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5 Tech Startups to Watch in 2017

Technozan Staff March 4, 2017

We’re now almost three months into 2017, which means it’s time for a quick update. Last year already feels like long ago, especially in the world of tech and computers. Already, a number of startups are coming up with new ideas to change the way you live and improve your life. Here are 5 tech startups that we think could make a serious impact before the year is over.

1) Hooked

hooked logo

Our online attention spans continue to drop, and are now at less than 8 seconds. As any business using a social media marketing analytics suite like Nuvi can attest, the most successful ways to reach consumers are short, visual updates that don’t take too much attention or effort to read.

That limitation, of course, has put a serious strain on the ability to tell in-depth stories. Forget about reading books; today, storytellers and publishers have to figure out how to get their message across in 100 character or less. Or, if you apply the same to visual networks like Snapchat, 5 seconds or less.

That environment makes Hooked the perfect startup for 2017. The app markets itself as “fiction for the Snapchat generation,” looking to inspire teenagers used to short and snappy messages to engage in storytelling of all kinds. Readers experience stories not as pages on a book, but short bubbles that emulate text messages. Last December, the New York Times featured Hooked as one of the many ways storytellers are looking to break through to younger audiences.

2) Zipline

zipline drone logo

You know about drones either as fun vehicles for aerial tutorial or scary government mechanisms to engage in unmanned warfare. Zipline wants you to forget about both of these extremes, and focus on the tangible benefits that the technology can provide for our society.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 2 billion people worldwide lack access to essential medical products. Zipline wants to decrease that number with small, unmanned airplanes designed to weather the terrain that otherwise makes access to medicine and other products impossible in large parts of the world.

Healthworkers place orders via text message, which launches the drone for delivery. The project began in Rwanda, but efforts to expand its services to other parts of the world are already underway. It’s part of a greater effort to bring the world together and improve lives of multiple societies through newly available technologies.

3) SoFi

SoFi Logo

I’m not the first to tell you that student debt is a serious problem in the United States. Former college students now hold more than $1.3 billion dollars in debt, and often struggle to pay it back after graduation. Not surprisingly, a number of startups have popped up aiming to fix the problem, and SoFi is leading the charge.

Above all, the company seeks to make it easier for students to refinance their existing debt. But the company seeks to be more than just a bank, also providing finance and career advice that can help you better manage your money and decrease your debt. A community of active members is designed to help each other, bringing the wisdom of the crowds to the financial space.

SoFi started with student loans, but it’s not stopping there. Not even close. The company has now brought its concept to mortgage loans, personal loans, and life insurance, seeking to win out against the more established players in the space with a customer-focused approach. In 2017, we will see whether its strategy pays off.

4) Kiip

kiip logo

Just as publishers have to find new ways to reach their audiences, so do marketers. In fact, consumers of all ages are becoming increasingly cynical towards promotional messages, seeking to tune them out using software like ad blockers. To combat that problems, marketers are looking to adjust in a variety of ways.

One is to focus on more personalized advertising. Foxtail Marketing is a perfect example of that approach, helping to generate better leads and send more personalized emails to each of your potential customers. Kiip takes another angle, looking to engage with your audience in ways that are directly connected to their mobile habits.

Rather than being just another ad platform, Kiip focuses on moments. While listening to music or checking the scores of your favorite sports team, relevant ads pop up that seek to enhance your experience. Now, you can connect with the brand in a moment at which you’re most receptive to their message.

5) Away

away luggage logo

You wouldn’t think that a luggage company has any place in a post about tech startups. But in fact, that’s exactly what makes Away so unique, offering one reason why it just might explode in 2017.

In addition to producing stylish spacious luggage, Away takes ‘functional’ to the next level. Features like integrated USB chargers can easily charge smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and more. The integrated battery, in fact, is strong enough to charge your iPhone 5 times before needing a recharge on its own.

Luggage is an industry that, other than some design tweaks, seemingly has not changed for decades. But Away has a significant chance to disrupt that market by offering functionality that modern travelers will quickly discover they can’t live without. Look for more technology-added luggage to compete with this trendsetter in the near future.

Every year, countless tech startups pop up and look to revolutionize their industry. Some of them succeed, while others don’t–but the process of watching them try is exhilarating. The above 5 startups have a good chance to break through thanks to some initial success.

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