It's a wonderful feeling to discover a product or service which helps you do better work, get organized, be more creative, or accomplish tasks faster. Here are several excellent ones you likely haven't heard of.

Ludus

If you're tired of dull PowerPoint presentations, this web app is worth trying. It lets you embed anything from the web quickly: 3D objects from Sketchfab and Typeform; prototype tools including Framer, Prototypo and InVision; or embeds from YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Google Street View, Sheets, Chart.js, CodePen and more. Ludus has more than 25,000 users and competitors include Swipe.to, Prezi, Google Slides, Slides, Paste and Visme.

Cost: Free or a Pro version for $99 a year.

Wrike

This project management and collaboration software behaves as a shared workspace that lets team members view project schedules, documents, statuses and assignments. It also brings structure and time-saving automations to workflows for marketers, to simplify common tasks like submitting briefs, kicking off new projects, and collecting feedback or approvals on assets. It works on desktop and mobile, includes time tracking and integrates with other tools like Slack, Zapier, Google Drive, and Microsoft Office. Wrike has more than 16,000 customers in 120 countries and competitors include Asana, Smartsheet, and Workfront.

Cost: Starts at $9.80 per user a month.

Artboard Studio

This online graphic design application is for creating product mockups and social media promotional banners, without large file downloads, and Photoshop is not required. To use it, you choose from a library of templates and mockup items and add your own branding, such as labels, logos, or coloring.  For example, if you have a coffee shop, and you would like to promote your shop by creating presentation images and social media promotional banners, you can use Artboard Studio items such as cups, a French press or paper bags. You can customize them to match your brand, lay them out in a scene where you can move, rotate and scale them. The end result exported from Artboard Studio is an image, which you can add to your website as a banner or share on social media platforms and online services such as Webflow, WordPress, Dropbox and Google Drive. More than 12,000 people have applied for early access to the tool which is in private beta. Competitors of the Istanbul, Turkey-based startup include Adobe PhotoShop, Canva, Placeit, PicMonkey and Shutterstock.

Cost: Currently free, but paid plans will be announced at some point.

Unsplash

This stock photo website lets you download and use images for personal or commercial use without having to credit the photographer or Unsplash. The Montreal, Canada-based company offers more than 500,000 high-resolution photos provided by a community of more than 82,000 photographers. Users download more than 11 photos a second and competitors include Pexels, Shutterstock and Pixabay.

Cost: Free

Startup Name Check

With this beautifully simple tool you enter any names you have in mind for your new business, project, or product. In an instant it checks to see if they're already taken on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the domains for .com, .io and .co. It remembers the names you've looked for and adds new ideas you come up with to a neat and compact table. Since launching in April more than 12,000 searches have been completed on the checker which was originally created by a software engineer for his own use. Competitors include Namechk.com and viable.af.

Cost: Free.

ThingLink

This media editor lets you augment images or videos with additional information, such as notes, audio, videos, or links. As a content creator, you can create interactive maps, infographics and training materials by adding media hotspots to existing images or build virtual audio tours by directly recording narration to 360-degree photos from an iPad. Viewers can explore details in images and videos by tapping a specific area of the image or video. Founded in 2010 in Finland and with a 2013 launch in the United States, the CEO of this Palo Alto startup dropped out of doctoral school at the University of Helsinki to move to Silicon Valley. More than 5 million content creators in 190 countries have used the platform and competitors include Wirewax, Adobe and Google Expeditions.

Cost:  For business, individual plans start at $240 a year, and for educators at $35 a year. A Premium Business account with multiple seats costs $1,500 a year.

Drag

This Chrome extension works inside Gmail and interfaces with other services you use right within your inbox, such as Asana, Evernote, Todoist and Trello. It configures your inbox like Trello with your email stream in one left-aligned column. From it, you can drag messages to other columns on the right, such as "To Do," "Doing," "Done," or whatever headline you prefer. You can also add non-email notes, due dates and to-dos to the lists you've created in Gmail, so you can access them all in one place. Team boards within Drag are being launched in June and let you work collaboratively with others. The London-based company has 32,000 daily users and competitors include Sortd, Yanado, FrontApp and Hiver HQ.

Cost: Free, with a Pro plan available for $3 a month. A Team plan will be launching in June and run $9 per user a month.

Outreach

This customer engagement platform manages all customer interactions across email, phone and social channels. It uses analytics and machine learning to identify which interactions drive the best results and automatically records data in backend systems like CRM for accurate reporting and forecasting. Outreach claims companies using its platform gain five to ten more selling hours per week per rep, generate 30 percent more opportunities and book 10 to 25 percent more revenue. Competitors include ToutApp, YesWare, SalesLoft and Catalyst. The company, which was founded in 2014, went from zero to $10 million in annual recurring revenue in under two years and has received $60 million in funding.

Cost: The complete package is $140 a month per user.

Published on: May 11, 2018