🔥 Crunch 28: Engaging online conferences, Webhooks as A Service, Grammarly for code, Explore a vast bookstore

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🇩🇪 MeetAnyway: Software for engaging online conferences. (Founded 2019, Total Funding Amount: $125K seed, YC Winter 21’)

How it works: Event organizers create and manage their virtual event space with stages, networking, roundtables, sponsors, and provide rooms for meaningful 1:1 interactions.

See the quick product demo to see how it works. You’ll get a pretty good understanding of it in 30 seconds.

The backstory: “Unlike Hopin or Zoom, we're focused on connecting conference attendees.

Most attendees don’t go to watch the talks — they go for the networking. With us, they can self-organize, meet and stay in touch.” — Co-founder, Erich Lehmann

Why it’s worth checking out: Sure, the video conferencing software is a crowded space. Competing with big players like Zoom or Skype is a long shot.

While Zoom is the go-to software for small group calls, it falls apart when there’s a larger event (>50 people). — MeetAnyway focuses on creating the best events for larger events and networking.

🇺🇸 HostedHooks: Provides webhooks as a service for developers. Developers use webhooks to enrich web, mobile, or desktop applications. Currently in beta. (Founded 2021, Total Funding Amount: bootstrapped)

How it works: Webhooks are a way for applications to communicate with each other. — A well-known use of webhooks is for Slack-like chatrooms or any platform that hosts code.

Users pay as they go for Webhook Attempts. There’s a free tier for anyone who wants to test the platform.

  • Webhook Attempts are an outbound webhook call to one of your client's endpoints. Retries do not count as additional webhook attempts.

The backstory: “Over the last few years webhooks have become much more popular and almost a commodity at this point, but they aren't easy enough to implement well or manage long term. We've built HostedHooks to solve that problem.” — Ian Grabill

Why it’s worth checking out: While still in its infancy, the idea is worth playing around with. If you’re a developer, this can make your life easier and increase the development cycle velocity.

P.S: If you’re lacking the technical background to assess this or any code-heavy idea — feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll gladly help you with technical due diligence. I’m as technical as they come.

🇬🇧 Sourcery: Grammarly for code. Integrates into your IDE and uses AI-powered suggestions for improvements in your code. (Founded 2019, Total Funding Amount: angel/pre-seed — Techstars Berlin)

The Sourcery extension is available for anyone to add to their workspace. The extension helps programmers to write clear and well-structured code.

“We were bootstrapping until this year. A couple of weeks ago, we finished the Techstars Berlin program and raised our first investment.” — Nicholas Thapen

Sorcery has a free and a $15/mo pro tier. The free tier gives programmers access to the basic functionality. But if you want access to the advanced features, you have to upgrade to the pro tier.

How it works: Sourcery runs in the background and suggests real-time improvements. Programmers get refactoring suggestions as they code.

The backstory: “A high-quality codebase is a joy to work with. Unfortunately, time pressure and the need to maintain legacy systems means that we encounter bad code far too often, and it's hard to find enough hours in the day to refactor.

We think that it should be as simple as possible to create brilliant code, whether writing from scratch or updating what's already there.” — Founder, Nicholas Thapen

Why it’s worth checking out:

(1) Last week, Sourcery launched on ProductHunt and made it to the #4 Product of the week. Scoring over 900 upvotes on ProductHunt is no easy task. You almost certainly need to have a solid product and market fit to achieve that kind of popularity.

(2) Programmers are some of the most passionate and welcoming when it comes to trying out new tools and products. If the product is solid, it will spread like wildfire among the programmer community.

🇺🇸 Shepard: Discover new books like you are wandering through a bookstore.  Currently in beta. (Founded 2020, Total Funding Amount: bootstrapped)

How it works: Akin to a real library, users browse and explore books by section.

Ben uses outbound affiliate links to Bookshop.org and Amazon for short-term monetization. Ben mentioned he has some unique ideas to further monetize his idea.

“I have some wild/unique ideas but I need more traffic to do those. So, my focus for the next 2 to 3 years is purely on growing the features, traffic, and content. And, by then I should have the traffic I need to play with those.

I'd like to find ways to help authors earn more from their IP while earning more for the site. So for example, with children's book authors, I'd like to sell posters and decorations from their illustrations on the site. “ — Ben

The backstory: “I love walking around the bookstore and browsing until something grabs my attention. I want to bring that experience online. I want to help readers bump into books they would otherwise not find. And, help them follow their curiosity to new places.

One of my long-term goals is to help authors market themselves and give them more time to write.” — Founder, Ben Fox

I spoke with Ben over email and asked him if he raised any funds yet. Here’s the pleasant reply I received.

“We’re not venture-backed. I’m lucky to have a few exits so I am funding it myself. ”— Ben

Why it’s worth checking out: Noble idea, large potential market, and battle-hardened and proven successful serial founder.

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