I am here at Lift08 in Geneva, Switzerland. Tonight is “Venture Night”, a startup launch-pad that had 50 submissions, which were narrowed to 8 startups who all demoed and presented their business case tonight. The format is a good one, and it is similar to Under the Radar: 5 minute demo and business model, 5 minute questions from panelists and 5 from the audience. This is a posh event, wine and Swiss breadsticks no less and the turn out is substantial for this “pre-lift” event (I’d estimate 400+). And the inimitable Guido Van Nispen as MC.
- 1) Viewdle.tv
A video search company. Find people in video, images, using contextual and voice cues. More than just tags. Very slick and ajaxy. Searches for clinton, then narrows by Iran, shows in search results streamable clip of Hillary speaking of Iran. Options: sort by tag, by content channel, and by timeframe and, oh god, they have video tag clouds (what is this 2006?). But the seach works in the demo, and it’s cool.
Have widgets for blogs. Business model is video search sold to content producers (reuters) or video aggregators. Processing is computationally intensive, not trying to crawl or index web on their own (smart).
Converting online store visitors to buyers – 98% of online shoppers don’t make purchases. Uses past behaviors, intention and behavioral targeting to convert viewers to buyers. Turn known visitors into loyal customers through targeted content. Theory is to grow the 2% end of the funnel as more profitable than the 98% end.
Free and simple online hard drive. This has been done before. The twist, using distributed storage and bandwidth. You have to share your own HD and bandwidth to us it. Their catch phrase is to be the “skype of online storage” (great catch phrase). Judges are throwing softballs until vc asks about copyright infringement: do they have the same issues as youtube or ftp servers. Revenue streams, ads, photo prints, or sell premium services. They make sure data is available even if large part of network is down, they also back up on their own servers and their system works on bittorrent principles: fast downloads through fragmented storage
What are other people doing?, I want to plan my Friday evening. Like a dopplr for activities with your friends. Nice looking screens. looks like a jaiku/twitter calendar mashup. This begs the question: why not bundle, or at least mash this up with existing social networks instead of creating a new one. I asked this question. They want to, and will support integration.
Digital is more present in the physical world like table top computing, surface computing and like bumptop but real. For public spaces, skinnable walls and tables gorgeous interactive surfaces, rippling water and blooming flowers, more art than tech. VC panelist says there are a few funded competitors – which also means this is a validated market with some action in it. I’d like one of these for my living room. But they have no interest in making it cheap, it is not a consumer technology.
6) cocommentwas launched way back at Lift 2006 syndicates and collects and aggregates blog comments tries to solve the problem of bog comment viability trouble is blog comments are less interesting than blog posts. Cocommenters comment more and are stickier. Rev model is ads, and conversation tracking. A lot of “former” users on the panel asking ome questions about performance, usability.
Do you trust online services, do you trust them with your data? You should have control of your data. Keep it to yourself. Data is stored on cards that aggregates all your secure data and logins. talk about a vulnerability, get hacked once and they get everything. Admit that I don’t really understand this play or how it’s differentiated. Authentication and security is important, but in reality, mostly people say they do, but, in practice, don’t care. Many many startups before them have leapt onto this sword of federated online security management.
8 ) Pixelux entertainment
Digital molecular models. animate materials like materials instead of scripted animations. Metals bend like metal, trees bend like trees, great for realtime video game animations. It reduces the costs of video game production through procedural physics rendering. DMM physics engine, realtime animation libraries, based on glass, metal, wood, etc. the algorithms know how it will break, bend or shatter. For movie market or for games and animation. Flat fees, and licencing business models on titles sold by the millions. nice.
Whew, a solid deck of demos. Now this is a larger scale of event (and these are later stage companies) than our typical democamp or startupcamp, but I’m left feeling that we in the Canadian community need to step up our game. A lot of good Tech here (with a capital T). Good polish of apps, good polish of demos and some impressive technology that could actually work (mostly). Bravo.