It's rare to see company pitches on stage that actually keep you fully awake. At the Supernova 2007 Conference, in conjunction with Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, 13 companies delivered five-minute pitches on their products/services. Actually, it was 12 companies and one fake company for fun.
The fake company was easy to figure out, not because the presentation wasn't scintillating, but it was too bizarre, more like a "Daily Show" segment. Zapmeals, an online food delivery marketplace matching food preparers and consumers. Someone went to a lot of effort to design a WordPress site and produce the stunt. In true Web 2.0 spirit, I expect someone will take the goofy idea and turn it into a real company.
What was impressive among the real companies is that each one had a solid pitch, although the judges--Arrington, Paul Kedrosky, Josh Kopelman and Julie Hanna Farris--who commented on the pitches noted that some were in Google's (or some other big company's) crosshairs, which can be good or bad depending on if you get crushed or acquired.
Here is my short, short take on the startups:
- adap.tv: Contextual, unobtrusive ads for video content. Much needed.
- AdaptiveBlue: Smart browsing leveraging semantics and attention, and building structured data.
- AggregateKnowledge: Real-time content matching that raises the bar on surfacing relevant information, products or services.
- CastTV: Video search engine that has good potential.
- Critical Metrics: Discover of music and other content faster via reviews.
- Jangl: Bridging the Web and mobile phone in a very clever way. Has Facebook integration.
- Pando Networks: Dramatically decreasing the cost of moving big files via a P2P network and working with content delivery networks.
- SodaHead: Polling service on healthy steroids.
- Spock: Search organized around people. Easy to like and impressive.
- Wize: Aggregates, scores and presents relevant expert and user opinions.
- ZenZui: Very cool user interface for mobile devices.
- Zing: Audio playback with Wi-Fi