always easy to find products you love that fit the vegan lifestyle.

Fortunately for all you vegans out there (and for food allergy sufferers and environmentalists, too!), there are more and more stores and brands dedicated to this animal- and eco-friendly lifestyle, so you can meet all your needs with ease.From food and cosmetics to clothes and accessories, here are 7 businesses every vegan needs to know.

Just because you’re vegan, doesn’t mean you need to skip dessert. While most sweets, from baked goods to candies, are loaded with not-so-vegan-friendly ingredients like butter, milk, eggs and honey (though not all vegans cut out honey), Allison’s Gourmet is home to tons of delicious vegan takes on your favorite confections, like fudge, peanut brittle, chocolates, caramels, cookies, brownies and more — all of which you can order online. Allison’s Gourmet also sells organic coffee, tea and cocoa and offers memberships to monthly clubs, like Cookie of the Month, Brownie of the Month, Fudge of the Month and Taste of the Month (this one gives you a little bit of everything). According to its website, Allison’s Gourmet uses “only the finest organic, fair-trade, vegan ingredients that honor and respect growers, animals, the planet and of course, you!”

Move over, Dunkin’ Donuts. Mighty-O Donuts knows how to do donuts well (and vegan, too). The company’s reasoning for making all of its donuts vegan? The organization’s website simply states, “We do not need any extra ingredients [like eggs and dairy] to make a delicious donut everyone can enjoy.” Bonus: Not only are all of the donuts at Mighty-O Donuts vegan, the shop also does not use any artificial colors, dyes, additives or preservatives in its donuts or toppings, so you know exactly what you’re getting into when you take a bite. And if you visit the company’s shop in Seattle, you’ll see that it also supports the local art community by offering up wall space for monthly exhibitions. The only downside: Mighty-O doesn’t deliver unless you’re one of the company’s wholesale retailers, and even then, when it comes to out-of-state orders, Mighty-O only ships to Oregon and Colorado — though the company does plan to expand.

If you’re not already vegan or considering going vegan, you may not realize that living a vegan lifestyle means giving up seafood, too. Sophie’s Kitchen offers great alternatives for those who love to eat fish and shellfish but can’t (the company’s products are perfect if you’re not vegan, but have allergies, for example) or those who choose not to. Sophie’s Kitchen sells products like crab cakes, breaded scallops, breaded calamari, breaded coconut shrimp, prawns, smoked salmon, tuna and more — all of which are vegan and plant-based. The company is Non-GMO Project-verified and uses ingredients like seaweed, textured vegetable protein and konjac (elephant yam root) to make sustainable alternatives to your favorite fishy foods. If you want to stock your own store with the company’s products, you can find Sophie’s Kitchen products at some local food stores, or you can order the products online — either as an individual or a retailer.

Think breakfast can never be the same when you’re vegan? Think again. Thanks to The Vegg, you don’t have to live without eggs — well, sort of. The Vegg makes several vegan egg substitute products so that vegans can still eat things like omelets, breakfast sandwiches and baked goods to their hearts’ content. The company sells a scrambled egg mix made from soy protein and nutritional yeast (among other ingredients) as well as vegan egg yolk substitute, an egg replacer for baking and a special French toast mix — all of which boast an authentic egg flavor and can be purchased online on the company’s website. The Vegg also sells a cookbook to make using its products even easier.

We should warn you — this next business is a little cheesy (literally). As a vegan, you can’t eat cheese, since it’s made from animal milk, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without cheese forever. While you can purchase cheese substitutes from big brands like Daiya and Tofutti at your local grocery store, fancy vegan artisanal cheeses aren’t exactly easy to come by. Dr. Cow makes delicious cheeses made out of tree nuts, like organic cream cashew cheese, aged macadamia cheese and more. The company also makes granola and oatmeal products, and you can purchase its products online or at the company’s retail location in Brooklyn.

Vegans and wine lovers alike, rejoice! The Vegan Vine is a wine brand that is grown and produced by a family-owned winery, Clos LaChance Winery, in California. You may be wondering how wine can be anything but vegan, and that’s exactly why The Vegan Vine was developed — to educate people on the wine production process, which often uses animal products. According to the company’s website, The Vegan Vine started when a family member “was curious if Clos LaChance’s wines were suitable for his animal-free lifestyle,” which prompted the owners to meet with a production team and find a way to produce high-quality wines that support a vegan lifestyle, along with ways to keep wine lovers informed. The Vegan Vine currently offers a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2013 Chardonnay available for purchase on the company’s website, along with a Web page that features vegan recipe pairings for each wine.

Want to make sure your wardrobe is animal friendly? VauteCouture, a Brooklyn-based clothing store sells everything from tank tops to winter coats and accessories for both men and women. Founder Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart started the company in 2009, after attempting to create a vegan dress coat warm enough to get through the cold Chicago (where Hilgart is from) winter. VauteCouture — like “haute couture” but with a V for “vegan” — became the first all-vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week in 2013. Whether you’re looking for coats, hats, jewelry or casual clothes, you can find it at VauteCouture. You can shop online, or if you’re in New York, you can shop in the store — though you’ll have to make an appointment first.

6 Game Changing Sports Businesses That Will Inspire You

Want to become a better coach or athlete? There are several sports-related businesses out there that can help you do just that and more.

From virtual reality sports platforms and game footage analysis to family-friendly youth sports programs, these six businesses put a whole new spin on sports, helping coaches, athletes and families do what they love.

Whether you’re an athlete or just a huge sports fan, you can turn your skills and passion into a business — just take some inspiration from these companies that are totally changing the game.

EON Sports VR

EON Sports VR is a virtual reality platform that help athletes get better at their sport. The platform simulates different game situations to help players improve their decision-making skills — EON Sports VR boasts an improvement rate of up to 60 percent for players who use the platform. The company offers 3D-playbook and playbook-simulator products for coaches, simulators for athletes, and plans to launch a virtual-reality baseball platform, which you can preview on the EON Sports VR’s website. The company currently offers a simulator, called SIDEKIQ, which is compatible with a headset or projector, and plans to launch a smartphone-powered simulator, too.

i9 Sports

I9 Sports is a company that seeks to make sports more fun — and less stressful and competitive — for young people. According to the company’s website, i9 Sports “offers an alternative to the disorganized, hyper-competitive, win-at-all-cost culture that pervades most youth sports programs today.” The company aims to provide a safe and fun experience that helps kids develop their athletic skills and boost their self-esteem and is more convenient and organized for parents.  I9 operates around five important core principles: fun, inclusivity, safety, good sportsmanship and healthy competition. Started initially as a flag football league, i9 has since expanded, with team sports in soccer, basketball, baseball and cheerleading too. The company offers leagues, camps and clinics for both boys and girls ages 3 to 17 throughout the United States.

Sportsy

Aspiring athletes will love Sportsy, a website and mobile app (available on both Android and iOS devices) that helps people get better at sports. Sportsy members have access to videos to help them learn the proper way to perform drills, special challenges to help them practice the way professional athletes do, and exclusive tips and tricks from professional athletes and coaches. Members can also compete against each other, and upload videos of them playing to get feedback from Sportsy coaches. The company is new and currently only offers these features for soccer. However, Sportsy does plan to launch sections dedicated to several other sports, including basketball, volleyball, tennis, figure skating, surfing, hockey, swimming, skateboarding and even Hacky Sack, among others. Interested users looking for one of these sports can sign up for updates on their launch on the company’s website.

Coachbase

Want to be a better coach? Coachbase is a tremendous resource. The company is part marketplace, part Android and iOS app and helps coaches find, diagram and share new plays. With the app, coaches can ditch chalkboards and whiteboards and switch to using their mobile devices to create new plays for their teams. The app has a step-by-step system for animating your plays, and features automatic backup and automatic syncing so that the plays you create are accessible across all your devices, and easily shared with assistant coaches and players. And through the Coachbase marketplace, coaches can buy, sell and trade plays and drills with other coaches.

Krossover

Krossover is another great resource for coaches and teams. Most teams record their games so they can analyze the footage later and see what went well and what went wrong. Rather than trying to analyze the film yourself, Krossover does it for you. Teams can sign up for a Krossover package for a whole season based on how many games they play per week. Just upload film from your game, and the company’s experts will analyze it and break it down by event, tag it by play and with player information, and extract stats from the footage for you. Athletes can also purchase individual packages to analyze their performance even if their team doesn’t participate in the program. Krossover offers services for basketball, football, lacrosse and volleyball.

Fandeavor

Looking for the ultimate sports fan experience? Fandeavor is here to help. The company aims to help sports fans plan the perfect trip or celebration all at once with sports-based packages that include hotels, airfare, land transportation and game tickets. Hotels are curated based on their distance to the game, their ratings and amenities and things to do nearby, and transportation includes both to and from the airport and the game. Fandeavor also helps customers get the best experience out of their tickets, with unique information and VIP packages for different stadiums. The company can even help you plan a big family sports excursion or gift for a special occasion.

5 Music Industry Startups That Are Positively Impacting Artists

The music industry is experiencing a renaissance with an influx of startups that give artists more control over their careers. Once thought to be a dying scene, the music business is reviving itself by changing, everything from how it’s made and consumed, to how musicians are compensated for their work.

“The music model changed. The revenue streams have changed. The business has to be fluid, and adaptive,” said Geoff Rickly, lead singer of the bands Thursday, No Devotion and United Nations. “Small companies are leading the way when it comes to adaptive behavior. I feel directly affected by every new idea whether it works or not.”

These five startups are rearranging the way the music industry operates.

This independent firm, based in the UK with a New York location, approaches representation as an artist approaches making music, said founder of Brace Yourself PR, Ivano Maggiulli. “Every artist we represent is vital to our business model, to our name as an agency.”

“Smaller firms are hungry and really have no choice but to innovate,” Maggiulli told Business News Daily. “We get ideas from clients and labels about what they need, and get truly excited when we figure out a new way to accomplish their goals.”

Brace Yourself offers its artists print, online, radio and TV placement under one roof and provides internationally coordinated campaigns. The firm has a rosterof more than 100 artists, including The 1975, Hot Hot Heat, Title Fight and Rickly’s band No Devotion.

According to Maggiulli, in the past, labels would often have an in-house publicist that would take care of the publicity for any and every act that came through the door, regardless of whether they liked the artist or not.

“That left a lot of artists being represented by someone that didn’t truly understand them and quite frankly, didn’t have the time to change that,” he said. “We only work with artists that we believe [in], understand and can help.”

“How we tell an artist’s story is changing and that is important because that story is vital,” added Rickly, who also serves as the general manager of Brace Yourself PR’s New York office. “We want to be able to tell the artist’s story in a way that convinces a casual listener to press play on their music and, hopefully, fall in love.”

Love music and mobile games? UpNext might be a great fit for you. Currently in its beta stage, UpNext marries music discovery and social networking “to maximize exposure for new and emerging artists.”

“The objective of the game is to scout talent to build the best label possible. The talent is actual music from upcoming artists,” said Ayinde Arnett co-founder and CEO of UpNext, who describes the service as a mix between SoundCloud and fantasy sports.

Users sign artists to their label and then earn points towards their label score based on the success of their artists.

“Success is measured by engagement metrics within the app and real-life social presence externally,” Arnett said. “Users can build their brand as a label by interacting with and promoting their artists.”

Ultimately every user is competing amongst their peers to see who has the best ear for music and can recognize talent first, he said.

The app is currently in beta, however, you can request access to it via the website.

GigTown, founded by entrepreneur Andy Altman and his father, Steve (the former president and vice chairman of Qualcomm), considers itself to be a “one-stop-shop” for everything local music. The free app makes it easy for venues, musicians and fans to interact, and creates new opportunities for artists to find paying gigs through its “Post-A-Gig” feature, among other capabilities.

“By creating new gig opportunities, [GigTown is] bringing the local music communities together and inspiring collaboration and mutual support for each other,” Altman said. “It’s not easy to be a local artist, and we are creating a positive change for local music communities as a whole.”

According to GigTown’s website, fans have the ability to send artists a monetary tip and a message, directly through the app. There are multiple payment options and artists will receive their earnings once a week, along with Check-In tips.

“Every artist has to start somewhere,” Altman said. “Having a platform to get your music heard by local fans, and then get booked or tipped by those fans makes it so much easier to build an artist’s foundation for their career as a whole.”

Soundtrack Your Brand (SYB) is a Spotify-backed company for the B2B music market, founded by Ola Sars (former Beats Music co-founder and COO) and Andreas Liffgarden (former Spotify business developer). The company is a subscription-based streaming service, licensed for commercial and public spaces.

“Both of us are music entrepreneurs, and with Soundtrack Your Brand, we set out to grow the global music market by reshaping the business-to-business music space,” Sars said. “We’ve built [a] powerful and versatile streaming platform for commercial use.”

According to Sars, businesses have been forced to play music by archaic means: a large chunk of businesses still play CDs, satellite radio, webcasts or use home-brewed mp3 playlists. With the trend toward digitization in physical retail, music can become an important tool in distinguishing your brand, keeping customers and employees happy, and growing sales, Sars said.

“The B2B-music market is lagging a decade behind the consumer market, and with SYB we set out to transform how businesses and brands relate to and use music,” Sars said. “Just like [Spotify] previously contributed to reshaping the consumer market for music through improved personalization, curation for brands is just as important.”

Startup LiveXLive is looking to enhance not only the live music experience, but the streaming one as well. According to the website, the platform offers mobile-streaming capabilities for live music events, including music festivals with multiday and multistage coverage, unique concerts, intimate performances and programming. It features all genres of music, including rock, pop, indie, alternative, EDM, country.

“What we’re building is both a tool and platform for artists to share their content with fans across the world, the majority of which wouldn’t have the ability to attend these shows in-person,” said Schuyler Hoversten, chief revenue officer of LiveXLive.

LiveXLive is also helping artists promote merchandise, new singles, upcoming tours, and even sell tickets, VIP access or fan club memberships within the stream.

“We’d like to be what MTV once was to the consumer — the mobile, digital destination for the best content in music,” Hoversten said. “We hope to be a digital network where fans can virtually transport themselves around the world in an instant to experience their favorite artists live.”