Best Marketing Software for Small Business:

The Complete List. Digital Marketing with No Experience

Looking to find the best marketing software for small business that help you do Digital Marketing with no experience?

You’re in the right place.

There are many types of marketing software for small business: from tools helping you do SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing, Giveaway Campaigns, Making Your Site Social and 2.0, to software helping you give a name to your new small business, and even software that helps you design the UX for the users you will bring to your startup or small business.

Digital Marketing is a super scary world if you go at it alone. Luckily, there are so many tools out there that you will never truly be lost.

For some of them, you can be a 100% new beginner, and still be able to rock the world of digital marketing and create amazing campaigns for your side project, your new business or for your new employer.

If you really have no experience with digital marketing, here are the basics for you:

  • Get a domain name if you don’t have one.
  • Get hosting. Create a site.
  • Doing digital marketing with no experience doesn’t excuse you from gathering Intelligence on your competitors. However, for $50 USD paid once, you can get a complete Expert-grade report on any site you want.

Your activity this year is heavily influenced by marketing results from the Digital World and this creates a powerful need to try the top digital marketing tools you can find.

At the Squirrly Company, we know a thing or two about top marketing software. We validated 17 software products to date, so we’re breaking down for you the world of Digital Marketing tools.

For all company sizes, we’ve looked into many aspects to determine which are the best we can recommend as marketing tools for business owners, product owners, and marketers.

In order to make this list we also took into account the fact that many of you will want to create new projects. 

It’s not uncommon for big companies (and even smaller ones sometimes) to create web properties which help them attract new leads through branded games, giveaways, educational products, new product launches, free startup tools or different templates.

The fastest way to learn how to do digital marketing with no experience is to start using the Daily SEO Goals from Squirrly SEO: Your Private Non-Human SEO Consultant.

  • teaches you Content Marketing;
  • teaches you how to get Social Media traffic;
  • teaches you how to engage email lists to drive more traffic;
  • teaches you how to make the most out of your WordPress site.

These new projects play huge roles in Digital Marketing and they are highly effective at empowering the brand, generating new customers, and expanding the reach of the Company.

You can create a super popular blog, pages that get shown on the first page of Google, bring visitors from Social media and so much more.

 With ZERO Experience. 

Just by reading and applying what the SEO Consultant tells you. It also allows you to use all the tools that will get you those results.

Squirrly SEO is the best tool out there for beginners in digital marketing.

However, if you want to also cover team communication, project workflows, finding business names and more… I have a lot more top digital marketing tools and startup tools to show you.

So, without further ado, I bring to you: The 5 Chapters of TOP Marketing Tools

Two years in the making, this list of top digital marketing tools, is well-made and well-studied

You’ll see that in each chapter we’ll tell you which is the One Tool that the Squirrly Company uses every single time we’re involved with that kind of marketing work for our new products.

We launch products quite often (at least 3 launches every year), and we have tested these tools over the years, to make sure we’re not just recommending stuff that someone from our team read about somewhere on the internet (you know.. like bloggers usually do).

And not to brag, but my YouTube channel got hundreds of thousands of views and it’s solely about using top marketing tools.

So yeah, we’re like the Eye of Sauron when it comes to surveilling new tools which arrive to the Digital World.

Marketing could be a slippery ground to walk on – even for the veterans. 

Let alone rookie marketers or newly-founded businesses. In the latter case, it could take a while until you find the top digital marketing tools to set the lead-generating vehicle into motion.

The main reason why? 

Limited resources.

Startups may not even dispose of a marketing specialist, so promotional efforts are often tentative. The paradox is that you need to learn fast what strategies work for your startup, while also building a brand and a team.

Fortunately, the Internet is not lacking in the marketing tools for business department

So, get ready to make the most out of it and get acquainted with 10 of these business props that fuse quality with good pricing.

John Sherwood and Stuart Mckeown are two entrepreneurs who aim at providing growth for other companies. How exactly did they think to do that?

 By developing Gleam – a social media giveaway platform.

Gleam offers a dashboard that allows you to manage all social media campaigns. Their widgets get more customers by:

  • organizing giveaways and competitions on your website
  • SmartPopup and reward campaigns
  • curating social media content
  • email integration

These are four features you’ll need to grow customer engagement and retention.

Engagement and retention are aspects the Gleam team can speak about from experience. They managed to promote their newly-founded SaaS business by increasing inbound traffic by 300% in six months.

Their approach was content-centered and started from the idea of offering their customers evergreen content that has an impact. This way, their growth is organic and comes naturally from quality content.

They’ve got listed on Product Hunt but only gained 34 upvotes.

John and Stuart wanted to prompt other business for growth and that’s exactly what they succeeded with one of their clients. None other than Shopify used the Gleam apps to give a boost to their social media.

They got an insane 20K in social actions with a single long-form blog post in 6 days. The inspirational story is here.

HubSpot and Sitepoint also top the list of household names that use Gleam. It’s no surprise that they’re in the top 2000 of Alexa.

They have four packages, you can check details on the site, here is their pricing:

  • Hobby $10/month
  • Pro $49/month per site
  • Business $149/month per site
  • Premium $399/month per site

You can also check their online presence by following the links bellow:

After Noah Kagan was fired by Facebook in its early years, he found himself jobless at 24.

But, soon after, he turned his situation around and worked on product development. He noticed that in general, people were struggling to grow email. Some of the best marketing software for small business in the world actually revolve around email marketing tools.

So this was the idea that fueled SumoMe – the website traffic tool that provides you a solid marketing growth. The tools pack has already helped 444,000 companies boost their traffic numbers.

They were also well-received on Product Hunt with over 400 upvotes. Andy Keil at Waldo Photos opinion about the tool was:

“Awesome insight into competitor’s content marketing.”

How? Just have a look at the all-around package provided by Kagan and his team:

  • dynamic content analytics
  • mail subscription smart bar
  • free traffic from other SumoMe sites in the same domain
  • high-converting pages creation

Why is it so appealing to startups, though?

It’s easy to install, works on any device, and doesn’t require developer knowledge. 

Names like Airbnb or Social Media Examiner seem to agree.

As far as pricing goes, there is a free Basic plan. The Small to Big plans range from $29-$119/ month paid annually. You can also contact them for a custom account if you need one.

Even though they are loosing some popularity, they are still in the top.

If you want to follow them on Social Media just follow the links below:

A marketing service that has been around for fifteen years now?

The whole situation was created by founder Ben Chestnut and co-founder Dan Kurzius in 2001, when they started an e-greetings website that didn’t find success.

So they went ahead towards creating a web design company.

The rest came naturally: a trend started to shape up in that clients were always asking about a tool that could allow them to create email promotions. 

Chestnut and Kurzius just answered a demand.

Even though you’re only at the beginning of your business journey, it’s pretty likely that you’ve heard of MailChimp. Their services include tools for:

  • email design for email marketing campaigns – clean design and fast mail delivery;
  • integrations – connects your platform to web services that increase workflow;
  • API Docs for developers.

If you’re an e-commerce site that uses Shopify, this tool is a must. It can automatically add your clients and purchase history so that you can send targeted Emails to your audience.

Twitter, Shopify, Magento, New York Times or WooCommerce are just a few who can vouch for the capability of MailChimp.

When it comes to pricing Mail Chimp, encourages startups by offering a free plan for them. The rest of the packages start from $10/month and can add $199/month depending on the number of subscribers you have.

As you can see, the fact that they’ve been on the market for so long had a positive effect on the Alexa Ranking as well.

To get in contact with them online, you can follow the links below:

Linking within apps wasn’t always a thing. Until an enthusiastic team of four (Alex Austin, Mada Seghete, Mike Molinet and Dmitri Gaskin) came up with this pioneering idea. 

They figured a way to make app links work the same as they do between websites.

Deep links are those links that guide customers to a specific section on your mobile app. It sounds pretty straightforward that you need targeted visits from mobile app users, but it wasn’t always like that. 

Customers often found themselves on the main page of an app, not knowing what action to take next.

This is where the BranchMetrics masterminds seized an opportunity and figured how to facilitate this missing function. Their software offers several types of solutions:

  • deep linking;
  • Deepview Content Preview – mobile-ready websites creation and visualization;
  • web page hosting;
  • app content sharing;

If you’re a mobile app developer or marketer, you’ll be quite pleased to get all these.

Plus, BranchMetrics’ CEO Alex Austin plans on launching an “app discoverability” tool. 

The base case to understand how Branch Metrics actually works is to imagine a user browsing your site from his phone.

Then a pop-up tells him to download the app. When he opens the app, he is looking at the same information he left off to install your app. 

That’s the magic of the tool.

Their launch on Product Hunt got them only positive reviews and more than 160 upvotes. The main deep linking platform is free. However, for more special needs, you should check out their pricing page. 

If you get BranchMetrics services, you’ll join happy famous customers like Pinterest, Starbucks, Reddit,  Buzzfeed, or Foursquare. Good company, isn’t it?

When launching marketing campaigns, you want the most successful outcome. But choose a less individualized target audience and your efforts may fall short.

Intercom helps you avoid this commonly-encountered blunder among startups. How?

By providing features on customer behavior and profiles which allow you to outline the best way of meeting their needs. 

See who your clients are, not only how many.

 They are more than numbers.

startup tools

Using Intercom allows you to further correlate with other analytics to ensure the best communication channels with customers. This is how you can win at the whole engagement game.

On Product Hunt, Intercom managed to get 500+ upvotes. One of them from Amber Osborne, the CMO from Meshfire:

“Intercom is one of my favorite products for my company. It has opened new doors in customer communication and in-app customer feedback.”

Eoghan McCabe, CEO, is a former designer-turned-entrepreneur.

When asked whether he designs anymore, he cheekily answered he now designs teams and structures. 

Featured as one of SaaScribe’s 10 disruptive companies, his SaaS company has grown to employ 100 people in 3 years. What they bring to the table is a very easy solution to customer profiling, communication, and support.

Depending on what you need the information for, the prices vary from $49 to $110 per month.

It apparently paid off, because guess who’s benefiting from Intercom products? None others than Moz, InVision, Buffer, and General Assembly, among others. 

Their leap in 2016 can easily be seen in the Alexa chart.

To better understand their marketing strategy, just follow the links below:

Isn’t it true that GrowthHackers sounds extremely similar to a widespread phrase in the entrepreneurial environment?

That’s because GrowthHackers’ CEO, Sean Ellis, is the one who launched the term ‘growth hacking’.

You know, that notion of sustainable yet fast-paced growth based on online marketing strategies for emerging small enterprises.

If you’re in dire need of a startup tool that offers the most individualized marketing content, look no further! GrowthHackers is the go-to online community for marketing insights and resources.

startup tools

With Growth Hackers, you have access to a free feed of curated posts related to:

  • landing pages
  • growth hacking
  • advertising
  • eCommerce best practices
  • staff management marketing Startup Tools
  • social media following

Apart from user posts, videos and growth studies are provided.

What makes it even more appealing is its jobs section, where you have an updated feed on the latest marketing jobs. 

GrowthHackers also developed a tool – GrowthHackers Projects – for marketing teams, billing 9$/mo for startups.

The launch on Product Hunt got them a buzz of 1300+ upvotes and very dynamic reviews. One comes from Ty Magnin, the Director of Content at Appcues:

“I’ve been using GH Projects for a while now. It has truly streamlined my ideation, prioritization and measurement process from a broken system of spreadsheets to a much more fluid and efficient one. I keep projects as a pinned tab that’s always open on my browser and enjoy tabbing in and out throughout the week. BIG BIG FAN.”

Even if they’ve been losing popularity, the community is still strong and the upcoming paid features might get it back on the map.

To see their whole online activity, just click the links below:

Conversion optimization is not only for seasoned business players. 

You’ll need to take care of this aspect from the very beginning, even though your startup is just taking off.

Take into account that Hotjar has also started as, well, a startup. So other aspiring businesses could take a lesson or two on how to take an idea and get it to 60K subscriptions in six months.

David Darmanin, CEO and founder, candidly admits that he “failed miserably in 2 startups before Hotjar.”

With Hotjar, he overturned the process, launching the tool in Beta with a basic structure that was updated on the go. That is, based on user feedback – one of the actual features of Hotjar.

What was driving them?

 A very powerful vision: to democratize the user feedback and analytics, thus changing the way websites are built and updated.

And how does Hotjar do that? By means of the following features:

  • visitor recordings– tracks clicks and movements on the website as they happen;
  • heatmaps – a visual representation of the most visited or clicked on areas on your page;
  • conversion funnels – straightforward, easy-to-track conversion metrics for each page;
  • form analytics – Hotjar designed this dynamic function so that you can see at which points visitors abandon form completion. You’ll be able to redesign or reformulate in places that have low percentages.
  • surveys and polls – create useful polls and surveys, then place them strategically on your page to get the best feedback.

The strongest case for startups using Hotjar is that it offers affordable yet insightful analytics.

The pricing depends on the scale of your platform. 

For low-traffic sites, you get a basic free plan (collecting data from 2000 views/page) or a Plus package of 29$/month (for 10K views/day).

Pricing is further individualized for business and agency-level here.

An exciting example is that of BGS (Build-Grow-Scale), an eCommerce training platform. 

They had a Shopify store, but it was only by means of Hotjar that they learned what was stopping them from going further on their business path.

Impediments were things like: the PayPal button being placed at the bottom, incorrect image scaling for mobile devices, or cart abandonment sequences. 

As soon as they fixed these seemingly minor issues, sales went up.

Today, Hotjar is a loved tool, with almost 2000 upvotes on Product Hunt.

Furthermore, the comments section is filled with enthusiastic reviews emphasizing how solid Hotjar is. 

Here’s what Shachar Shamir, Co-founder&COO of Ranky, had to say.

“This is an amazing tool, we are using it on a daily basis for us and for our clients. I really love the record option and that you can watch what the users are doing on your website. Also the polls are good incentive for understanding the weaknesses of your website.”

No wonder it is trusted by companies like Ikea, Hubspot, Panasonic, and Logitech.

The whole story argues their position on Alexa as well.

To find more about their triumphs, just follow the links below.

Email lists are one of those chapters that a startup needs to figure out as soon as possible. If they figure it out, the challenging part is to grow and maintain it. 

The smartest thing a startup can do in this respect is NOT to waste energy on un-targeted emails that get NO results.

Customer.io is a web and mobile apps email marketing tool that can help you avoid this misstep.

It all started with Colin Nederkoorn and John Allison’s preoccupation with analytics. They were entertaining the idea of developing an analytics tool, so they were trying to get feedback on their concept. 

People reported that they were already using several similar tools, but would have appreciated something that actually takes that data and makes use of it.

So how does Customer.io help your email strategy? It:

  • uses segmentation, by putting your clients into groups and creating individualized emailing patterns;
  • creates accessible user profiles;
  • automates email sending according to analytics;
  • offers design and personalization services.

On Product Hunt, they got under 200 upvotes and a few reaction from the community.

What this tool ultimately helps you achieve is customer retention. 

Their processes are behavioral data-driven and “move fast”, as mentioned on their site.

The proof is quite solid: companies like Trello, Shutterstock, and The Economist manage to make on-boarding stress-free and engagement-generating. 

All without dabbling into code changes.

The product is free for 200 profiles and 400 messages/month and the pricing packs start from 100$/month.

Check out their Social Media accounts for more details.

startup tools

If we were to make an association to the design tools list you’ll get to explore in the next chapter, then we could say that Petit Hacks is the marketing tool equivalent of Big Little Details.

That is, a handy resource to turn to before and after launching your startup. 

Petit Hacks could lead to massive inspiration or growth, as it essentially is a feed full of resources on how companies managed to achieve success. 

You’ll find tips and tricks and success stories from household names, all on the following topics:

  • acquisition
  • activation
  • retention
  • revenue
  • referrals

You take bite-size information with clear on the point examples. It’s a great place to take examples that may change the outcome of your next marketing campaign.

You can also subscribe and get a daily petit (small) hack that you can potentially grow further. As it is free, you don’t need to worry of sales emails.

On Product Hunt they got a whopping 1094 upvotes. The team is very responsive, the owner even takes time to listen to customer feedback in the comments section.

Run to thier social media accounts and start following them:

When you hear “Instapage”, what do you immediately associate it with? 

Chances are, you’ll think of something that is instant. Which is exactly what they want to offer: almost-instant landing page creation and instant conversions.

Could this be the reason Tyson Quick – Instapage CEO – has reached a whopping 1000 published landing pages per day?

Let’s go way back to the time Tyson was involved with an affiliate marketing startup. During this time, he realized marketers needed more tools to work with, so he pursued this niche starting 2012. 

From three persons, the company now counts 57 employees.

The first growth engine? Content marketing, which drives organic traffic to this day. 

From his experience, Tyson now shares in the form of an Instapage Marketing Academy, a 5-part video series you can access to get the best information before figuring out the marketing strategy for your new startup.

Instapage stands out from other similar products by:

  • appealing to a wide range of customers – from solopreneurs to agencies
  • simple interface
  • designing mobile-responsive pages
  • thank you/confirmation pages
  • allowing marketing teams to design both utility and creativity (by enabling code incorporation)
  • customizable templates
  • image editing and testimonials
  • easy and diverse form building
  • Pay-Per-Click compatibility
  • unlimited domain publishing

The best part is you can create and test your ideas fast by having lots of variations to each unique landing page.

On Product Hunt, they didn’t make a big impression, as they received only 300+ upvotes and some users praise.

Want to make sure your landing pages are lead magnets from the moment you get started in the business world? 

Get accustomed with Instapage.

Even if they are slowly loosing some of the initial excitement for their product, they are still in the top of Alexa.

So go ahead and check their online presence in the links below:

Key Takeaway

Now, if there’s any takeaway worth keeping in mind, it’d be the fact that there’s no fixed recipe or framework to guarantee marketing success. 

As some of the success stories in the lines above, your journey may seesaw several times until you find the best marketing mechanics that work for both you and your target audience.

Chapter 2: Best Design Startup Tools to Instantly Draw Everyone In

Designers and design teams all over the world are no longer on their own. 

Collaboration with the rest of departments within a company is what enables seamless functioning and the best user experience (UX) for mobile apps.

Wait. We mentioned design teams. But what if you’re a startup and can’t afford or assemble a team?

Fortunately, the marketplace is not short of design startup tools that make a mobile app look professional. And, most importantly, functional. 

As 2016 user statistics proved, 50% of users are likely to abandon a page that takes more than 10 seconds to load. Which only shows that a page must be fully functional and user-friendly to leverage that website traffic.

Here are ten of the tools that could make your app design a conversion rate feature.

Sketch is created by Bohemian Coding and founded by Pieter Omvlee and a friend of his. Their intention was to create a design application for websites, apps, and icons. Now, the company counts 13 people working in different parts of the world.

The professionalism of this tool is given by its:

  • vector-based functions
  • smart resizing or symbols reuse (symbols are stashed in the Layers List)
  • boolean operations (subtract, sum, intersect, difference) are used to make complex shapes creation more approachable

These features mean that you can easily scale your design. The shapes you define within the tool can adapt to changing styles, sizes, and layouts, allowing you to avoid a lot of painful hand-tweaking.

They also create layers for each element, which means all the parts stay 100% editable. The Pixel Zoom feature also helps you to change from full detail to inspecting the resulting pixels.

Plus, with Sketch, you have access to a plugin database that you can use in your work. The Developer Community is there to offer support and work on new features. 

You can instantly preview your work on Apple devices.

Pricing-wise, their product is 99$/month, but they also have a 50% discount for the educational license (for teachers and students).

Completely self-funded and located outside of the tech heaven Silicon Valley, Sketch is a startup itself, now helping others launch their websites and grow.

On ProductHunt they received over 1000 upvotes and praises from users.

This UI (user interface) tool runs on Mac only and helps the likes of Google, Facebook, IBM or Soundcloud – to name just a few.

These might include the main arguments why its popularity peaked in Alexa.

You can also check their online presence by following the links below:

Currently a product designer at Facebook, Arthur Bodolec has developed a side project intended to improve his front end developer skills in 2012. 

Till now, it has turned into a go-to resource for developers to understand user flow patterns. 

UX Archive does pretty much what the name says. It archives iPhone Apps user flows so that you can compare them and see what works. 

And it’s also free.

A user flow (also known as ‘user journey’) is the path a user takes to navigate or complete a task on a website.

So UX (user experience) developers must ensure they design the best interfaces a user has contact with. Here’s where UX Archive proves an incredibly useful tool, especially for startups and their design teams.

The archive is a dynamic environment where you can both see and add apps, tasks, and flows.

You can search by category or by app.

startup tools

On Product Huntthey got over 1100 upvotes and enthusiastic reactions. Sophie Masure even said:

“Love this. I use UX Archive for a long time. The animated feature is definitely a huge improvement. Very nice implementation with the mouse over for the desktop version of the website. The mobile version of the website could be done better though, with a specific mobile experience.”

One cool feature is that user flows are now animated, so you get to see the flow at a glance, not only by pictures.

Crayon offers two products:

  • Crayon Inspire – a 39-million marketing designs database which you can scan through for inspiration;
  • Crayon Intel – a complete feed for tracking companies and their marketing and packaging updates.

They provide inspiration for landing pages or homepage design; great to use as a search engine for marketing campaigns.

In short, Crayon helps marketers pick better designs by monitoring design trends and user interfaces across 4 million companies. 

If you’re interested in design updates, Crayon has developed a featured collection that displays the best redesigns on a daily basis.

Crayon co-founder and CEO, Johah Lopin, has worked as a member of the Hubspot management team for six years. Having that background, he noticed marketers are insightful in what concerns the marketing dynamic but don’t quite focus on competitors research. 

And given that each company has its digital footprint, Jonah saw the opportunity to track it and help every marketing team get the best incentive. 

In his words:

“Crayon detects and classifies the meaningful changes across that footprint to help surface competitive marketing opportunities.”

They managed to stir a buzz on Product Hunt with more than 600 upvotes. Waveney Hudlin even said:

“This is absolutely and completely amazing. Perhaps the most useful thing I’ve ever encountered on PH. I sometimes feel like I spend 90% of my time searching for inspiration and 10% actually designing. Scrolling through Awwwards has gotten increasingly less useful because most of the sites showcased are now just flashy agency portfolios rather than actual products making money in the wild. THANK. YOU. SO. MUCH. for creating this. To top it off the filters are amazing. I regret the days I spent not knowing about it.”

The Product is currently free for one user and 100$ for five users.

Do you ever wish there was a Wikipedia for design, only aimed at startups?

The good news is, Design for Startup is exactly this kind of resource. From color-choosing tools, font generators and logo design tools – this is all you need to know when shaping your design concept. 

It’s great for both professionals and for newcomers in the design field.

Lots of startup founders love this design curation tool because it helps provide insight into what design is all about.

 Founder Umit Akcan thought of creating this resource database, as he noticed founders were focusing more on development rather than design. So he assembled a collection of design resources he liked.

Believe it or not, his platform got listed on Product Hunt right away and amassed 900 upvotes in two days. Why? Mainly because users needed this tool and saw it as innovative.

And it helps people outside the Design world as well, as Bill Lewis, the Founder of Instant Office put it:

“… killer resource library this allows people like me who are not designers for a living to better understand design and in turn I can relate my needs much better when working with UX and UI folks.”

And the last argument for why you should give it a try is that the tool is free to use. Even if they aren’t very active on social media, you should go ahead and try out the platform.

Design creation is best explained through visuals, rather than verbal-only interaction. What the inVision team tries to achieve is to bring user experience closer to design. In CEO Clark Valberg’s words:

“Creating the product design workflow of the future — one that’s simple, seamless, and beautiful — is what drives me and the entire InVision team every single day. We believe strongly in the power of design not just as a discipline, but as a core language of any modern business.”

InVision is a must-have tool for design prototyping. Testing design takes lots of time and collaboration between the development and design departments.

But you can cross the bridge between the two much more easily if you use InVision.

InVision allows designers to create interactive mock-ups that can be shared instantly within a team or with clients, stakeholders, and developers. They will be able to offer feedback instantly by leaving comments or notes in the app.

On Product Hunt they gathered over 550 fans, one of them being Omri Levy, the Creator of Internet Stuff:

“I’ve been using this for a few days now and I had to come back and say it’s an amazing tool. It’s one of those products I’ll be happy to pay for.”

inVision is particularly useful for designing the mobile version of your website, as you can test the prototype directly on your mobile device. It also lets you keep previous versions so that you can see the different iterations.

Live Share is a feature that enables a team to share the same screen so that they can point the cursor in real time to the part they are talking about.

If you scroll down to the testimonials section, you’ll learn that companies like Adobe, Airbnb, Evernote, Wallmart or eBay have benefited from InVision’s features. 

InVision brings user experience closer to design. Quick feedback loops + avoid prototyping in code.

You can try it out for yourself, as it’s free for one prototype and the pricing plans range from 15$ to 99$.

What you may not know is that InVision also tries to educate. The company organizes panels where design is discussed. All on their YouTube channel. 

They are also producing the Design Disruptors documentary on how 15 leading companies are innovating in design and what sacrifices are necessary to break with the old ways in favor of customer-centric approaches.

With all the great work they put in for their users, it’s not hard to believe they are so popular.

Matt Kramer, the Ionic Creator project manager, has started out as a self-taught programmer, but aimed at becoming more than that.

 To do that, he thought of championing a product and becoming an “intrepreneur”- an entrepreneur inside the company. 

No wonder he now leads the Ionic Creator team, while also being engaged in his own side-projects.

An Ionic.io design generator, Creator is responsible with the Adobe, IBM, Dell or Intel mobile app designs.

startup tools

This easy-to-use tool is sure to make things less difficult in the design department of a startup. Create app mock-ups in 3 simple steps:

  • drag & drop
  • preview & share
  • export & deploy
startup tools

The price for the tool is also right having a free plan and a 24$/mo plan.

Ionic added a team collaboration feature as well so you can make sure you interact with your developer easier. 

Design can be iterated without the developer having to write the code each time. Export is made easy as well.

In the Product Hunt frenzy, they managed to find over 400 adopters. Here’s what Mubashar Iqbal had to say:

“Making side projects for fun and profit I’m a big fan of Ionic, and this latest release of Creator is going to make it even easier to build mobile apps. Looks like a great update!”

The “simplest app creator around,” Creator is currently used by entrepreneurs in 150 countries. You’ll sure make things easier for your SaaS if you become one of them.

As expected, the tool got in the Top of the Alexa ranking. 

Designers are known to be multi-talented and forward-thinking individuals. But Robin Raszka takes this reputation to another level, as he describes himself “a designer with obsession for knowledge.”

Mind you, he’s not being a braggart, he just happens to be an inquisitive mind that has a knack for developing products – such as: Eats , Pieman, Schnapps, Cookmate. 

The fifth one is Pttrns.

Sporting a minimalist design, PTTRNS is a collection of mobile design patterns, resources, and inspiration for iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Apple Watches.

It also offers design resources by amassing the most relevant blog posts in the design world. You can look for design for almost 70 categories. 

With each category, you can choose to look through up to 20 pages of screenshots in a professionally-designed , all-business website.

When you access each interface, you get in-detail screenshots of hundreds of apps. They recommend their product as “the mother of all design resources,” which may well be true if you consider the amount of resources they provide.

There is a free version of the product, but to enjoy the full experience, you should consider a plan that starts at $4.99/mo

You’ll have unspoiled experience with:

  • Access to the full archive
  • No ads
  • Retina Quality View
  • Invite Scrolling through resources
  • And Search.

On Product Hunt, they got almost 300 upvotes but their own site is doing much better in terms of popularity.

Prototype without code- the three words any startup owner wants to hear. 

When you start from scratch, it’s likely that you don’t benefit from the valuable input of a design specialist in your team. So, you search for something that helps you design and conceptualize on your own.

 UXPin is one of the most effective startup tools that you can use for this.

Marcin Treder is the CEO of UXPin. As a designer, he quickly learned that in companies, growth was seen as engineering-driven.

So he got to work to overturn the perception of design as decor or ”afterthought”. This is how the idea of UXPin came about.

At the very beginning, UXPin launched a prototyping notepad which surprisingly sold in 48 hours. That, and the feedback he got as a result, encouraged him to go ahead.

Now, you can design your product on the platform and allow your team to easily design, collaborate, and present both high- and low-fidelity, fully-interactive wireframes and prototypes.

Its own interface is based on a ‘no-distractions’ principle, so that you can focus on the creation or collaboration process itself. The greatest attribute of UXPin is that non-designers will be able to have an input into the creation of a product.

startup tools

The built-in usability test feature will make sure that the mockups are tested right away. This is a particularly time-saving feature any startup should look forward to.

On Product Hunt, even if they only reached 260 upvotes, they managed to really impress people who seemed to genuinely appreciate their product. 

For example, here’s what Andre Plaut from Sr. Manager, Huge Inc, had to say:

“This is super cool. I’d love to try UXPin in my User Experience Design Immersive program. It could be incredibly useful to students learning UX.”

Microsoft, NBC, RedBull or SONY are among those who use UXPin to be the best in the business. You can start using the tool yourself for plans from 19$ to 99$ or create customized pricing plan for your enterprise.

They have been loosing some traction, but the are still in the top of Alexa.

Back in 2011, Alexis Piperides was running a web and mobile design agency. Since his team didn’t find a design prototyping tool on the market, they decided to develop their own product that didn’t require coding.

 This is how Proto came to life – from Alexis’s drive to “provide productivity tools for enhancing workflow proficiency.”

Proto makes creating prototypes fun and easy with features like:

  • drag and drop
  • image and text addition
  • screen sharing

What makes the difference is the animated feature on the platform. Everything you’ve created on the screen comes to life, so the ‘prototypes that feel real’ description is really true.

The animated demos page gives you a full understanding of what they’re capable of doing. 

Amazon, BBC, ESPN, Disney or PayPal are just a few happy customers.

Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to get more than 112 upvotes on  Product HuntBut there were some convincing comments, like the one Yuri G. Rabinovich, CEO of StartupMonthly left:

“I love @proto.io Just raised seed funding with a prototype of the idea. Strongly recommend!!!”

Proto is all about helping others – this is why they designed a Video Academy. A beginner’s course which is perfect for rookie designers or even for startup owners who want to understand the designing process. The webinars are aimed at both beginner and advanced users.

It has a 15-day free trial after which you choose one of the four pricing plans starting from 24$. If you’re a student or  part of a non-profit, you can also benefit from the 50% discount.

With a few bumbs in the round they managed to stay in the top of the Alexa Ranking.

Make sure to check their social media profiles as well.

Now that you got an idea on what these startup tools offer, it’s time you take into account making your startup as visible, engaging and responsive as possible. 

Let’s face it: The hardest part of launching a startup isn’t coming up with the idea behind it.

 No, the part most startup owners have trouble with is naming their business. 

Don’t fret about it if you’re in the same boat. It’s natural that after all the hard work you put into your startup concept, you’d have trouble with this.

Well, we’re happy to say there are numerous startup tools out there that can help you out. Yes, you’ve heard us – someone actually put in the time to develop such nifty tools.

After all, let’s not forget that even coming up with a name for your business profile or username can be difficult. Not to mention finding the right domain name as well.

Don’t worry about having to spend countless hours tracking the best tools down, though – we’ve got you covered.

Here’s our official top ten naming startup tools list:

Panabee is an interesting and quite humorous approach to the naming tool idea. Yes, they basically do the same thing many other tools on our list do, but they do it in style.

Their creators made sure of that.

Yes, their service is free, so that’s already an added bonus. So, what does Panabee do? Well, it lets you look for domain names for your business.

It also offers all sorts of alternatives, in case your main preferred domain names are taken, that are derived from:

  • Phonemes
  • Syllables
  • Abbreviations
  • Prefixes
  • Suffixes
  • Popular domain trends
startup tools

You’ll have the chance to check out related terms and social media user names too. They also give you the chance to look up domain names on numerous other extensions.

And if you don’t like their alternatives, well, according to them:

“You may love these alternatives … or likely not. But you’ll definitely love our sexy dance moves. Panabee’s bringing sexy back.”

We told you they are quite funny.

 They don’t only draw in users with their services, but with their humorous approach as well.

They actually have a whole list of Q&As where they address various subjects. Said subjects include why Asian men can’t grow facial hair or if Confucius would be a rapper if he were alive today.

They also have useful startup insight, offer funny advice on how to name your startup, and have an entire section dedicated to Startup Humor. 

So, they really know how to address their audience. 

startup tools

And their attention to details doesn’t go unnoticed– most people online are quite pleased with their website.

Kunaal Arya even said on Product Hunt:

“Thank you! I’ve been racking my brain trying to find this (or something like this) for years. Don’t know how long it’s been around, but remember using something like this a couple years ago and then forgetting about it haha”

Humor might be one of the key influences for their Alexa Traffic Ranks as well.

You can also check their online presence by following the links below:

Coming up with startup name ideas is all fun and games at time, but what about the trademark aspect? After all, you want to know if the idea/slogan/name you have isn’t trademarked already, right?

Of course.

 And that’s where Trademarkia comes into play. It’s one of the largest visual search engines out there in this regard, and that’s no exaggeration. 

Founded by Dongxia Liu, the agency is based in Mountain View, California, and has been providing services and legal expertise to business owners since 2009.

Trademarkia looks up more than six million trademarked logos, slogans and brand names on the web – which is quite a unique feat when you add all those things all up.

So, you know you are getting accurate results. Also, the services they offer will make things like domain fillings and corporate registrations much simpler for startup owners.

Using this tool is pretty straightforward. Just type in the keyword associated with your idea, and choose what aspect you’re interested in:

  • Domain registration
  • Social media reservation
  • Business
  • Logo
  • Trademark
  • Patent
  • Disputes

Looking up the trademarks is free, but using their services will cost you, of course. 

After all, Trademarkia offers you access to reliable legal advice and services that make everything easier for you.

You can check out everything they can do for you right here.

They’re also present on Product Hunt, where users generally praise how efficient and user-friendly Trademarkia is.

Handle this one with care.

There are a couple of blog posts on the web from other lawyers speaking against it as an actual solution to registering your trademark.

But even with the negative comments, they managed to keep their popularity in check.

BrandBucket is not your standard naming tool. It’s the brainchild of Margot Bushnaq

It was actually developed by her and her partner, and they used it to register brand domains for ventures they’d brainstorm. The only problem was that they wouldn’t really get to launching their business ideas.

Well, when their friends turned to them for help with launching their own startups, the developers behind BrandBucket realized they could open up their stash of domain names to the world.

According to them, a branding agency can charge up to six or seven figures for just coming up with a brand name. So, they decided to offer startup owners a better, more cost-efficient option.

And that’s how BrandBucket came to be.

Using their service is free, but getting the brand domain will cost you, of course. Still, it’s worth it. They only offer quality domains and they throw in a cool-looking logo as well. 

It all looks pretty cool, right? 

But what if you don’t have a keyword that describes your idea yet?

BrandBucket’s got you covered in that regard too. On their home page, they showcase numerous brands domain ideas – both standard and premium – that they’ve registered and are up for sale.

Of course, some of them can get really pricey, but that’s because they are high-quality ideas with awesome, professional-looking logos.

You can also find Brand Bucket on ProductHunt to see what other people think of them.

Offering you the image, not just the name of the company, is probably what got them on their position on the Alexa ranking.

Sometimes, we just need something simple, fast, and efficient. And those words perfectly describe Business Name Generator.

You wouldn’t have expected a huge brand like Shopify to take on this business domain, but boy, startup owners sure are happy they did so. Their main and only goal was to help people like you get a fighting chance when it comes to naming your business.

All you have to do is enter the word you want to build your business name around, and wait a couple of seconds. Afterwards, you should get numerous results that will let you know which domains are available or not.

As you can see, you get quite a lot of creative options (there are many more beside this screenshot).

We would say this tool doesn’t do that much. However, it’s free, it’s fast and anyone can use it thanks to its user-friendly design. 

Basically, it gets the job done.

NameRobot has been around for 6 years, as it was first launched back in 2010. It was developed with a sole purpose: To make finding brand name ideas easier for up-and-coming startups. 

Mark Leiblein, the creative genius behind NameRobot, describes the website’s goal like this:

“A name-finding machine which eliminates all the tedious work with finding a name. Just enter a few related words, press a few little buttons, and be presented with beautiful name suggestions: now that would be something!”

He’s had a passion for coming up with nicknames and naming ideas ever since he was a little kid. 

As luck would have it, after years of work in the marketing world, he managed to turn that passions into something profitable – Namestorm, his very own agency.

His experience speaks for itself. With his agency, Mark has been responsible for coming up with over 500 names for entrepreneurs, small-to-medium-sized businesses, and even corporate giants like:

  • Deutsche Bank
  • Bertelsmann
  • TUI

Now, let’s talk payment plans.

Out of all the entries on our startup tools list, NameRobot features the most variety in terms of payment plans. There are quite a lot of options to choose from, including a demo version, so everyone should be satisfied.

We found the “Which membership plan suits me best?” option pretty cool, as it asks you some basic questions to offer you the answer you need.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use the tool right away, as you’ll have to register. But once you do and you’ve settled on a payment plan, you can start working on your idea.

NameRobot has got a great way of getting you started:

startup tools

If you have no ideas of your own and have to start from scratch, Name Robot can provide you with the assistance you need.

Though the process is rather more difficult – needlessly, we’d say – compared to some of the other options on our startup tools list.

Eventually, you’ll get the info you need about the keyword of your choice:

startup tools

All in all, we’d say that Name Robot is a pretty useful tool for startup owners, but only if they need a more complex naming software.

Have you ever spent countless hours trying to see if a username you came up with can be branded on all social media platforms?

We know that’s a daunting task, but it’s something you need to find out. Regardless, spending hours looking up usernames to see if they’re in use or not is just not productive at all.

Well, we’ve got the solution for you – Namechk! It’s an awesome tool that’s got only one job – to show you if your desired username is available on most social media websites. Just enter the username, and bam! You get the results you need.

On top of that, you also get to see which domains are available. That, and you can sort your results according to numerous parameters, which should definitely make your search easier.

And yes, you’ve read that right. You can also export the results to view them later – in case you’re in a hurry.

Price-wise, it’s both free and paid model, depending on your needs. Here’s an ample representation of their pricing (in case you think you need more results):

startup tools

As for the man behind Namechk, you got David Gosse to thank.

 He’s been working on this idea since 2009, and only had it fully designed in 2015 with the help of his CTO – Jeremy Woertink.

As to what inspired him to do this, we figured it’s best to let him tell you himself:

“I’m an idea guy, so I’m constantly looking for new brand names. I needed the all-in-one search view that Namechk eventually offered and I wanted it to be free for anyone to use.”

All in all, most people seem to think that Namechk has a bright future ahead of it. And we definitely see why no startup tools list would be complete without it. 

They had their ups and downs in terms of popularity but they maintain their position in the top of Alexa.

KnowEm first saw the light of day back in 2009 when it was called CheckUsernames.com. Over the years, it has become a renowned social media username management tool. How renowned, you might ask?

Well, they managed to reserve over 1 million profiles for their clients! What’s more, they’ve also helped their users deal with over 250,000 cases of brand image misrepresentation.

Barry Wise – the founder – knew exactly what he was doing with this website. 

He has been working with startups since 1997, so you can trust him if you’re looking for startup tools tailored for your needs. And his service is not niche-specific – he has helped both individuals and Fortune 500 companies alike.

While it might seem similar to Namechck, it does something different.

Aside just helping you find a username for your business, it can also help you secure it. That’s because KnowEm acts as a trademark protection tool as well. 

How? With their subscription services.

 By subscribing, startups will be notified when a new social media website pops up, and KnowEm will make sure their place is assured. They are also very proactive when it comes to addressing instances of brand misrepresentation.

Of course, their Brand Protection Program isn’t free – it’s actually $59,95/month.

However, just looking up your brand or product name and username online is free. Just enter it into their Search tab, and you’re good to go. 

KnowEm also classifies results according to 4 categories:

  • Most Popular
  • Social Networks
  • Domains
  • Trademarks

So you’ll have an easy time browsing the results, as they’re not all crowded together in one place.

The results are also more stable than what Namechk offers at the moment, so that’s another thing to consider.

KnowEm is also present on Product Hunt, but there aren’t many opinions about it. However, given how useful it is, and how much it has grown over time, it’s definitely one of the most useful startup tools out there.

They’ve lost their pitch of popularity, but it’s something to be expected for a tool that’s been on the market for so long.

Name Mesh might not be the catchiest of names, but what the website does is still very useful

Name Mesh offers you a straightforward ranking and classification of the best startup, product or app names you could think of. 

Plus, those classifications we mentioned?

They’re based on what’s trending at the moment. So, you know you’ll get a cool, relevant name this way.

Sure, there are other startup tools which do something similar, but do they offer free services too?

Name Mesh can help you find the right domain name, and it won’t cost you a thing. 

What about usability? Well, it’s so simple a child could use it. You just access the website, input a keyword, and generate thousands of results. You can also tweak the results a bit, and that’s always welcomed.

So, what are people saying about Name Mesh? Well, the opinions are a bit divided, but the tool has certainly had a positive impact on some of them.

One user actually made a clear review that shows exactly why Name Mesh should be on any startup tools list:

“This is my favorite way to play around with words and letters to come to a really cool name. Better than trying to come up with one on my own.”

The data it offers is what made it so popular in the first place and it’s what will maintain its popularity.

This is one of the most straightforward naming tools out there. Naminum is the brainchild of Kasperi Apell, and it’s extremely easy to use. 

You just input the word that best describes your startup, and the tool does the rest of the work for you. And the best part? It’s FREE. In case you need to look up name ideas for your startup and are in a hurry, this is the right tool to rely on.

It’s fast, time-efficient, and hassle-free.

One interesting aspect about it is that it’s not just focused on the English language. You can choose between:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Italian
  • French

The suffix and prefix that will be added to your term will be specific for that language.

Naminum has also been rather well received by most online users. 

Sure, there have been a couple of complaints. One that stands out is the fact that looking through all the name suggestions takes up too much time.

Still, for a free, user-friendly tool, it’s quite decent.

Even if they reached the top of Alexa, they are constantly loosing positions. It’s mainly because it’s a one-time kind of tool and there are few repeat users.

What Other Suggestions Would You Add to This Naming Startup Tools List?

We’d be more than happy to hear what you have to say about this too. These are some of the most efficient tools we’ve found, and also used from time to time.

But we’d also like to hear some of your insight as well, especially if this isn’t your first startup project.

We encourage you to to mention any other startup naming tools you find useful in the comment section below.

Now let’s move on to yet another category of tools that every startup should know about. 

Getting your first hundred users is a key factor in any startup’s genesis. Meaning that having the right startup tools for this task is vital.

Founders need qualitative and quantitative research. This will help them learn more about their buyer personas leading to the creation of the right product for the market.

Additionally, when investing time, money, and ideas into a project, getting pre-launch feedback can be a valuable asset. That’s why a platform that enables this is so important.

In the following lines, you’ll learn more about some of the best early users platforms out there. This startup tools list will come in handy when the right time comes.

The Verge noted that “Product Hunt has become a must-read site in Silicon Valley”.

Product Hunt‘s rise began in 2014 and it reached the very top. This was possible thanks to 6.1 million dollars in funding. Among the investors were Andreessen Horowitz and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

It all came true from the brilliant mind of Ryan Hoover. In a recent interview with Forbes, he stated:

“I started Product Hunt as an email list and soon afterward, reached out to my buddy, Nathan Bashaw, to build it into a site.”

Ryan continues working on growing Product Hunt even as you read this. Go ahead and follow him on Twitter @rrhoover or on Medium.

New apps, websites or technology products are featured every day. But that’s not what makes this tool supreme. You won’t find blog posts, news articles or events promoted.

No. Product Hunt is the place where early adopters go to geek out about the newest apps and websites.

 It’s not a website, it’s a community.

What makes it one of the most efficient startup tools is the fact that only a select group of experienced people are allowed to comment.

 There are no trolls and the inputs are genuinely useful.

These users are no regular users either. They represent the 1-2% of Product Hunt’s community and most of them are entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and journalists.

It’s one of the few places where reading the comments is amazingly informative and useful.

Additionally, Product Hunt is really easy to use even for startups enthusiasts. You can log in with your Twitter account if you wish to upvote a certain product.

startup tools list

On the opposite side, if you’re a founder and wish to submit your product you’ll first need to be invited to comment by a member of the community. Only after meeting this requirement you’ll be able to add your startup.

The steps are extremely simple to follow, as described in Product Hunt’s FAQ:

After logging in, click the “+” button in the top right and submit the product’s URL, name, and tagline. Each post should include the:

  • Category – e.g. Tech, Games, Podcasts, Books
  • Name
  • URL – Direct link to the product page (avoid links to press or blogs)
  • Tagline – Very short description of the product (make it catchy!)
  • Images

Another great thing about Product Hunt is that you can use it for free. The only things you can buy from their shop are some cool souvenirs or pool emojis.

You can also check their online presence by following the links below:

The name itself provides a hint into the tool’s purpose. In fact, you’d be happy to know that BetaList covered startups like Pinterest and IFTTT before they became successful.

BetaList enables startups to achieve their first few hundred users. These users help the founders better understand their customers.

BetaList was featured on Product Hunt, the previous tool in this article. Here’s what people had to say about it and how well it was received by the community.

As you may know, engaging with your customers early on leads to qualitative feedback. Betalist acts like a bridge between startup founders and their audience.

Being one of the most well-known startup tools in the niche, BetaList has managed to gather almost 15.000 users. They are all early adopters that have helped over 3.000 startups already.

The platform is easy to use and has strict rules that each startup must meet before they get featured. Once they are featured, the early adopters share the word on social media. Then, the actual testing process begins.

The tool was founded by Marc Köhlbrugge. Believe it or not, at first, BetaList was a way to get traffic and early users for another startup, by getting it featured on Tech Crunch.

Then, Forbes picked up the story on BetaList. The great feedback Marc received drove him to develop the tool even further. You can read the entire story here.

Yes, BetaList looks very similar to Product Hunt. However, some key aspects make it unique. First of all, BetaList is actually a few years older than Product Hunt. Secondly, only actual founders can submit startups.

Also, BetaList focuses on pre-launched startups only.

The tool is free.

However, you can advertise your startup on the platform – and skip the review process for $129.

BetaList has a comprehensive FAQ section from where you can learn more. You can also follow them on Twitter @BetaList.

If you’d like to get an advised opinion on your work, even if it’s in its early stage, Show Hacker News is the tool for you. The platform is a way to let people play with something you’ve developed.

Plus, your work doesn’t necessarily need to look good, as the community is comfortable with anything. Users will give you feedback and ask questions in the thread.

More like a forum than an actual complex tool – in comparison with the previous ones – Show Hacker News is a great place to get answers to your questions. 

Some part of the community is made up of founders and tech enthusiasts that can help you with different topics.

showhackernews

The board is part of the Y Combinator

Twice a year, they invest a small amount of money ($120.000) in a large number of startups. These funds are meant to help those startups make it live. Wait, there’s more:

“The startups move to Silicon Valley for 3 months, during which we work intensively with them to get the company into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected, invite-only audience.”

Show Hacker News has also been featured on Product Hunt and created a few discussions. Additionally, submitting your startup – even in alpha – is free.

/r/startups is the forum where founders and developers can look for feedback and useful inputs on their work. The sub-reddit doesn’t allow any kind of marketing and strongly advises against this type of posts.

The community is made up of different types of background and levels of expertise users.

The thing with subreddits is that the feedback usually comes from anonymous users. This could be anything, but in the thread’s description it states clearly that:

“We are a forum of persons involved with/looking to get involved with startups that are working towards unbiased and anonymous feedback, advice, ideas, and discussion.”

Steve Huffman and Alex Ohanian founded Reddit in 2005. One year after its launch, the platform was acquired by the owner of Wired.

Their traffic and users counts boomed so Reddit quickly raised up the ranks.

In October 2014, they raised another $50 million in funding. Investors included Snoop Dogg, Jared Leto, Marc Andreessen, and Ron Conway.

Under the headline “The world’s most promising startups”, Launching Next is a huge platform.

Up until now, they have featured over 5.000 startups and business ideas.

The platform works its magic using weekly newsletters for their almost 5.000 users base.

As you’d expect, these are early adopters, founders, and tech enthusiasts looking for the best startup ideas.

Founders can submit their startups for review. In case it gets approved by the Launching Next startup, you’ll get an email stating so.

To drive sign-ups and early adopters, you can pay $120 to have your startup featured in the weekly newsletter.

A cool fact about LaunchingNext is the following, mentioned by a ProductHunt user:

“I hate to break the news to you, but it [LaunchingNext] existed before PH… https://web.archive.org/ web/2012…

Be sure to follow them on Twitter at @LaunchingNext for more startup news.

KillerStartups is a bit different than what you’ve read so far – it’s a user-driven community.

The platform is meant to connect entrepreneurs that want to make it big with investors who want to fund those internet startups.

The “different part” is this:

KillerStartups.com is part of a family of sites including Fundable.com, Launchrock.com, and Bizplan.com. We are joined by over 600,000 startup companies and the 14 million backers, investors, and supporters who love them.

killerstartups

Any founder can submit their startup for review for free.

However, if you want to get in front of the rest, you can buy an advertising plan.

Sadly, there is no pricing mentioned in the section.

Fernando and Gonzalo Arzuaga are KillerStartups’ founders.

However, the tool is owned by an equity crowdfunding platform called Fundable.

Their Twitter account @killerstartups gives you even more information to use.

Closing the early users startup tools list is IdeaSquares. This platform helps startups achieve crowdfunding success.

IdeaSquares launch was born out of Webstart Bristol – the first ever crowdfunded investment fund.

Their experience empowered them to create a tool-set to support crowdfunding success.

Granted, they’re not just another “present-your-startup-to-early-users” platform. What they actually do is offer you support and guide you through the crowdfunding process.

Their partners include, at the moment, CrowdCube and SEEDRS.

IdeaSquares was launched back in 2014 by Kirsty Ranger, a young and brilliant mind with “business” in her blood. It’s really inspiring to learn how she came up with the idea.

Here’s what she told TechSpark in an interview:

“Somewhere on the M5… I was thinking about the million dollar pixel idea, and wondered if it could work for ‘ideas’. It kind of evolved from there. I initially wanted to get people to share and receive feedback for their ideas on the site. Going through Webstart Bristol has enabled me to focus on turning it into more than that.”

The platform was featured on Product Hunt but it doesn’t seem to have made any waves.

You should also know that applying for their knowledge and guidelines towards helping your startup getting funded costs 15 pounds.

Head on to Twitter and follow @IdeaSquares for more info and news.

Chapter 5: Don’t Let Ideas Slip Away: Startup Tools for Ideation

Ever had one of those cartoonish “lightbulb” moments? When you wish you could jot down your brilliant idea and get your team to work on it?

That is what this startup tools list is all about! 

As a team, Squirrly doesn’t like their ideas slipping away either. So we’ve decided to help you out with the best tools for the job.

Let’s start the countdown before – well, there goes my idea. 

Either way, enjoy the list and the great apps that come with it.

Germ was founded by Subramaniam Balasubramaniam, Vikram Bhaskaran, and Gautham Shankar in Bangalore. The city that stands at the center of India’s high-tech industry.

The first of our ideation startup tools was built to help your ideas see the light of day. How many of you:

  • Got a brilliant idea while you were working on something else;
  • Noted it in some .txt file, promising you would discuss it later;
  • Never opened your notes again?

The creators came up with the idea because they kept having those “lightbulb moments” but could not get them to the end. To quote the creators:

“Half their ideas died in transit between note apps, whiteboards and task tools, and the other half was stuck in limbo as an abstract thought.”

In Germ, you can log your ideas not only in words, but in links, images, and other visual aids. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a very simple “flow” I’ve created in Germ.

The “germ” that started the whole thing can be found to the left.

Team members can add to the germ.

They can come up with a good idea, but someone makes a more “actionable” one. One that would actually work in practice.

You can add links and pictures as I’ve mentioned. 

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The little hearts you see below the ideas and tasks are “Eurekas.” Whenever an idea appears to be great or helped you further your goals, you can Eureka it for the whole team to see.

The team leader assigns someone on some tasks to put the actionable idea into practice. 

When the tasks are done, they are marked as “completed.” Of course, you can also not take a task if it seems like it would take you nowhere.

Essentially, Germ offers an online brainstorming platform with no limits to what triggers creativity.

James Koole, a Product Manager at Hover.com had this to say about the service:

“Love the idea. Trying to shoehorn brainstorming in a team around a new idea within the confines of a task manager was never ideal. The ability to riff on ideas, and go from seed to a fully baked plan is powerful.”

You can even use templates developed by the team if you don’t want to build your own Germ board from scratch. They’re useful for quite a few areas where brainstorming is essential:

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The service is free, other than Germ.io requiring you to abide by their “bro code.” Here is a humorous excerpt:

“By signing up, logging in, using, or anything as much as staring at a screenshot of germ.io for over 10 seconds, you promise on the souls of 42 baby seals to abide by this Honor Code.”

Try out their tool, and leave them an upvote on Product Hunt if you like it!

Next up on our ideation startup tools list is an iOS app. Those of you who don’t own or don’t plan on owning an Apple device might want to skip to next item on the list.

For those sticking around, Curator is a great way to manage your ideas with your iPhone or iPad.

For those of you confused about what’s going on above, let me elaborate. Usually, when you come up with ideas, you tend to switch between a lot of pages and images. 

You lose focus in between those actions.

Curator aids you by creating a grid where you can paste:

  • websites
  • images
  • text documents

By having everything handy and being able to organize all this data, you never lose track of your thought process.

Founder of Curator & Co Ltd. Daniel Nordh said Curator:

“[…] started more out of a frustration around content fragmentation. Images, bookmarks and text notes all end up in different apps by default on iOS, you can’t see them together even if they are to do with the same project.

Was also very keen to be able to move things around, ordering visual content by date or name doesn’t make much sense right?

We’re now heading in a collaborative, social direction so it’s probably aiming more at being a better Pinterest. Faster, cleaner and mobile.”

The app is free if you only intend to have one user on a board at any given time. It also means that if you want to export your work to PDF, you’ll be limited to a lower resolution. You are also limited to 1GB of storage.

The premium option for individuals starts at $4.99/mo and removes those limits. You can also pay in a $19.99 one-off, but you will still get the 1GB storage limit.

Looking to use the product for business? Get in touch with Curator, here. Leave them an upvote on Product Hunt if you like their idea.

If you’re working in a team, you’re probably using some chat program. Aren’t you tired of switching between apps/pages just so you can link something?

Point lets you “point” a page at someone you’ve added to your team inside the app. When you get to an interesting page, simply use the Chrome Extension or iPhone app to link it to anyone.

Co-founder, Ashwinn Krishnaswamy said Point was built:

“[…] to solve one of our personal frustrations — we were constantly sharing links throughout the day with our friends (mostly via email + group threads), and wanted a simpler, more effective way to do this.

What we’ve designed (so far) is a plugin for your browser that gives you a quick way to privately share & discuss directly from the page you’re on.”

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Want to share only a bit of the web page you’re on? No worries. You can use the built-in text highlighter to send important or interesting data to friends and colleagues.

“Everyone’s on the same page.” Yes, that got me too.

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Due to how easy it is to use, reception of the app on Product Hunt has been positive so far. Jonathon Triest of Ludlow Ventures had this to say about the app:

“This is slick. Being able to share content so quickly is awesome. Been using it with co-workers… “Point it to me” has replaced “email it to me”. Also love the highlight text feature… hopefully this can reduce the strain on my email inbox!”

Try it out, and if you like it, leave your upvotes on their ProductHunt page! Co-founder Ashwinn also seems really active there, if you want to join their community :-).

Another app for Macs and iOS. As always, you can skip to the next item if you don’t intend to work with iDevices. Apple product users will put this app to very good use.

Stache was created by d3i Ltd., a UK-based company. The company was founded by Oliver Waters and Michael Waterfall.

They’ve created quite a few apps in the past, out of which you might have heard of Momento. That’s the app that brought them their success back in 2010. Recently, they came up with Stache.

To help with idea generation, visual data works best. 

Bookmarks that only feature some related text aren’t very good at triggering your memory.

If you have a lot of items on your list, it can be difficult to find the page you’re looking for.

 Especially if you’ve bookmarked subpages of the same domain.

Stache helps you out with visual aids to find what you’re looking for much quicker. It offers a way to screenshot exactly the part of the page you seek. Better results!

The search feature also allows you to scan each bookmarked page for keywords.

For better categorization, you have these handy tools:

  • folders
  • a tagging option
  • collections

Stache is also useful when you don’t have access to an Internet connection. One of its features allows you to archive websites for offline use. Since everything is stored on iCloud, you can use any of your Apple devices to access your favorite pages.

On Product Hunt, Preslav Rachev had this to say about the tool:

“I just bought my copy of Stache for Mac. As a heavy Evernote, user, I think this will help me declutter my account from all visual bookmarks and web clips.”

According to the tool’s App Store entry, it’s free for a limited time. Try it out!

Founders of d3i Ltd., Steven and Michael Waterfall and Oliver Waters are very active on Product Hunt. Give them an upvote if you like what you see, or join the community and tell them what you think of the app!

Next on our list is a mind mapping software created by German developers Michael Hollauf and Till Vollmer of MeisterLabs GmbH.

The idea for MindMeister came about when they were using Google Docs and MindManager. 

The latter was deemed by Michael as “the only serious mind mapping software [at the time],” but it had one fatal flaw.

A $300 price tag.

Thus, they could not collaborate with anyone on their projects, rendering the brainstorming capabilities of the tool almost useless. They decided to create their own mind-mapping tool with better sharing options.

For team collaboration and project management made easy, MindMeister is the tool to use. You can create visually stunning presentations directly online (works on the Web, iOS and Android!)

Then, present them to your colleagues and partners live. Or, post it to your website for extra style points.

The best talking point of the app is the way it makes your presentations actionable. Anyone who tells you that some presentations aren’t boring is lying to you. Not everyone is adept at this.

Get rid of that problem with MindMeister!

Of course, I’m not much of a presentation creator, but I will create some simple ones for you to see the tool in action.

Luckily, MindMeister guides you through the process with some simple pointers. Even if you haven’t used such a tool before, it will be easy to get started.

For example, here’s the beginning of the tutorial provided. It all acts as a presentation, and you can let MindMeister do all the work for you!

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I’ve played around with a few simple features and created a simple mind map. The pictures inside each element were provided by MindMeister’s WunderBild feature.

It automatically searches the web and adds a picture for the topic inside the “thought bubble.” Of course, there’s also some default icons built into MindMeister which you can add to your presentation.

Here’s what came out in the end.

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Of course, you could always just learn from the default mind map named “My First Mind Map.” It looks much better than mine.

There’s also more to the mind map to the left, but if I zoomed out more, it would be a mind map for ants.

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Catherine Desrochers at HelloKtryn had this to say about MindMeister:

“I have been looking for a mix between a Project Management tool and a Flowchart tool. This is the absolute perfect solution. This is better than Trello and the free/pro plans are just perfect!”

Getting started is free, but they also have some accessible price points for extra features. More information below.

They also have a Product Hunt page. You can get answers directly from COO of MeisterLabs, Oliver Huebler, if you join their community. Check out the tool and give them an upvote if you like it.

BoxNotes is built on top of Box, a cloud hosting solution. It is similar to Google Docs, but with a few more features on its toolbelt.

Founder Aaron Levie created Box as a simple college business project in 2004. With his childhood friend Dylan Smith as CFO, he decided to work at Box full-time.

It’s been a tremendous success, we would say. Considering they’re now working with Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and GE. In fact, the New York Times report that:

“[…] Box said 40 percent of the Fortune 500 were paying customers.”

In fact, in the same NYT article it’s stated that:

“[…] in response to this trend, last year Google moved its word-processing and spreadsheet software into a part of Google Drive, its storage service.”

So the beginning statement should really be “Google Docs is a similar tool […]”! But I digress. 

BoxNotes works as a way to share and edit documents online, and take notes on what everyone is doing. You’ll have a much easier time managing what the team is working on.

The tool works on most major platforms, including Windows, OS X, and mobile devices. An individual desktop app is currently being developed.

Want to be a part of the suite of Fortune 500 companies using their tool? 

Check out what they offer for their prices here.

Skitch was Evernote‘s useful “doodling tool.” Many used it as a doodling app, but they missed out on its usefulness in work environments.

For example, you can use it to make notes of article layouts on different sites. If you’re working on document editing, you can also markup whatever you’re working on.

You just take snapshots of what you’re trying to work on and edit away in the tool.

Unfortunately, support has been discontinued for the Android, Windows and iOS versions of the app. They now only offer it for Macs. Luckily, you can still try it out on the former if you were already using the app.

Or, you can simply use Evernote. 

Jack Hirsch reported on their blog that many of its features had been incorporated into the main app:

“We’ve incorporated many of the best features of Skitch and Clearly in our core applications. Skitch users will find nearly identical annotation functionality in the Evernote Windows and iOS apps.”

Of course, many of you probably already know Evernote as a famous note-taking app.

The most useful feature I should mention is their optical character recognition (OCR) technology. If you’ve uploaded images of your paper documents into the app, you can search by keyword to find what you’re looking for.

The same goes for any hand-written notes you’ve made. No more wasting time by “sifting” through images.

Here’s a picture of the OCR technology at work in Evernote.

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I looked up the word “Theme” in a note. Even though the text is not actually present, Evernote identified the “Theme” text. The picture comes from XMind, the next tool we’ll be talking about.

Try it out, see how it compares to similar tools on our startup tools list.

 See their price listings on their official website, and what features are included in the free version.

 Otherwise, if you’re a Mac user, feel free to try out Skitch.

Here’s an app for all the open-source software lovers out there. XMind is another mind-mapping tool which helps you stay organized in the online workspace.

It was founded by Stephen Zhu and Brian Sun after they graduated from Anhui University, in China. 

Brian had won his city’s programming contest for 3 years in a row.

No wonder they decided to create such a great mind map app. In 2014, Lifehack listed them as the best of 15 such brainstorming tools.

Take a look at its features in the picture below or on their website.

It gets a plus for having more stuff in their free version than other alternatives. It doesn’t feel like a “freemium” app, even though there’s a Pro version available.

With XMind’s mind maps, you can have a better overlook of the whole situation.

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XMind has templates you can use for your mind maps, just in case you want to take different approaches according to your teams’ needs.

Here’s a screenshot illustrating the various types of blank templates they’ve implemented (for you to fill out):

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But that’s not all you have in terms of customization. Once you’ve chosen your template, you can choose between a few different types of “skins” for each.

Take a look below at the skins for the Logic Chart mind map template.

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Alternatively, you can choose one of their pre-filled templates. They’ve introduced a lot of them for use in:

  • Business;
  • Education;
  • Personal use;

Check some of them out below!

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We won’t be able to show you each and every one of these templates. That’s for you to discover! But we will show you an example out of all the options.

Check out the Company Hierarchy mind map:

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Download the free version here, if you are interested.

It’s available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Another plus is that there is no installation required for the app.

That means you can just take it everywhere you go on a USB stick and use it on any computer.

For those interested in what the Pro version offers, have a look here.

What Can You Do with These Startup Tools?

Mind-mapping is still one of the greatest techniques you can use to get your idea from start to finish. For that, you have several alternatives in Germ, MindMeister, and XMind.

And since mind-mapping is always a team effort, we can’t ignore apps like BoxNotes and PointDocument and note management are made easier, and so is sharing online data between colleagues.

Stache, Curator, and Evernote are ways to keep your work data organized and easy to present. Not to mention easier to return to after a long wait.

Elevatr, as we’ve seen, is a simple way for anyone to create an amazing start-up without getting lost along the way.

The way the apps are built make it easier for ideas to flow forward. That is why we chose them for our list, and why we think they would be valuable to startups.

Now, on to you. Which apps do you think would have deserved to be included on this list? If you’re already using some of these, do you have any favorites? Don’t be shy, leave your opinions in the section below!