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Lane Petrauskas Is Switching Up Your Saturdays With Skorch

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Picture this. It’s a Saturday night. You finally have a day off and you’re ready to let your hair down and release the tension of the week. Your friends shoot you text asking where is the best club or bar to go to and you are stuck. There are so many places to go to on the weekend and you are not particularly sure where to go for the night. This issue is why Lane Petrauskas took her background in advertising and designed Skorch, the new app taking review sites out of the equation with millennials in mind. Rather than aimlessly scrolling through geotags on social networks, Skorch is a curated heat map to show you what’s hot, in real time. Skorch functions both as a foodie finder and a social networking site, where users can follow friends, influencers, and add hotspots and so much more! Skorch has now launched in 14 cities across the United States and has more to come in the future. With such a promising future ahead, its time to get some insight on the company that solves the debate on “where to go tonight?”.

Tell me about yourself! What is your background?

Lane Petrauskas

I began my career in advertising as a Writer, creating ads and campaigns for major brands like Patrón Tequila, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Zappos, JetBlue, and more. I had the opportunity to work at several world-renowned agencies in LA, Chicago and Boston, and learned a lot from working with some of the brightest minds in the ad industry. From pitching my ideas to the CMOs of major brands, to bringing those ideas to life, my career as a Creative in advertising really helped groom me for my entrepreneurial pursuit.

What attracted you to creating Skorch?

Finding great places to go was too much work! For too long, people have been forced to comb through pages of years-old, subjective reviews, skim lengthy articles, and scour social media for the geo-tags of friends and influencers. Plus, let’s be honest, we are all super skeptical of strangers’ opinions on the Internet. With Skorch, you won’t have to read someone’s long-winded rant just to discover they rated a place 1 star because they had to wait too long for the bathroom.

Skorch

Is Skorch different from its competitors?

Absolutely. Skorch is a super-selective, curated database. If a place isn’t awesome, it’s not on Skorch. The app is also inherently social. You can follow friends and influencers, post to Skorch while you’re out, submit locations for inclusion on the app, and create your own hotlist of your favorite #SkorchWorthy places. Finding somewhere to have fun should BE fun.

What is a major goal Skorch has this year?

This year, we’re looking forward to hosting events for our most active users in their cities. Skorch users are a group of people who love to have fun at the best and buzziest places, and it’s a priority for us to continue that sense of community off the app.

Who would benefit from using Skorch? Describe your customers.

Anyone who likes going to great places would benefit, i.e. everyone! Skorch was built with Millennials in mind, but turns out, it has broad appeal. My grandmother even once said “Honey, that’s nice.” In all seriousness, our users are a good time. They have discerning taste, they enjoy discovering new spots, and they love to share their experiences.

Lane Petrauskas

Who has inspired you in business?

I’m inspired by Whitney Wolfe Herd, the Founder and CEO of Bumble. As a fellow female app Founder, I admire the success she’s achieved while empowering Bumble’s user base. I believe that she has revolutionized that category of apps, and her brand is one to watch.

What advice would you give young entrepreneurs stepping out on their own?

Spend like a startup. I’ve seen too many young entrepreneurs secure early investments, and then exhaust the capital quickly. As a founder, you will grow with your business. Give yourself and your budget time to do that.

Where do you see Skorch in the next five years?

I see Skorch becoming the go-to source for discovering places to go and sharing your experiences. In five years, we will have expanded to several new markets, both nationally and internationally. What’s more, I see the brand growing beyond the app. This would be the perfect time to say something cliché like “stay tuned!” But really, stay tuned!

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Business

17-Year-Old Drops Out To Create Exa Mask

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Before COVID-19 dominated our lives, Kylie Smith was already in the process of creating a face mask. Exa Mask, a startup mask company with impeccable timing, has raised over $77,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and has already shipped its first 1,000 units. 

Developed with TR-90 Nylon, a super high-quality material, Exa Mask stands out from the N95 masks we’ve become so familiar with. Exa Masks are capable of:

  • Allowing one to breathe easily without constraints of a traditional mask
  • A detachable shield that allows wearers to eat and drink while still being protected
  • Eliminate that super annoying fogging when wearing glasses or sunglasses
  • Filter out 95% of particles, protecting against disease, pollution, and environmental debris
  • Control allergies and prevent the inhalation of smog and pollution

A Trip To Beijing

Smith was inspired in 2017 when she made a trip to Beijing with her father and co-founder, Rick Smith. Because of the pollution in Beijing, Smith and her father were required to buy an expensive, cumbersome mask. 

Like any entrepreneur, Smith saw an opportunity to create something better. 

I designed Exa Mask so that it would be the last mask you’ll ever need to buy. Exa Mask’s filters are replaceable and the face shield is washable, so the mask is completely reusable — while also offering consistent protection over time.” 

She spent the next two years designing and developing the innovative mask. And then COVID hit…

A Pandemic Opportunity

When COVID-19 hit, Kylie decided to dedicate 100% of her time to this venture and dropped out of high school. Some parents might find that mortifying. Her father, Rick, did not. 

In the face of a pandemic, finding fresh solutions to unforeseen problems is more critical than ever. I am extremely proud of Kylie for following in my entrepreneurial footsteps and designing such a unique product that can help keep people safe.” 

It’s interesting that Smith came up with Exa Mask well before anyone knew we would be dominated by medical masks (and the irritating debates that followed). Some would see that as lucky. One wonders whether Smith would have the success it has now if it were not for a pandemic. 

Exa Mask Explained

Exa Mask has three parts to it: an air frame, a replaceable filter, and a washable shield. A complete seal is formed around the nose while the mask hovers above the wearer’s face. This allows for clearer breathing and speech, eliminates fogging around glasses, and is apparently pretty comfortable for an extended period of time. 

Funny enough, this mask was designed to combat pollution and smoke, as opposed to an airborne virus. So, for those in California dealing with forest fires are protected in ways that the common medical mask cannot. 

What’s Next?

Next for Exa Mask, I’d love to see schools as well as airlines and retail employees using Exa Mask. Exa Mask was designed for all day wear, so it is ideal for those populations who need to wear masks for their jobs.” 

We expect to see a lot more from Kylie Smith. If Exa Mask is any indication, Smith is one of the rare people in our world. The kind who has a nose for good business and knows how to stay ahead of the trends. While everyone on our planet has millions of ideas they wonder how to implement, Smith is one who finds a way to get things done. 

Smith is so confident and dedicated to her product that she dropped out of high school to pursue it full time. That can be very scary, but when you have a product as quality as this, you’re going to be set up for success.

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Business

DoNotPay: The World’s First Robot Lawyer

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In legal trouble? Want to contest a parking ticket? Need to sue that sonuva-whaaat? Can’t afford a lawyer? Better Call Saul? Nah, he’s not real. Instead, you should check out DoNotPay, the world’s first robot lawyer. 

RoboJurist, The Lawyernator, Optimus Habeus Corpus: these are names founder Justin Browder could have used in his creation of DoNotPay. Alas, that’s not the case. 

While it’s not literally a robot, DoNotPay is a legal services chatbot that offers a range of legal services. Anything from consumer protection to immigration status is within DoNotPay’s capabilities. DoNotPay is a downloadable legal subscription service that uses artificial intelligence in a clever manner. 

A Little Lawyer in Your Pocket

Essentially, DoNotPay helps users draft legal letters. Let’s say you have a parking ticket you want to contest. You tell the chatbot your problem and the AI provides the correct legal language to use. Think of it like legal Mad Libs. You write your side of the story, and DoNotPay edits it to make it sound like it came from the desk of Saul Goodman. 

If you were the kind of person to turn to your lawyer friend for free legal advice: no more. DoNotPay allows the common layperson to handle their own legal battles with the help of a downloadable app. The app is so easy to use that it boasts that users can, “fight corporations, beat bureaucracy, and sue anyone at the press of a button.”

Because our society isn’t litigious enough, right? 

While DoNotPay has won an award from the American Bar Association for increasing legal access, there have been mixed reviews

DoNotPay is useful in that it helps users avoid legal roadblocks that usually make pursuing action costly, complicated, or not worth the effort. For people who don’t know what to do when sent a threatening legal document, now you have an artificial lawyer in your pocket. In that regard, DoNotPay is very useful.

When the Little Guy Sues the Big Guy

If DoNotPay sounds familiar, that may be because of its role in the Equifax debacle. For regular folk, being able to get justice from a big company without having to pay expensive lawyer fees is a big deal. 

Lawyers must be a little peeved to see some know-it-all robot step into their territory, no? 

Well, you’d think that…

AI in Law Firms Today

Sally Hobson, a barrister at the London-based law firm The 36 Group, used AI in a murder trial. The complicated case required analyzing over 10,000 documents. Hobson used a software, developed by Luminance, that accomplished the task four weeks faster than it would have taken humans. 

Historically you had a lot of [document checking] technologies that were no better than keyword searches, like hitting Control-F on your laptop,” says Eleanor Weaver, chief executive of Luminance. 

So, lawyers using an AI is not exactly unheard of. The technology is capable of scanning documents far quicker than any human can, and is capable of learning incredibly quickly. While that terrifies conspiracy theorists and excites science fiction writers, AI in the legal world is a very useful tool. 

Lawyer’s Bark Worse Than Their Bite

If you’re aware of the term “legalese,” you’re well aware how complicated and confusing legal phrases can be. Attack dog lawyers count on people being intimidated by legalese so that they can get what they want. A scary-sounding letter from a lawyer can bully someone into submission. 

DoNotPay is offering help to the people who can’t afford a lawyer. With their AI, DoNotPay is able to help someone who didn’t spend three years in law school take charge of their own legal battles. 

Next time you want to contest a parking ticket, or if you want to take on a big company that has wronged you, you might want to download DoNotPay.

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Startup Central

WoodSpoon Delivers The Chef To Your Home

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WoodSpoon is shaking up the food delivery game.

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed an explosion in food delivery. Just this year alone, the global online food delivery industry has reached $126.91 billion and is on the rise

Restaurants that originally had no delivery service quickly adapted to keep their lights on. And just like that, the quality of delivery skyrocketed as upscale sit-down restaurants and their chefs adapted to survive.  

Personal Chef At Your Door

We’re all familiar with many of these delivery services. Like WoodSpoon, these services bring higher quality meals to your front door. Some even have you assemble meals to make you feel like a cook.

But where does WoodSpoon stand out?

Started in 2019 by chefs Oren Saar and Merav Kalish, WoodSpoon’s mission is to bring chefs together to share their talents with their local community. 

It works like you’d expect: you peruse the options and local chef’s specialties, you order, they deliver, you eat. The only difference between WoodSpoon and other delivery services is the quality of food. These chefs are preparing what they’d normally cook for their friends and family and sharing it with you. It’s like having your own professional chef. 

You can order dishes you normally wouldn’t, or couldn’t, cook for yourself. Chicken sate, Caribbean fried porn, cauliflower rice stuffed peppers, and more mouth-watering options are available on WoodSpoon. These are the best quality dishes you can find without actually hiring a professional home chef. 

Fancy, right? 

Back For Seconds

WoodSpoon proudly boasts 16,000 active customers and 150 active chefs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens with a 50% month-over-month growth. According to Saar, 35% of their customers have ordered at least four times in seventeen days. 

And now, they’re expanding. After raising $14 Million in fundraising, WoodSpoon is poised to blow up.

For the consumer, a simplified and easy-to-navigate interface that allows users to browse by meal or chef. For the chef, all you have to do is focus on the food. WoodSpoon takes care of the packaging and delivery logistics.

There’s no question the quality of food delivery has evolved in the past year. Restaurants not normally equipped for take-out quickly adapted and made the best of a super unfortunate situation. WoodSpoon brings delivery to a new level by packaging a chef’s talent and delivering it to your front door.

In a matter of time, WoodSpoon will be in your city. And you’ll be tasting some of the best quality food you’ve had. 

Bon appetit.

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