Watching the skies, keeping our ears to the ground – paying attention to the newest, most exciting startups is a pretty big part of what we do here at The Next Web.

But now and again, we like to collaborate with other companies that share our focus. So, we teamed up with Beta List – a site that documents early stage and pre-launch startups – to bring you a shortlist of some of the most exciting startups that have just launched, or are just about to launch in one form or another.

Some are further down the road than others, but all are early stage startups you might want to keep an eye on in the year ahead.

To view this post on one page click here.

Updatey

We caught up with Updatey’s founder Benjamin Dell to find out what he was cooking up.

What is Updatey and who’s it for?

“Project tracking, presented beautifully. Simply, manage, track and visualize the progress of your project; share the results with your team, clients and stakeholders. [We] focus on presenting typical project information and ’noise’ in a meaningful and elegant way, Updatey is perfect for teams that see the value in keeping everyone on the same page and providing timelines, reports and information that almost anyone can understand.”

How is it different to your competitors?

“Our primary objective is to create a suite of tools that anyone within the team – whether they’re a developer, a project coordinator or a client – can understand and make use of. We’re fanatic about ensuring that when someone adds information to a project, no matter whether it’s a deadline, a task, a comment or a status update, that it is presented back to the wider team in a clean, beautiful and intuitive way.

“And this, it turns out, is quite an important focus to have, as it can have quite a transformative effect on the way that you and your wider team think about and engage with your project.”

“By contrast, you only need to look at a random selection of existing project management tools and you’ll quickly find that the way project information and key metrics are presented is far from elegant or easy to digest.”

How big is your team and how have you funded the project so far?

“We’re a small team of 5, based in the UK and privately funded. Although we’re not actively looking for funding or investment, I am conscious that with the right financial injection and partnership, Updatey’s ambitions could be realized far sooner – I like to keep my ears to the ground in case such an opportunity were to present itself.”

What stage are you at now with the launch?

“We unveiled the beta ‘badge’ back in October 2013. During the 3 months that ensued, we attracted over 3,500 beta signups and an incredible response from the community. We officially moved out of beta and into revenue mode in mid January 2014. We’re now heavily focused on delivering the next phase – including enhanced project management capabilities, in a typically ‘Updatey’ way, of course.”

Updatey

Snippit

We got in contact with Miguel Estrada from Snippit.

What is Snippit and who’s it for?

Snippit is a new social music app to share your moments through music by creating short snips (of four to 10 seconds) and having the option to add a photo or caption to share with your friends and followers. It’s a completely new way to express yourself not only with a picture or words but with a verse that fits the moment. It’s also a great tool for music discovery, allowing users to search and download music through the app. Snippit is for everyone: from teenagers to musicians or music lovers.”

How is it different to your competitors?

“Everyone loves music but so far there [hasn't been] any app or social network that gives you the opportunity to be creative using music as a way to express yourself and share your moments or feelings… Most music apps just show you what your friends are listening to, or allow you to share just a pre-set 30 second song preview. Snippit gives users the ability to choose an exact verse or section of the song to share, and that creative control is very powerful and fun.”

How big is your team and how have you funded the project so far?

“Our co-founders are Joe Grano and Sam Jurist, and we have a design and development team of six people. Joe and Sam previously worked together at a sustainability company called Ecological LLC and had success in that venture. Joe has spent the last couple years working in the entertainment industry at Leverage, working with the producers and creators of shows like Entourage and Boardwalk Empire. His experience in film and music was very influential in the creation of Snippit. Joe and Sam formed Snippit Media Inc. in May 2013, and thus far the company has raised an internal friends and family seed round of $500,000.”

What stage are you at now with the launch?

“We had a soft launch in December for friends and testers and we had our official launch at the beginning of February. So far the feedback has been incredible and we’ve been seeing some nice growth in user base. Currently we are working on updates and marketing to get Snippit in the hands of users, musicians, and social media influencers. We’re very excited for more people to discover Snippit and have fun with the app. We truly feel it’s unlike anything out there.”

Snippit

Range

TNW contacted Range’s Bartosz Pietrzak to find out about the newest team software on the block.

Range 730x338 7 early stage startups to watch in 2014

What is Range and who’s it for?

Range is a team scheduling software for agencies & studios. It fits between and enhances both project management and the sales process. Imagine that you’re running a design/development studio and a new client approaches you with a project of specific size that requires a specific skill set. “When can you start?” is one of the questions that Range helps you answer.”

How is it different to your competitors?

“Most of our competitors try to do too much – e.g. they incorporate tasks management into scheduling software. We have been designing Range with two goals in mind: first, that it should not replace existing tools but enhance them, and second, that the scheduling process should be as smooth as possible.”

How big is your team and how have you funded the project so far?

“Range is bootstrapped at Monterail, a design & web development agency. We have the funds as well as competencies to create the product in-house.”

“The team consists of Monterail’s CTO Tymon Tobolski, Head of Product Design Krzysztof Trzewiczek, and its founders me [Bartosz Pietrzak] and Szymon Boniecki.”

What stage are you at now with the launch?

“We have the prototype that we’re testing with teams of different sizes. After months of figuring out the best way to manage our team members’ time and schedules in a software agency, we think we have a solution. We are very excited to see if this could bring value to other teams.”

➤ Range

Shadow

We got in touch with Shadow’s founder Hunter Lee Soik to find out about his dream project.

What is Shadow and who’s it for?

“We want to build the largest global dream database with a community of dreamers, we welcome anyone and everyone.”

How is it different to your competitors?

“We are happy to share the space with the other apps on the market, we have organized eight [team members with] Ph.Ds who are all focused around the study of sleep in dreaming and hope to forward the global understanding.”

How have you funded the project so far?

“We have raised around $80,000 on Kickstarter and we’re in the process of finding the right angels to help on our mission.”

What stage are you at now with the launch?

“We are internally testing and will release a beta to the early backers on Kickstarter in the near future.”

Shadow

Peak

TNW got in touch with Peak Director Marshall Haas.

Peak 730x440 7 early stage startups to watch in 2014

What is Peak and who’s it for?

Peak is an automated way to keep track of what everyone is working on. It’s aimed at growing companies that feel out of touch with who’s working on what. As your headcount grows, it becomes harder to keep track of what’s happening day to day.”

How is it different to your competitors?

“There are many apps that aim to help you keep up with your team. The difference with Peak is we do it without ever requiring users to input, upload, or type out anything day to day. Peak figures out what you’re working on by connecting with the services you’re already using. Everything happens automatically. This approach also helps cut down on workplace interruptions. Your team is free to focus on their tasks at hand without having to worry about updating the correct people.”

How big is your team and how have you funded the project so far?

“Peak is a product of MetaLab, which is a bootstrapped company that’s been around for over 7 years. We have a couple other successful products, Flow and Ballpark. My team team consists of 3 backend devs, 1 front-end dev, 1 designer, and myself.”

What stage are you at now with the launch?

“We’re approaching our public launch. We launched privately a few months ago and have sales in the five figure range.”

Peak

Snapwire

We caught up with Chad Newell, founder of Snapwire.

Snapwire 730x475 7 early stage startups to watch in 2014

What is Snapwire and who’s it for?

Snapwire is a mobile app that gives mobile photographers a real-time feed of paid photo requests from creatives, businesses, and brands. Stock photo buyers post a photo request on our website and photographers use our iOS app to submit creative photos to match. If your photo gets purchased, you get paid.”

How is it different to your competitors?

“Creative collaboration – that’s our big differentiator. Think 99 Designs for stock photos.”

How big is your team and how have you funded the project so far?

“[There's me], Paul Filitchkin (Lead Dev and Chief Architect), Kerry Usry (Senior Dev), Eric Willis (Agile & Scrum Lead Software Dev), Danielle Storllie (UI/UX product) and Lindley Marie (Community Manager)”

What stage are you at now with the launch?

“[Snapwire] just moved from private beta into a [public] beta.”

➤ Snapwire

Exposure

We got in touch with one of Exposure’s creators, Kyle Bragger.

Exposure 730x358 7 early stage startups to watch in 2014

What is Exposure and who’s it for?

Exposure is a tool designed to help you create beautiful photo narratives — that is, to tell a story through sets of photos and written word. We started out by targeting different groups of photographers, from hobbyists to semi-pros, all the way to full-time professionals. As we’ve grown, though, we’ve definitely noticed that our most active users tend to be somewhere in the highly skilled hobbyist to semi-pro realm.”

How is it different to your competitors?

“Aside from a clear, up-front business model, our singular goal was to give users the absolute best photo narrative builder around. Using Exposure means your photography looks great no matter the device or screen size. In other words, we make it effortless to tell a great story.”

How big is your team and how have you funded the project so far?

“The team right now is Luke Beard, myself, and Luke Crawford. We’re incubated at a company called Elepath, which took a little funding a few years ago and is the brainchild of Jake Lodwick, creator of Vimeo. Our mission is to fill the world with great software. To us, that means releasing well-designed, thoughtful, and sustainable products which make their users’ lives better.”

What stage are you at now with the launch?

“We launched to the world in December 2013 and are now happily on our way to profitability. Prior to that, we ran a private beta for a few months with about 150 photographers.”

➤ Exposure

Featured Image Credit – Shutterstock