Why didn't I think of that? 8 Austin startups turning simple ideas into big business

February 17, 2017

Austin startups have produced some incredible ventures, with ideas that beg the question: "How on earth did you even come up with that?" On the other hand, there are plenty of local startups that have capitalized on basic ideas that seem so obvious we're left wondering why we didn't start that business first.

Here's a look at eight Austin tech companies we're hitting ourselves over the head for not thinking of. 


In 2014, Dropoff launched to modernize the old industry of courier services through a same-day delivery tech platform. The idea came to life after the founder had a lackluster experience with a local courier service and found out only a few providers offered delivery confirmation — and none provided real-time updates. Just last month, they rolled out an app so users can schedule and track deliveries from their mobiles.


Shockingly, not everyone owns a truck in Texas. And thanks to the 2014 startup Burro, you don't need one. Dubbed "your personal pack mule" the service offers on-demand, same-day delivery for larger items. Users submit where items need to be picked up and delivered and receive an instant quote — making Ikea trips so much easier.


Taking Yelp to the next level, Localeur created an app for real locals to leave recommendations of restaurants, bars, entertainment and more for travelers to #ExperienceLocal. Since its launch in 2013, the startup has expanded to 40 U.S. cities, with a catalog of more than 10,000 local, authenticated recommendations. 


A handwritten note still goes a long way. That being said, they can be incredibly time consuming when done in bulk. In 2013, a SaaS company launched in Austin to automate handwritten letters. MailLift provides sales teams and marketers with letters that are originally hand written before turning toward a template to help automate the process. 


By linking your service providers, Billsley works behind the scenes to analyze your monthly bills and determine where you can save money. When a savings opportunity is identified by "Billsley," he'll send you an alert and walk you through how to make the change to save you up to $500 a year. The startup originally launched two years ago as OnePay, a bill consolidation tool that also discovered savings, and has since pivoted to focus entirely on an automated savings platform. 


Piq Chocolates merged our favorite sweet with technology by creating a website that allows consumers to design their own chocolate treats. Be it personal or professional, the startup sources their chocolates from France and assures door side delivery within three to 10 days of order. 


Gone are the days of looking for a roommate on Craigslist. LeaseBuddies created a matching system for folks looking for someone to share their lease with. Similar to how dating apps match potential candidates, LeaseBuddies makes recommendations based on social interests, personality and more. 


Last year, WholeSplit went live to help consumers take advantage of the lower cost of ordering products in bulk by setting up group buying between strangers. By working directly with Chinese manufacturers who make things like TVs, the WholeSplit platform allows people to sign up for a waiting list until a minimum required bulk order is reached. Then, the order is placed and consumers save on the difference between retail cost and manufacturer pricing. 


Images provided by social media, companies and Shutterstock.

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