MAY 21, 2012 2:57PM

A Stroll Down Startup Alley: Bras, Coffee, And Lots Of Photo/Video Sharing

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Screen shot 2012-05-21 at 2.56.57 PM

Everyone comes to Disrupt for the Battlefield. Of course, the panels are interesting, and few can resist a fireside chat between Fred Wilson and Michael Arrington, but the true gem of our massive conference is the Startup Alley. These companies are some of the most promising startups in the country, and with our Israeli Pavilion, the world.

This year’s batch, in particular, is above-and-beyond impressive. I caught up with a few different companies, and each one of them brings something totally different to the table.

Roaster Coaster, for example, is a coffee micro-brew subscription service that not only sends you various samples of different coffees, but educates you to the point of coffee connoisseur status. The idea is that you can be a coffee expert or a Folgers fan and still learn something new.

Runfaces enters the dangerous and crowded world of social, but with a little hand from something called video. Each user has a profile page, just as you’d expect, but all self-expression is done through video. The service is available on the web, with support for webcam and/or Vimeo and YouTube videos, with upload functionality coming over the next month. Runfaces also has an iOS app currently available in the App Store.

Speaking of video, LiveNinja is a video chat marketplace and monetization platform, which will basically allow therapists, doctors, teachers, or really anyone who makes money off of offering services via video chat, to be paid on a fully-integrated platform. The marketplace is fragmented for most of these people, who often use Google Hangouts and Skype and are then paid via PayPal. LiveNinja aims to solve that problem.

Another social network that has plopped itself down in our Startup Alley is all about the family. HatchedIt is a platform that allows family members to post a color-coded family calendar, complete with events and invitations. Parents can loop in grandparents and other relatives, and are also offered controls over which events they can see.

And if there weren’t enough social networks in the mix, Pictorious is looking to slip itself in between Instagram and Draw Something with a photo-sharing platform that fosters competition. So, essentially, users will create challenges like “planking” or “cats” and then friends will compete in the challenge by posting their best planking- or cat-related pictures.

And finally, Brayola. Perhaps it doesn’t sound so obvious, but it’s basically a bra recommendation platform. Little do men know, and women know far too well, that finding a good bra that fits is pretty damn difficult. Brayola lets you enter in information on bras you already own and love, categorize them (into buckets like sexy, everyday, and sport) and it generates a list of bras and sizes that should work for you. Oh, and you can buy direct.

We’ll choose one of the startups in the alley to participate in the Battlefield on Wednesday, and the companies you saw today will be replaced by a brand new batch of startups tomorrow.


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