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The Startup That Promised 10,000 People Eternal Digital Life… Then It Died

In 2010, a startup called “Intellitar” garnered massive media attention by promising its users “virtual eternity.” Intellitar was selling its “immortality” service for $25 a month to people who wanted to create a digital doppelgänger that would live on even after their death.

Customers uploaded a photo of themselves, took a personality test, provided a voice sample and then trained their avatars’ “brain” (an artificial-intelligence engine) by feeding it stories, memories and photos. The result, the company said, was an animated avatar that your family, friends, and great-great-grandchildren could talk to, even after you went to the big database in the sky.

So what happened? Unfortunately, the company itself was not immortal. It shut down in 2012, with 10,000 customers signed up. Lack of demand wasn’t the problem – Intellitar got into an intellectual property dispute. The powers that be saw a long, expensive IP lawsuit ahead of them so they just decided to shut it down. (Source)

2
The Startup That Lets People Rent Out Their Windows As Advertising Space

“Add My Window” is a startup that offers people the chance to rent out their windows as advertising space in exchange for some extra pocket-money.

Based on the size and location of their public facing windows, owners receive financial compensation for allowing businesses to display their ads on what may have been previously under-utilized space.

As of May 2015, there are 238 windows available in 4 cities in the Netherlands. The company hopes to expand throughout the country. (Source)

3
The Startup That Automatically Shared Your Online Purchases

Just purchased an antifungal cream? Let your friends know! That was the idea behind Blippy, a tool that linked your credit card to your Twitter account so that every purchase you make would be broadcast to the world. What could go wrong with that?

Blippy raised well over $13 million and, amazingly enough, gained some traction. But in April 2010, the site leaked credit card numbers of a few of their users on Google, and the service was shut down the following year. (Source)

 

4
The Startup That Charges You $26 For $20 Bucks in Quarters

Are you always in need of quarters for laundry? Washboard was announced in 2014 as a subscription service for quarters. For $20 in quarters, you pay $26.99 – because it makes so much sense to pay 35% interest just to change your money into coins. (Source)

5
The Startup That Breaks The Ice By Guessing a Stranger’s Age

What better way to break the ice than by guessing a perfect stranger’s age, right? Not really. Telling someone they look 10 years older than they are is definitely not the best way to make things click. No wonder why Agester didn’t last long after it was launched in 2007. (Source)

6
The Startup That Turns The DNA of You and Pet’s into a Work of Art

Genetic Ink is a startup that sends consumers a DNA collection kit, which they send back to the company with a cheek swab. (Pet DNA can be imaged as well.) In its FDA-approved lab, the startup will use an algorithm to sequence the DNA, which will be changed into artwork, which can be produced in 17 different colors and four different sizes. The price reportedly ranges from $200 for a 12-by-16-inch canvas to $700 for a 3-by-4-foot canvas. The company also keeps samples anonymous to protect clients’ privacy. (Source)

7
The Startup That Rents Out Hot Butlers

In 2014, ManServant was announced by two advertising copywriters. The company suggests that a ManServant — “a gentleman who treats you like a queen” — is a good alternative to hiring a bachelorette party stripper, a bartender or a butler.

It’s not a gigolo service, and it is completely PG. ManServants are all about giving women what they want. They adhere to a “very strict code of conduct” and must go through a “very rigorous training process” according to the owners.

(Source)

8
The Startup That Scans Your Snail Mail And Sends It to You By E-mail

In 2013, it was reported that a new startup offered to act as a mail agent for customers by trekking to their mailbox and open their snail mail.

Outbox, based in Austin, Texas, offered to “manage postal mail like email” through the use of professionals called “unpostmen” who would go to a person’s mail box to retrieve their mail. Letters, bills and even junk mail are scanned and the images appear in a person’s Outbox account, which can be accessed through a smartphone app for $4.99 a month. (Source)

 

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