At the Web 2.0 Summit Launchpad, 13 web startups have 5 minutes each to present their wares. Here are some quick impressionistic views of how it went....
In the chair is a music-based video game, where people can interact with music - e.g. generate your own content and play along. It's being billed as a music publishing platform, with mashup and remix tools. Today is the launch of their version 2 beta. Seems like a cute tool, not sure how useful it is for most people.
instructables is "step-by-step collaboration" for home projects. It's targeted at "passionate" hobbyists. Again, it's a nice tool... not groundbreaking.
Klostu is positioning itself as "the blogosphere of bulletin boards". Its aim is to connect boards together, by giving you a unique id that you can use across multiple boards. As the presenter said, it "has all the bells and whistles of social networks".
A good concept perhaps, although not sure if it's compelling to bulletin board users - aren't they loyal to their particular boards? Not sure, but I'm curious to know the percentage of people who use multiple bulletin boards.
Sharpcast is next and this is a product I like. It synchs data across PCs, the Web and mobile. Sharpcast Photos was the first such product, but today Gibu Thomas the CEO is launching a product code-named Hummingbird - which synchs all files. Gibu had some issues with his demo computers, but nevertheless the product is a compelling one I believe.
Rael Dornfest's new company has a product called stikki. He too was initially affected by demo issues. Stikkit is a yellow post-it notes tool. One of the things it does is "make messy data smarter" and allows you to share that data. So it's a very granular data-sharing app. It aims to get as close to paper as possible. Sounds interesting, but it'll have a tough job replacing paper in my life (I still use paper notebooks!).
Turn is a search-like tool for online advertising. It has bidded CPA pricing, for graphical and text ads. The CPA actions could be a sale, a lead or anything. They claim to analyze webpages to determine which ads are suitable for it. They rank all their ads based on the probability of action. They call this "automated targeting". It sounds impressive, particularly as CPA is mostly an unsolved problem right now on the Web.
Sphere is a blog search engine. It's had a lot of blogosphere buzz already, but Technorati still seems to dominate this space. Now they're partnering with mainstream media, starting with MarketWatch. They have also introduced a little clickable pop-up link, which displays related blogs and articles.
Omnidrive is an online storage app, that aims to merge the desktop with the web. It's now positioning itself as a "storage aggregator". It has both a desktop and web interface, which both have an OS style interface. It also has sharing features and a developer API.
Adify enables you to build your own advertising networks - creating "one thousand John Battelles" in the presenter's words. [nb: by this point I'm getting drowsy... not Adify's fault, I should add! But it's a long session and there's only so many product pitches I can bear....]
3B is a 3D social network, that operates from inside the browser. You can use MySpace, Hi5 or Bebo pages or photos you've loaded onto Flickr, Photobucket or any other web service. For example it can spider MySpace, allowing you to add your friends there onto 3B. You can see and interact with your friends with 3B. It's also a visual search tool, allowing you to order search windows in the 3D space. You can change the wallpaper and create "personal 3D spaces". It looks like it uses scraping to put other web content inside this 3D environment. Intriguing product, which I am keen to explore some more. Received a good round of applause from the crowd here.
oDesk is a jobs website and community. It basically matches freelancers (called "providers") with employers. It has some project management tools to complement all this. One of its aims to is to "build trust" between participants - e.g. it can take screenshots of the worker every 6 hours and track their mouseclicks (!!!). How this builds trust I don't know...
Venyo also aims to build trust, by giving blogs and other sites reputations. Includes the Vindex, a "global trust index." Sounds like a little too much work for the participants. It's a nice idea and possibly has a market, but getting take-up will be challenging.
Timebridge is a scheduling and calendaring tool. It works with Outlook and works by proposing meetings to participants by email. Participants reply via a team environment. At this point Timebridge does the scheduling (finds suitable time for everyone, confirms and notifies, etc). Sounds like an interesting value-add for Outlook users, but is it enough to lure Outlook users to try it?
Phew, that was a long session and everyone is tired now. Of all the ones listed here, 3B was the one that intrigued me the most. But check out the ones that interest you and let us know what you think.