Meet the Pioneers - March 2020


Everything big in the world started small. Apple in a garage. AirBnB to pay rent. Even SpaceX, in all its glory, started as a publicity stunt to put a plant on Mars. Our new batch of Pioneers might seem awfully small, but they’re doing a lot of things right. They’re focusing on making things their users want, talking to users, and launching uncomfortably quickly.  

Our March 2020 batch includes companies as diverse as crypto based video games, a Wix for voice apps, and an intelligent note-taking assistant. We’re excited to have these Pioneers in our online city:

BlockCities - Preston Attebery
Crypto based SimCity

BlockCities is a video game that allows you to create tiny cities with collectible buildings. But it isn’t just a generic online game. You can sell, own, and store buildings with tokens on Ethereum.

Users built over 1400 crypto-collectible buildings in just a month, from which Blockcities has made more than $15k in revenue. In fact, users are so devoted to the product that on one occasion, 2 users built over 300 buildings in just 48 hours. You can try their demo here. (Preston is an experienced game designer, having previously designed games for one of the Jonas Brothers).

Monitoro - Omar Kamali
Automated website data extraction

Many business use cases rely on monitoring websites for changes. You could need to monitor price changes, competitor news, law changes, or social media activity, amongst other things. While you could use web scrapers to get this data, you’d have to program custom functionality to alert you for changes.

Monitoro makes that process much simpler. It extracts data from websites as they change, and send the fresh data to a service of your choice. You can choose to integrate with Slack, send the data to Google Sheets, or integrate with Zapier.

Referral Leaderboard - Matthew Busel
Incentivised employee referrals

Hiring is hard and expensive. Agencies can cost a lot, which is precious money you could be using for more important things in your company. Referrals are a more economic option. And referred candidates are probably more reliable.

But in the 3 years Matthew’s employer used a referral program, they didn’t actually hire any referrals. So he built Referral Leaderboard to incentivise the process. It’s a Slack app that allows employees to directly submit referrals and earn points in return. He estimates that you can save ~$10,000 in agency fees for every hired referral.

TapTap - Mohammed Azeem
Automatic note-taking

You need to note down everything that’s going on in your meeting or lecture. So you desperately type or scribble away as fast as you can. But that’s time consuming and distracting, and reduces your engagement.

You could use a generic voice transcription app instead, but you’d still have a wall of text to parse through. What if you could get just the important snippets automatically packaged for you? Enter TapTap. It’s an audio note-taking app that saves only important parts of conversations without saving the whole thing.

Remotehour - Shun Yamada
Spontaneous video calls

With the current climate, it’s become evident that setting up calls with people still has a surprising amount of friction. Zoom isn’t spontaneous enough - you often have to set up a time beforehand. On the other hand, Slack is too informal, doesn’t work with people outside your office, and you don’t get the bandwidth you’d want with a face to face interaction.

Remotehour is a website that gives you a more spontaneous, ‘open-door’ solution to video calls. It’s perfect for short discussions that require face-to-face interactions. And if you’re worried that you’d go on way longer than needed, it has a time-out to ensure you stay on task.

Oyku - Shred Vepencheri, Karthikraj Duraisamy
Wix for voice apps

The podcast industry is set to make more than $1 billion by next year. But creating voice apps on Alexa and Google assistant requires technical expertise. Easily distributing audio content like storytelling and music on a platform you own is still unnecessarily difficult.

Oyku solves this problem. It’s a no-code platform to launch Audio streaming apps on mobile and voice platforms without the hassle. Their dashboard allows you to manage content, monetize with ads and subscriptions, and publish to all app stores in one streamlined interface.

The current product is a pivot from their initial approach. They listened carefully to their 10+ creators and more than 20k end users and built a product that gives them better content discovery and monetization options.

Safewatch - Alex Shevchenko
AI plugin for security cameras

Security cameras can record footage of your car being stolen, but don’t do much to prevent it being stolen in the first place. Alex is changing that with Safewatch, a website that makes your security camera smarter.

Safewatch alerts you if an object enters or leaves the frame for a target that you have set up. You can set detectors for 80 different objects, like cars and bicycles.  The simple idea it started with is quickly becoming very powerful. You can now set it to alert you during particular times of the day, watch only part of the frame, and use IFTTT integrations.

Funnelll - Sherif Ali
NoCode conversion tracking

Without conversion tracking set up on your website, how will you know which shades of blue lead to the most customers? Just kidding. Conversion tracking is a powerful tool to help you improve your product. But setting up with Mixpanel or Google can be tricky if you aren’t very technical.

Sherif is solving this with Funnelll. It allows you to track customer actions and optimize your sales funnel without code. He will soon roll out a recommendation engine that will guide users to improve their sales.

Forge - Cameron Baughn
All-in-one language learning

Learning a language involves juggling many skills. You need to memorise grammar, practice writing, and talk to people. And a teacher would definitely help. So what do you do? You download Duolingo, maybe use Quizlet, and track someone down to practice with. Sounds like a lot of work.

Forge brings together the best parts of learning in a classroom with software to help you learn languages. Instead of downloading multiple apps that each solve seperate parts of the problem, Forge bundles the entire language learning process. You a huge amount of content, but also get to converse with real teachers who guide you through the language learning process.


If these people and projects sound interesting to you, check out the full list: http://pioneer.app/winners. And if you’d like to earn your place on that list… just start playing: https://pioneer.app.