Startups to Watch | Web Summit 2023

By Grazia D, 27 Nov 2023 – Editor-in-chief di Ascolta News

Photo Web Summit

The common threads of this edition of the most important technology conference on earth are twofold: sustainability and access to resources + AI.

The following is a list of startups that I think are interesting both for their original approach to tackling a problem and for the use of one or more technologies they have employed to solve the problem. The founders, both young and old, all have the attitude of “assemble and disassemble,” pose critically but not pessimistically toward the future. Moreover, some women in particular, show tenacity and resolve in dealing with the gender gap (another topic of this edition). A healthy pride that is sowing seeds in a very courageous and strategic way, in some cases starting from the root as is the case with YourDaye, a female-led startup that has developed a tampon for the diagnosis of major uterine diseases.

1. Luckie Tech is a Brazilian startup with a mission that excites from the story of its founder, Joel de Oliveira Junior, an engineer who lost his son to cancer. It is a device created to save lives of children and adolescents undergoing cancer treatment: through a bandage, changes in vital signs are revealed, anticipating possible complications. With the information gathered, the hospital can recommend, more precisely, the start of treatment, even at a distance. Its goal is to try to reduce the mortality rate among young patients who will undergo the treatment (started the trial already in two hospitals).

2. Dermaself® is an online, all-Italian platform that offers free dermatology consultations for those with acne. This startup also stems from a personal story: a dermatologist mom and a daughter with apparently incurable acne, in Milan. Thus was born Dermaself®, a platform that analyzes one’s acne and recommends cosmetics to use. In Italy, more than 5 million people suffer from acne, but only 20 percent of them go to a Dermatologist because of the prohibitive costs that a visit to the Dermatologist entails; Dermaself® addresses the remaining 80 percent with free online consultations. This all-female startup also has a profoundly revolutionary mission: to break down a taboo and reclaim its singularity and its right to access personalized care for women.

3. Kvistly is one of the most interesting platforms I’ve seen here at the Web Summit. Interesting because of the way it uses artificial intelligence and the very very smart interface to use. They do a simple thing but they do it well: they create quizzes about anything in 1 minute. Queso can enhance learning and inclusion in a fun and effective way not only for kids. It can basically pull questions from your materials seamlessly and easy to implement (with a qrcode!). It breaks the monotony of quizzes and makes creation easier, improving learning.

4. PageParade Founded in March 2023 in Poland with a team relocated between Austria and the Netherlands, this startup has a singular mission, to enable anyone to effortlessly create impactful presentations, regardless of previous experience and skills in creating presentations. They promise ease of implementation, cost and time optimization.

5. Tellme.place is an “online environment” for talking about loneliness and mental distress. This is also a startup that starts from a personal story, that of Bogdana Kostiuk, the founder who started from an important fact: 79% of young people experience loneliness on a daily basis, many of them feel lonely at work. They feel isolated from others, especially if they work remotely. This globally accessible platform was created with the aim of connecting those who feel lonely at work.

6. Framedrop, is a video editing software for streamers based on artificial intelligence: basically the best moments of live streams are automatically captured and turned into topical moments ready to be shared on social media.

7. UncovAI, come from San Francisco and specialize in advanced machine-learning artificial intelligence tools and solutions, at the Web Summit announced the launch of a revolutionary artificial intelligence tool that can accurately distinguish texts written by humans from those generated by GPT-type models. They promise to be an efficient and environmentally friendly solution.

8. BrandVox is the analytics and tracking platform of a Ukrainian team. The goal is to help brands succeed on social media by improving their positioning strategy. It basically allows brands to track mentions on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin, enabling them to identify market opportunities, respond to customer inquiries, protect brand reputation. analyze the sentiment of mentions and the ‘intensity of mentions.

9. Podsqueeze is an intuitive tool that helps podcasters, podcast managers, and agencies reuse podcast content. How? Obviously with the power of artificial intelligence. It basically allows users to generate transcripts, show notes, blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, episode clips, quote images, and landing pages from podcast audio or video files with a single click. In short, a console for popularizing your podcasts because it allows you to easily create for your own social media posts. Must try.

10. Highfive Expert is an HR platform born from two Ukrainian women, Kateryna Ostapchuk, Co-Founder of technology startups and Viktoriia Prydatko, a Recruitment Influencer with 20 years of experience, known for creating successful teams for Grammarly, Ring and Vimeo, are opening paving the way for a new approach to hiring tech-savvy talent. As? By prioritizing relationships and proprietary highfive.expert software through which technology companies can be contacted first by candidates.

11. Forumm David Cowan with his project Forumm is an Alpha Startup. It is a fintech-for-good startup on a mission to reshape the fundraising system of alumni who, think of it, donate more than $20 billion to U.S. universities each year. This platform combats the disparity in access to funding between elite institutions and smaller educational facilities. In short, a cutting-edge online toolbox, previously accessible only to established universities, now available to a wider range of educational institutions at a greatly reduced cost.

12. QiBud is a platform that translates corporate vision into consistent and measurable actions. Adapted to all management styles and business structures, it fosters collaboration and execution of work fluid and intuitive. What’s new? It focuses and promotes better attention to key activities, stimulating innovation and improving coordination.

13. Point of You is a genius startup. Their motto is “The point on the map is a mirror of personality, not just coordinates.” The two founders, Maria and Eugene Rakitin launched this Portuguese startup that offers personalized maps with recommendations from influencers and opinion leaders. Those who wish can create their own map and share inspiring and favorite places. For bloggers and influencers, it is a way to guide others to lesser-known places and profit from them. For their followers, it is an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of an interesting person and get a feel for it. An evolved and augmented google maps.

14. Robosculptor is one of the leading robotics experts in the United Arab Emirates providing non-invasive aesthetic body treatments. In practice they offer a wide range of tools for aesthetic body contouring including lymphatic drainage, sports therapy, anti-cellulite treatment and skin tightening. They use a high-speed 3D camera, capable of creating a precise 3D model of a patient in just 10 seconds. It then dynamically adapts to the patient’s movements, resulting in a truly personalized experience. Potentially fantastic for physiotherapy, medical massage in rehabilitation and indeed aesthetic remodeling of the body.

15. S.Lab is one of the startups that positioned itself among the top 10 in the PITCH competition of the web summit that brings together startups in their early stages. It is a necessary startup because it offers a green packaging solution composed of only two components of plant origin: one is made up of agricultural waste and the second is mycelium. Mycelium is a network of mushroom roots used for its binding power and therefore useful for creating resistant and reliable material capable of completely replacing polystyrene. It is a natural substitute for expanded plastic and can be applied in various sectors such as padding for cosmetics, housings for electronics, packaging for furniture and fashion and even heat-insulating boxes for food and pharmaceutical products. This packaging basically has the same characteristics as polystyrene in terms of durability, waterproofing and thermal insulation, but after use it will completely crumble in just 30 days. With this innovative solution S.Lab supports the sustainable packaging needs of companies, producing locally and on a large scale.

16. Tonto, an app that shows great promise. It applies AI to audio content search. The app responds to the growing demand for personalized audio experiences based on individual listening habits by providing real-time recommendations. The ‘algorithm leverages user data to personalize recommendations, continually evolving over time. By meticulously analyzing factors such as listening duration and individual preferences, it achieves high personalization and user engagement.This innovative approach ensures users embark on a curated audio journey that resonates with their unique tastes, mood complexities. Tonto’s algorithm is probably one of the most cutting-edge algorithms in this Web Summit.

17. Fiero is the world’s first true zero-code game engine. A simple subscription (SaaS) model designed for independent developers and game studios will soon be available. Founded in 2022 by two UK-based industry veterans, Fiero was born out of frustration caused by the poor usability and high friction of current game development engines. The vision is to create great games without writing a single line of code, thus making creativity the true driver of the game creation process. If you are in this business, beer the free beta for game developers on the site. Video games represent a huge industry and revenue (movies and music combined) it is worth taking an interest starting with this very innovative solution.

Published in Ascolta News

In_Press_Digital Journal

Political connections: Tonto is a potential game-changer for campaigning in the 2024 election

By Jon Stojan, 20 Oct 2023 Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

When it comes to winning a political election, conversation matters. Research suggests that while some politicians spend hundreds of thousands on television advertising, face-to-face conversation is one of the most effective campaigning strategies. But when in-person conversation is not possible, such as a nationwide campaign, platforms like social media app Tonto are helping to fill the gap.

According to the app’s founder and CEO, Manna Justin, Tonto is changing the way users connect with their political leaders sans murky censorship guidelines and risks of content or accounts being removed. “There are important conversations happening, and free speech is necessary for that,” he says.

Ask any campaign manager the primary objective of candidate messaging, and you will likely get a similar response. Reaching a larger audience and maximizing the impact of those connections is pivotal in swinging the vote. Traditionally done through radio and television, today’s modern politician has turned to social media to keep up with the fast-paced conversation in our digital age.

While traditional methods remain influential, they have limitations. These mediums often lack the interactivity and real-time engagement that modern voters desire. Meanwhile, social media platforms offer such engagement as they connect followers directly with their favorite candidates. Though the 2020 election unveiled concerns about politically focused censorship for both users and political figures.

In contrast, Tonto stands out as a unique platform for campaign messaging. The app uses short-form audio as its primary content medium, which users can share publicly with followers or privately through direct messaging. According to Justin, Tonto wants to be the go-to app for politicians in the 2024 election and beyond, thanks to its audio-sharing capabilities and the potential to convey ideas in a straightforward way.

“The goal of every campaign is to amplify the messaging and reach more people,” points out Justin. “Sure, they can use traditional tools like TV, radio, and print media, but there is nothing like being able to share content in real time.”

Interactive by nature, Tonto allows campaigners to foster a two-way conversation with potential voters. Features like speech-based replies encourage voter engagement, allowing candidates to address concerns and answer questions directly. As research suggests, those personalized interactions can bring a successful campaign across the finish line. The platform can also serve as an internal voice messaging system for campaign teams.

And while the Tonto has great potential as a key tool in any politician’s campaign toolbox, challenges remain. Authenticity and transparency are key ingredients in voter outreach. Tonto puts candidates in direct contact with their supporters, removing concerns about media bias or “false news” that has been perpetuated in past elections.

In the run-up to America’s 2024 election, Tonto is a game-changer for candidates on the campaign trail. The platform’s innovative approach to free speech can elevate how campaigns connect with voters, foster meaningful interactions, and ultimately secure voter support. Learn more about Tonto’s potential in the political campaign space at www.gettonto.com.

In_Press_US Reporter

How Journalists Will be Using Social Media App Tonto to Maximize Their Political Coverage in 2024

By Veronica Thompson, US Reporter, 20 Oct 2023

Americans do not trust what they hear on the news. Following the 2020 presidential election, the average voter has lost faith in the media to deliver accurate, truthful information — more than 50 percent, according to recent data from Gallup. With trust between the public and news outlets at an all-time low, journalists are looking for new ways to bolster faith in their readers.

Tonto, an audio-based social media platform, is poised to be a go-to tool for these reporters in the 2024 election season. According to the app’s CEO and founder, Manna Justin, “Tonto can be a way to rebuild the connection between our news outlets and their audiences.”

Traditional news outlets have long relied on highly produced content. But in the age of social media, information travels faster than most local news outlets can keep up. There is significance in sharing uncut information in real time as the general public tries to keep up with conversations about its country’s future. Tonto aims to provide reporters and news stations a platform to share unfiltered content directly with their audiences.

“When these pivotal conversations are happening, access to unfiltered information and the freedom of speech is essential,” points out Justin. “Users can listen, but also join in the conversation and share their perspectives in a real dialog.”

Editorial decisions and limited air time might mean a story is shaved down to just the essential facts. According to Justin, Tonto offers a solution for unpublished content left on the cutting room floor. Reporters and producers can repurpose raw audio material on the social media platform, providing a fresh perspective on news stories and interviews that would otherwise go to waste.

While the journalism sector operates under a strict code of ethics, phony citizen journalism, artificial intelligence, and unresearched claims are just a few reasons the phrase “fake news” has trended in recent years. However, social media allows readers to connect directly with the press more authentically. Dedicated Tonto profiles build authority and trust for reporters and their dedicated stations or networks.

Users can also discover bipartisan coverage and explore different perspectives through the “Tonto Politics” channel, which offers a curated stream of sound bites, videos, and other content from prominent political candidates. This real-time hub provides access to diverse viewpoints and perspectives on the country’s political issues. According to Justin, Tonto anticipates this feature will become an audience favorite as the 2024 election ramps up.

Tonto can overcome traditional publishing constraints, delivering information faster and more directly to the audience. The platform’s short-form audio format allows reporters to convey unfiltered information in a way that resonates with today’s audience. Currently, Tonto is an app-based platform available for download on both Apple and Android devices.

“Everyone has a voice. And everyone must be able to educate themselves on the candidates and what is happening during the campaign. Platforms like Tonto can be a tool for how voters get their news,” says Justin.

As the election season unfolds, reporters are reaching for new tools to better political journalism and its coverage of the democratic process. Explore how reporters and citizen journalists are using Tonto to change political reporting for the 2024 election and beyond at www.gettonto.com.


How Social Media Platform Tonto is Changing Political Discussions Ahead of the 2024 Election

Written in Partnership with Amir Bakian, 25 Set 2023

Political discussion is a mainstay on any social media platform. But after the 2020 election, the discussion of censoring those politically focused conversations also started trending. Government leaders amass millions of followers online, turning platforms like Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter) into a primary news source for the general public.

However, according to many users, they lost an opportunity to voice their opinions as censorship rumors spreadacross today’s most popular social platforms. Tonto, a short-form audio platform, promises a space that does not compromise freedom of speech.

Founded by CEO Manna Justin, Tonto is working to change the dynamics of political discourse: “Platforms like Twitter are affected by a certain amount of control because of that written political messaging. Whereas Tonto is a platform for that freedom of speech—and speech, quite literally.”

He references Tonto’s use of audio and speech as a primary content medium. From funny soundbites shared between friends to music clips and news reports, the platform uses short-form audio to give users a way to elevate their voices. Community members can also reply and comment to posts using their voices, democratizing the conversation on a digital platform free of censorship.

Censorship on mainstream social media platforms has become a contentious issue, with regular content removal and account suspensions due to conflicting viewpoints. This has raised concerns about the stifling of free expression online. In contrast, Tonto offers a space that respects and protects personal expression. Without censorship, users can engage in candid conversations on the topics most important to them.

The platform also helps connect users with fresh perspectives and real-time news. Its curated “Tonto Politics” channel is a bipartisan feed of relevant sound bites, videos, and more from leading political candidates. Community members can add to the discussion with their thoughts and opinions.

“Users can share in real-time. If you think about a candidate giving a speech, someone can share their take on it for anyone who wants to listen, instead of coverage about the same speech spun by the media,” Justin points out. As today’s traditional news outlets tend to dominate the narrative, Tonto is a friend to the citizen journalist.

As Justin points out, “Everyone has a voice. Everyone should be able to share their thoughts on the candidates and what the country needs. There is no censorship here on Tonto.”

In addition to its public content and direct message capabilities, the platform also features onboard transcription services to ensure content is accessible to all users. Tonto is committed to diverse viewpoints and an inclusive space where everyone has a voice. While the platform is free of censorship, Justin is also committed to preventing abuse or harassment through built-in content flagging features that allow users to earmark potentially abusive content for the Tonto team to review.

As the 2024 election draws near, Tonto is here to empower individuals to have their voices heard, changing how we engage with the most critical conversations across America. 

The app is available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Learn more about how Tonto supports free speech during the 2024 election and beyond at www.gettonto.com.

In_Press_Tech Times

Tonto CEO Harnesses AI to Supercharge Short-Form Audio Curation

By Noah Miller, Tech Times, 09 May 2023

Manna Justin while driving to work in the morning might listen to soft rock. To unwind during lunch, he might listen to a bit of comedy.

On the drive home from work, it’s time for some classical music. “Everyone has their own different patterns of listening,” he said.

And this is what drives the latest phase of development at Tonto, the short form audio platform and app that Manna founded.

Tonto lets users post audio, and post comments on that audio. That audio can feature everything from amusing soundbites created by friends and strangers to new music clips; news reports from established journalists in the field; and random audio missives. Tonto can also be used as a quick communication tool, thanks to voice notes.

Now, Manna, the Tonto CEO, is harnessing the power of AI to tailor content to individual users’ listening tastes.

“We’re not going in with the AI for generating content,” he said. “That’s not our interest right now. The first step is to use AI to supercharge our algorithms-so we can refine it on the fly, so it keeps learning about every user’s preferences and patterns of listening.

“At the end of the day, everybody has some kind of an algorithm that identifies what people enjoy listening to or viewing, whether it’s TikTok or Instagram or whatever. But we are a lot more advanced in terms of using AI. For example, what is the mood of the content that people are listening to, rather than just, who or what are they listening to?

“Is it somber music? Is it exciting? Is it comedy? Which language is it in? Are there any other bearings to real time events that will influence the listening patterns? That’s where we’re going with AI.”

At the heart of Tonto’s AI-supercharged algorithm initiative is the data that the startup has compiled on its users, which sketches out profiles of who listens to what and for how long.

If a user dials up a clip that is two-minutes long but consistently stops listening after 30-seconds, their profile reflects all of this. Or, if the user only listens to certain types of short-form audio, that is added to the profile. This is what Tonto is supercharging with AI.

At the same time, Tonto keeps sending audio clips your way, one after another, as determined by your profile. So in addition to making your own selections, you can consider Tonto’s suggestions. Overall, this benefits Tonto’s users and creators.

“The algorithm is curating what you want to listen to, and delivering it to you through the app,” Manna said. “Over time, as more and more data is compiled, the AI becomes more and more supercharged, and the algorithm curating what you’re listening to becomes more refined.”

Looking ahead, Manna and the Tonto team are crafting a strategy that will allow audio creators to monetize their content. Combined with targeted ads that feed off a user’s interests and the content they are listening to-sports cars and rock music anyone?-Tonto is ramping up its ability to generate remuneration.

“All of this continues to build a base that allows our user experience to get better,” Manna said.

Managed by teams of young entrepreneurs across three continents, Tonto’s origins date back to the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. Manna fell ill and during his long recovery listened to a great deal of comedy and music from a range of platforms.

“That’s when the idea of Tonto came about,” Manna said.

He added, “The launch was personal.”

Visit gettonto.com to learn more. Tonto is available for download on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store


Tonto: Short-Form Audio Platform Harnesses Music, News, Funny Soundbites to Conquer New Frontier in Social Networking

By Mark Beasley, 14 Feb 2023

In recent years, different videos have gone viral on social networks about ASMR content and if you have never heard of this topic, we share what it is and how it works.

The acronym ASMR stands for “Autonomous Meridian Sensory Response” in English. ASMR is basically a pleasant

Between texting, social media, online news and entertainment websites, emails and never-ending correspondence that spans our personal and professional lives, we all do plenty of reading, by the hour, the day and the week. So—how about we do a little less reading, and a lot more listening? That’s the vision driving Tonto, a short form audio platform and app where users can listen and post comments on what they’re hearing. In the process, a two-way dialogue is created where users can let clip creators know what they think of what they’ve just heard. In return, creators can build on what they’ve posted to Tonto by interacting with their audience. Tonto sets the stage for:
  • Connecting with people by voice.
  • Recording or uploading your own audio content.
  • Sharing audio with friends and followers.
  • Discovering audio of interest to you, including new sounds, funny ideas, crazy thoughts, strange points of view and more.
Tonto features short form audio—from funny soundbites generated by friends and strangers and new, uncut music clips; to news reports from the field generated by established media outlets, and random audio missives that allow users to express themselves while building a bold new means of communication whose focus lies outside of the written word. Tonto CEO and Founder Manna Justin acknowledges the global impact of platforms like TikTok and Twitter, and the manner in which they have swept the social media market. But he also pointed out there is nothing comparable to these two popular platforms that relies solely on audio—until now, that is. “TikTok is the biggest social platform because it allows users to post short form video,” said Manna, who has launched multiple tech startups focusing on education, fuel delivery, golf and marketing. “Tonto will do the same for audio. “The general public as well as content creators can publish anything, from ex tempore content on the fly to highly-produced content, all for the whole world to listen to.” Manna pointed out that audio messaging is widely used on platforms like Whatsapp. But this audio stays within a small group and is never broadcast to a wider audience, where it could inspire others and spark conversation while generating feedback—all critical components of Tonto. “We have built THE defining audio social platform in the world,” Manna said. “And we intend to be THE market leader in this space.” Operated by a team of young entrepreneurs on three continents, the roots of Tonto can be traced to the COVID-19 pandemic. “During my long recovery, I was listening to a lot of comedy and music from various platforms,” Manna said. “That’s when the idea of Tonto came about.” He said his launch of Tonto was “personal.” “I consume audio more than other forms of media,” he said, “music from Spotify; random music from Soundcloud; books from Audible; and even just listening to videos and not watching them on YouTube.” Manna is partial to audio as entertainment because he is a multitasker and enjoys listening because it frees him to complete tasks, fun and otherwise. Online video, on the other hand, demands the complete attention of users and leaves no breathing room for multitaskers to work their everyday brand of magic. Speaking of Tonto, Manna said, “I think millions of people around the world can be entertained this way.”

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