Invisible Particls to reappear

Web 2.0 start-ups never die, they just go into stealth mode.
Written by Brad Howarth, Contributor

Web 2.0 start-ups never die, they just go into stealth mode.

The one-time star of the Australian Web 2.0 start-up scene, Particls, is being readied for a relaunch in 2010, with a new business model and possibly a new brand.

Earlier this year the websites of Particls and its parent company Faraday Media disappeared from the internet. But investor Stephen Kelly, whose company SJK Consulting has been funding Particls and another start-up, Peepel, confirmed that the project remained active.

"Where we are with Faraday, we've gone back into stealth mode," Kelly said. "In hindsight we probably should have had a holding page up, but we will probably be re-branding the company as well.

"We ran into resource problems. There are three entities here — SJK Consulting, Peepel and Faraday — and there are only so many dollars and developers to go around."

Particls was originally created to help people better organise online information, with versions that managed RSS feeds and Twitter topics.

Kelly said the new version would be more attuned to the needs of businesses, initially as an information tool for healthcare and law enforcement agencies. His ambition is to use the business version to earn revenue from licence fees, something that the original version was unable to do.

Faraday will also release a new consumer version of Particls, which Kelly described as partway between the original version and the business version. Both versions will be released in 2010, with Kelly unable to estimate a specific date.

"It depends on how things go next year, how busy we are with other work, and how busy we are with Peepel," Kelly said. "And we've got a few new projects that we are looking at."

The Peepel business has created a "web-top" that houses a range of applications within a single web page, including maps and location services, spreadsheets and a document editor. It can be accessed via a PC or mobile device.

Kelly said he has been working with a government department for six months on a service using Peepel to track their mobile crews and exchange information using mobile phones.

The software has also been integrated into the Doo Phone, a mobile handset specifically designed for visually and intellectually impaired people that is being developed by Orange Dot, and into other projects.

"We are trying to get third-party developers to take the Peepel framework and write their own solutions," Kelly said. "The big thing is an international health website that I can't talk about yet, but if I pull it off it will be the one that changes the world."

SJK Consulting has been operating since 1999, with specialisation in geographic information systems for the web and mobile devices.

"SJK is not going to buy me a mega-yacht," he joked. "With Faraday and Peepel, the hope is they will get me the mega-yacht and I can retire for life."

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