Category Archives: Innovation

A bunch of inspiration and links for innovators

Startup Tools: 300+ Most Useful Apps, Software, and Other Resources



Startup Tools:

  1. Domain and Website Management
  2. eCommerce
  3. Building/Coding
  4. Design
  5. Mobile
  6. All Things Content
  7. Social Media
  8. Marketing Resources
  9. Business/Legal Tools and Resources

1. Domain and Website Management

Buying a domain name 

  • – Domains and hosting
  • GoDaddy – One of the longest standing domain registrars
  • NameCheap – Registration, hosting, transfers, and many domain management tools
  • 1&1 – OK if you are only buying a domain name. Of any domain registration service I have ever used, 1&1′s salespeople hounded me the most for optional upgrades/hosting.
  • – I have never used before, but they are relatively cheap and have a huge set of products beyond registration
  • – Gandi is another registrar that I have never used before. However, with a tagline like “no bullshit,” I see myself using Gandi for my next domain registration.

Hosting your site – the link is specific to a web design firm, but contains a good discussion of hosting services

  • GoDaddy – Tried and true. Affordable solution for small dynamic sites and static sites.
  • 1&1 – Don’t give in to their salespeople!
  • Rackspace – Industry standard.
  • WP Engine – Best WordPress host there is.
  • Amazon Web Services – Hulu, Netflix, Reddit, and countless others use AWS. Easy to scale with AWS.
  • A Small Orange – Super cheap and reliable.

I haven’t used any of the below, but all have been recommended to me.

CMS, if you decide to choose this route

  • – Hosted; and – Self hosted. WordPress is very flexible, has a huge Dev. community, tons of plugins, and is insanely easy to use.
  • LightCMS – I have never used LightCMS, but it looks pretty interesting. It looks like a lot of the editing and content management is done in the front-end. Built for designers.
  • Drupal – Open Source, huge Dev. community.
  • Joomla! – If at all possible, avoid Joomla!. Unnecessarily complex.
  • MODX – Open Source, non-coder friendly.
  • Wikipedia’s huge list of Content Management Systems

Turnkey Website builders

Blogging Platforms 

2. eCommerce Tools


  • BlackLocus – Big Data intelligence for pricing  assortment  and product info across the web.
  • ProStores – Social commerce solutions.
  • Priceonomics – The price guide for everything.

Shopping Cart Solutions

Storefronts and Marketplaces 

  • FlyingCart – Customizable template based stores.
  • CubeCart – All-in-one eCommerce solution.
  • Virb – Drag and drop website/ecommerce store builder.
  • Moonfruit – Mobile friendly website/ecommerce site builder.
  • Highwire – Shopping cart, mobile commerce, analytics, payments and design all-in-one.
  • Bigcommerce – Store builder with integrated marketing, SEO, and mobile responsiveness.
  • Amazon Webstore – Turnkey storefront.
  • Shopify – Easy storefront/shopping cart.
  • BigCartel – Independent store, incorporated into the larger marketplace – Art specific.
  • Etsy – Vintage and handmade product storefronts, incorporated into a community marketplace.
  • Storenvy – Free online store builder and social marketplace.

3. Building/Coding Tools

Learn To Code

  • Codecademy – FREE – interactive code tutorials.
  • Khan Academy – FREE – Tons of coding tutorials and classes.
  • PHPmaster – FREE – PHP tutorials and discussions.
  • CodeAvenger – FREE – HTML/CSS and JavaScript for beginners-intermediate.
  • Tizag – FREE – Simple tutorials and cheat sheets for html, css, and php.
  • Code School – $25/Month – Ruby/GIT/Backbone.js/JQuery/Java/HTML/iOS Objective C and much more.
  • Lynda – Starting at $25/month – More than 1500 online video courses in a wide variety of fields, including many coding languages.
  • Treehouse – Tiered plans from $25/month – $49/month – Same concept as Lynda, but strictly for coding. Crazy in-depth programs.
  • Skillshare – Price varies and depends on the class and teacher – In-person and online classes based around many different subjects, including many coding topics/classes.
  • tutsplus – starting at $19/month – Hundreds of coding video courses/tutorials.
  • (9/5/13) Open Education Database – A huge database/repository of Free Online Engineering & Computer Science Classes from top universities.

Dev Platforms and Programs

  • ToolsCloud – Tons of Dev tools.
  • FuseGrid – ColdFusion cloud hosting. Full disclosure- I have no idea what that  means.
  • CodeAnywhere – Code editor in a browser with native clients on Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.
  • Bootstrap – Front-end framework by Twitter.
  • Heroku – Super-easy app deployment.
  • FriendCode – Free private repositories and collaboration.
  • Firebug – Firefox Dev platform.
  • CodeVisually – a repository of coding tools and resources.
  • Google Page Speed Test – Loading speed insights.
  • uTest – All things testing. UX/security/functionality/speed/localization/load testing.
  • Fivesecondtest – Crowdsourced landing page optimization.
  • Silverback – Usability testing software.

Sourcing, Version Control, Integration and Deployment

  • dotCloud – Affordable custom application stacks.
  • Parse – Cloud app platform for iOS, Android, JavaScript, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and OS X.
  • Binpress – High-quality source code discovery and marketplace.
  • Cloud9 IDE – Run and debug Node.js and JavaScript code, and also supports running Python, Ruby, and Apache+PHP applications.
  • OffScale – Database version management.
  • Bitbucket – Private repository hosting.
  • Pixelapse – Design version control, backup, and collaboration.
  • memsql – World’s fastest in memory database.
  • GitHub – Collaboration, review, and code management for open source and private development projects.
  • Hostedci – Hosted continuous integration for iOS and Mac.
  • Wercker – Continuous delivery SaaS.
  • CircleCI – Continuous Integration and Deployment.
  • – Continuous integration.

Bug Tracking and User Feedback

  • PivotalTracker – Bug tracking and project management platform.
  • Crittercism – Mobile app performance management platform.
  • BugHerd – Bug tracking, user feedback, and project management platform.
  • BugSense – Mobile app bug tracking.
  • Rollbar – Error collection and analysis.
  • Usernap – Visual design and bug feedback/tracking.
  • Crashlytics – App crash/error analytics.
  • – User Testing. Simple enough.
  • Usabilla – Visualize user feedback.
  • SurveyMonkey – Survey your users.
  • Qualaroo – User behavior dependent prompts.
  • Kampyle – User feedback forms.
  • GutCheck – On-demand user insights community.
  • WebEngage – Survey your users.

Miscellaneous Tools 

4. Design Tools

UI/UX Resources

  • SubtlePatterns – Pattern/texture repository.
  • Divshot – Interface builder for web applications.
  • Scratchpad – UI for dummies. Platform allows you to grab and collect UI elements from anywhere on the web.
  • Balsamiq – Rapid wireframe/mock-ups tool.
  • Mockingbird – Collaborative wireframing tool.
  • Lucidchart – Collaborative Wireframing/mind-mapping/diagraming tool that integrates with Google Drive.
  • AppCooker – Clickable iPhone and iPad app mockups.
  • FluidUI – Mobile prototyping for iOS, Android, and Windows.

Graphic Design – Tools and Resources

Some Cheaper and Free Photoshop and Illustrator Alternatives

  • Pixlr – Free – Web-based photo/image editor. A lot of functionality, but does not save or open many PS or vector formats. Good for simple edits on a computer or device you don’t normally work on.
  • Pinta – Open-Source – Pretty robust tools/effects. I haven’t ever used Pinta, but it looks solid, and I have heard nothing but good things.
  • – Open-source – This I have used. As far as a free PS alternative goes, is as good as it gets. Huge dev. community and tons of extensions, plugins, and brushes.
  • Pixelmator – $14.99 – PS alternative for Mac OS X. I haven’t used Pixelmator, but it looks pretty robust, and at 15 bucks it is super affordable.
  • Inkscape – Open-Source – Vector graphics editor. More of an alternative to Corel or Illustrator that PS. Pretty functional, and easy to use.
  • Gimp – Open-Source – Robust PS alternative that supports nearly every PS and vector format.
  • 3DVIA Shapes – Free – 3D shape and image creator/editor.

Stock and Public-Domain Images and Font/Typography Resources

Inspiration and Design Communities

5. Mobile Tools




  • AppCooker – Mock-ups and wire-framing with clickable prototypes.
  • Codiqa – Super-fast mobile prototyping. Native apps and mobile websites.
  • Prototypes – iOS prototyping.
  • UXPin – UX design tools.
  • Justinmind – Interactive wire-framing.
  • UI Stencils – UI Stencils for hand designing apps.
  • Mockability – An iPhone app designed for designing iPhone apps.

CRM and Analytics/Metrics Tools

  • Apslar – Analytics and advertising platform.
  • Placed – Location analytics for mobile.
  • Appboy – Customer engagement and analytics platform.
  • Mixpanel – Engagement analytics.
  • Kontagent – Customer intelligence and segmentation.
  • UserMetrix – Engagement and use analytics.
  • Tracelytics – Stack application tracing.
  • Metricfire – Application metrics as a service.

Turnkey Mobile Applications

6. Content and Blogging Tools

Interactive Lists

Sourcing, Data, and Research Tools


  • Pocket – Of everything in this tool-kit, I use Pocket the most. It used to be Read It Later, if you are familiar with that. Essentially, you can put everything that you want to read or watch later into your Pocket, where it is queued up and put into a more readable format, perfect for reading articles or posts that are not mobile optimized.
  • Flipboard – Of everything in this tool-kit, I use Flipboard the 2nd most. Flipboard is similar to Pocket, but is a much more visual.
  • Percolate – Large-scale curation for brands.
  • Gnowit – Real-time alerts and monitoring.
  • BagTheWeb – Create “bags” of content around topics.
  • Prismatic – Personalized curated stream of news and other content.
  • Feedly – Clean easy to use RSS reader. Along with nearly everyone else, I switched over to Feedly once Google announced they were scrapping their reader.
  • News360 – Personalized news app (iOS, Android, and Web Apps) that learns what news you want.
  • – Magazine builder and content curation platform. Follow topics and users.
  • PostPost – Twitter specific social curation.
  • Faveous – A hub for all of your likes and favorites across the whole of social media and the internet in general.
  • – Chnl consolidates all of your social networks into one visual stream. Think of it as a Pinterest board for all content shared with you across social media. Chnl recently introduced curated topic streams.
  • – A collaborative, educational social network. Rather than being an actual source of info, is more of platform through which to share sources of info.
  • RebelMouse – Social front page. RebelMouse creates a Pinterest like stream of everything that you have shared across all social media.
  • Diigo – Bookmarking, highlighting, collaboration, and organization tool.
  • historious – Collaborative bookmarking.
  • Zootool – Visual bookmarking tool.
  • Utopic – Social bookmarking around topics.


  • YourVersion – Content discover/bookmarking around topics.
  • Trapit – iOS app that learns and adapts is discovery process to your tastes.
  • digg
  • Alternion – Aggregation/discovery tool.
  • StumbleUpon – Pure content discovery. Pick some topics and start stumbling. The platform adapts to your thumb-ups and downs to bring you the content that you want.

7. Social Media Tools


  • HootSuite – Social media dashboard combining Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and much more into one platform. Also provides analytics. Paid and Free versions.
  • tracx – Social media intelligence and real-time analytics dashboard.
  • Social Strategy1 – Analytics and engagement platform.
  • Social123Sales prospecting, lead generating and analytics platform.
  • SocialMention – Real-time search and analysis across all social media.
  • Gremln – Social media management platform for SMBs.
  • – Social media performance analytics.
  • Netvibes – Digital publishing platform.
  • Curalate – Marketing/analytics suite for Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Contaxio – CRM for Facebook and Twitter.
  • Sprout Social – Analytics, engagement monitoring, and post management for SMBs.
  • IFTTT – If This Then That. A sort of social media macro builder. It allows you to create a series of “if then” triggers for social media. A pretty useful tool.
  • Buffer – Post and sharing management.
  • GraphDive – Follower insights.
  • Friend or Follow – quickly sort, filter, follow and unfollow on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • DataSift – Social data analysis.
  • Argyle Social – A robust dashboard.

Twitter Specific Tools

  • TweetDeck – Twitter dashboard.
  • TwitterCounter – Twitter search engine and statistics tracking. 
  • Destroy Twitter – A super clean Twitter client that feels more like IM or G-Chat.
  • Fllwrs – Follow/unfollow data.
  • Qwitter – Unfollow notifications.
  • WeFollow – Directory of influencers and thought-leaders arranged by topics.
  • Followize – Minimalist Twitter client.
  • TwitBlock – Block spammers and bots.
  • – Mute people on Twitter.
  • T4BP – “TwitterForBusyPeople” – Organizes your Tweet stream by avatar. rather than by Tweets. A very interesting take on the timeline, worth a look.
  • Twitbin – A Firefox specific client.
  • ReFollow – CMS and engagement tool.

Social Login Providers

  • Gigya – Registration as a Service provider.
  • LoginRadius – API for social login.
  • Janrain – LinkedIn, Twitter, Windows ID, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo! logins.
  • oneall – Social login API that supports just about any social network you can think of.
  • WPMU DEV – Tons of social based WordPress plugins.
  • Or you can always go directly to the source – Twitter API, Facebook API, Google API,  LinkedIn API.

8. Marketing Tools


  • Crunched – Sales and marketing intelligence platform.
  • – Customer insights and big data analytics.
  • Odysii – Intelligence platform.

Social Media Marketing

  • uberVU – Real-time analytics, conversion rates, engagement reports, and much more.
  • SocialFlow – Predictive analytics and ROI tracking platform.
  • Spreadfast – Social media management and ROI/engagement/conversion analytics platform.
  • MaerketMeSuite – Prospecting/lead gen. for social media.
  • GraphScience – Facebook marketing and ROI tracking platform.
  • Wildfire – Social media marketing platform combining page/profile management, advertising, promotion, analytics, messaging, and ROI tracking. A division of Google.
  • Shoutlet – Social publishing, CRM, monitoring, advertising, and analytics for enterprise companies.
  • Adaptly – Monitor and manage paid campaigns across social media.
  • Bottlenose – Social intelligence in real-time.

Email Marketing/Newsletter Services

  • CampaignMaster
  • SendMail – Open-source
  • CheetahMail – High-volume enterprise level service.
  • MailChimp – Industry standard; Free up to 2000 subscribers; cost scales with subscribers.
  • LaunchBit – An ad network for email newsletters.
  • Addressbin – Opt-in form builder
  • ConstantContact – Email campaign platform; tons of additional CRM/user management services and products.

9. Business / Legal Tools and Resources

Legal Documents

Hiring and Outsourcing

Accounting, Payments, Payroll, Expense Reports

Customer Service

  • UserVoice – Help-desk service.
  • Olark – Live chat customer service on your website.
  • ZenDesk – Customer service software.
  • Customer Sure – Customer feedback, reviews, help-desk, and survey software.

The Pitch – Tools and Resources

  • SlideRocket, PowToon, Wideo, 9slides, Prezi – Pitch deck creation tools.
  • The Pitch Clinic – Pitch advice and strategies.
  • Idea Flight – An interactive iPad application for pitches. There is a pilot – guiding the pitch – and passengers – those seeing the pitch.
  • AngelList Valuations – A good resource to see how your company stacks up to other similar startups.
  • – Market research through polls and user engagement.
  • Lab42 – Market research software and tools.
  • aytm – Market research

Funding – VC, Angel, and Otherwise – Tools and Resources

Collaboration Tools 

Project Management Platforms 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

Innovation & Startups Inspiration #2 – 30 What if questions



… all your customers have access to a 3D printer?

… everyone in your organization is an entrepreneur?

… people need to pay for privacy?

… your whole memory is digitalized?

… your industry is fully decentralized?

… people can ‘Pay What They Want’ for your products & services?

… we pay with self-created virtual currencies?

… power naps are allowed at your company?

… you could optimize the performance & private life of your employees?

… you own your own bank?

… you would have invested in Apple or Google 10y ago?

… every employee believes to be creative?

… your product becomes available for free?

… you make space available to incubate 1,000 start-ups?

… a corporate with 300,000 employees launches a start-up every 3 days?

… you can control every device just by looking at it?

… every product & service is custom made?

… ‘Made in China’ becomes a quality label?

… you can pay public service with an exercise?

… data becomes worthless?

… you have instant access to real-time health information of your employees?

… everyone has a digital log book with data starting from birth?

… external business angels can invest in an internal start-up?

… you use drones in your company?

… all your employees are freelancers?

… every employee in your organization can work from home?

… every employee in your organization receives Google Glass?

… all devices in your office are connected to the Internet?

… you launch your own competitor?

… your unique heartbeat can unlock doors?