British-American tech and social media news blog Mashable listed its top Kickstarter gadgets for 2014 and one Canadian startup’s platform squeaked into the list.
Montreal-based InfoActive, the former FounderFuel graduate that makes data visualization easy, was named the #13 Kickstarter project. It still has a few days left in its crowdfunding initiative, but has already raised four times its original modest funding goal of $12,000.
CEO Trina Chaisson was pleased with the recent stroke of good luck. “It’s a wonderful way to wrap up a tremendously successful crowd-funding campaign, raising more than four times our initial goal,” she said. “It goes without saying that my team and I are stoked. We’re ready to greet the New Year with an incredible group of supporters, who can’t wait to make data-driven stories with Infoactive.”
We recently spoke to the company in November when it first launched the crowdfunding project. Chaisson told us they had a backlog of users who want to get into the system “from people who see the value and want to use this, and we’ve been having a hard time figuring out who to let in first.”
InfoActive, so Mashable explained, “is a web app that allows anyone to build interactive, dynamic and responsive infographics, without any prior knowledge.”
“You can upload a dataset and the app will intelligently determine a useful, graphical way to present the data, from charts to maps. The infographic also updates with live datasets.”
InfoActive is part of a growing trend towards understanding the mass amounts of data that web-based software companies are constantly churning out, in an effort to understand how customers are behaving. Ideally, with a strong grasp on the data that one’s website produces, one can make better decisions and ultimately make more money. It’s all part of general shift to web-based software over the last five years. The world’s data is projected to grow 50 times over the next decade, and with this advance in “big data” comes a need for improved data understanding. Presenting information in a meaningful way, through charts and infographics showing trends over time, is crucial. That’s what InfoActive is doing.
Chaisson told us last month that she landed a fellowship at the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI), a prestigious department of the University of Missouri. RJI engages media professionals, scholars and other citizens in programs aimed at strengthening journalism in the service of democracy, and it came with a $90,000 grant for Chaisson. Things certainly are looking up for InfoActive these days.
Chaisson’s work at RJI currently focuses on small news rooms, and how they use data visualizations in the context of data exploration, when they’re creating interactive data visualizations to help readers explore complex data sets.
The popular blog Mashable evidently took notice and gave them a vote of confidence. I did wonder why Mashable wouldn’t just list the “top crowdfunding projects of 2014”, and include Indiegogo projects into the mix too. Nevertheless, some other very cool-looking gadgets were named.
#1 on the list was Peg, an aluminum, perforated board that can hold anything you want. The board comes with smaller pegs that you can customize and put on the Peg board to hold your belongings, such as a smartphone, keys or jewelry. It can also act as a stand for your mobile devices.
Other interesting projects included the Python Cord that protects MacBook charger cords from fraying, or the FlyKly Smart Wheel, the motorized bike wheel that turns on when cyclists start pedaling.