Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. If you're interested in gorgeous open offices, friendly dogs roaming around, and gluten-free, locally-sourced snacks loaded in your company fridge, we can't blame you -- startups are pretty awesome places, even beyond the sweet work perks. Hipness aside, startups are often at the forefront of innovation in product and technology and have an advantage over more established companies in the sense that they operate in a dynamic, non-traditional way. With less red tape to cut through, the employees at startups not only wear multiple hats, but they operate in ways that emphasize effectiveness over all else. As a result, startups are focused on improving the product and establishing best practices through trial and error.
Flare By GoDaddy lets you swipe right on good business ideas. Handling dating the way you handle business decisions might seem cold, but GoDaddy might be onto something by flipping that formula around. Flare is a new app that GoDaddy -- better known for its domain hosting business -- launched today. It lets you give feedback to business ideas big and small by the dozens, like Tinder for people's fledgling moneymaking ventures. It even has a way to take your relationship to the next level if the idea becomes popular and you want to stay in touch.
A multitude of startups, from new challenger banks, payments companies to chatbots, are betting on the premise that whenever there's disruption -- in this case, following technological and regulatory changes, a plethora of new fintech companies are unbundling various parts of the banking sector -- it inevitably leads to fragmentation. And then what eventually follows is convergence. Enter: just-launched Bud, a web and mobile app that aims to make a ton of different financial services accessible from a single interface. There's also a directory of supported fintech services that you are encouraged to sign up to, which, in the short term, is also how Bud plans to make money. It will get an affiliate kick-back for any customer it sends their way.
Artificial intelligence is becoming a buzz word among technology companies, and rather than growing services internally, enterprises are acquiring startups and other companies with expertise in the field. Several of the tech industry's biggest players have been investing in AI in recent months, extolling the potential of AI to help scientists process large data sets and understand cause and effect relationships. In October, for example, Apple purchased VocalIQ, a United Kingdom-based startup that worked to improve the way computers understand natural language. Salesforce has made a number of AI-related purchases recently. In March, it acquired PredictionIO and before that, it bought RelateIQ and smart calendar app Tempo AI.
"We do think there will be significant growth," Microsoft's Kimberly Nelson tells the NYT. "As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road." Twenty-five states in the US have legalized pot, either for medical or recreational use, and five more are voting this year to approve it, including California and Nevada. That's created a kind of (Acapulco) gold rush in Silicon Valley, with startups sprouting everywhere. The software giant is based in Washington state, where it's perfectly legal to sell pot, and sees the potential for profits.