Two of the events I loved the best at ETel were the GigaOm LaunchPad, and the Mashup Contest. In both events, entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to get up on stage, and show off the newest and best technology that they’ve been working on.
19 companies entered the Mashup Contest, and three finalists were chosen to present to ETel attendees. The finalists were:
- FishLign: a social network combining voice and traditional social networking tools.
- RoboCal: an automated system for accessing your calendar by voice, which allowed you to make and review appointments easily.
- After Hours Doctors Office: an automated system for assessing patient requests after hours, and routing them to an appropriate specialist.
All three were great demonstrations of the possibilities of mashups. The After Hours Doctors Office, however, was the winner of te $1500 first prize. It was particular neat in the way that it combined voice, and the Amazon Mechanical Turk, in order to get patients to a doctor really neatly. More importantly, however, creator Tom Howe, was the most effective presenter of what he had done, and why, neatly showing the mashup as well as framing it with the customer problem, and the benefits to the carrier. Very impressive.
Om Malik’s Launchpad was the other big event. Seven companies were able to launch new products on stage. Each had about 7 minutes to present their products, and there was a popular vote at the end. It kicked off with the dynamic duo of Om and Surj, who introduced the contest, and then invited each contestant on stage to show off their wares.
Warning to those reading with an RSS reader: a series of embedded videos follow. You may want to visit the original posting, if you can’t see these in your reader.
The companies were:
Grand Central. Founders Craig and Vincent introduced their newest version of the product. It was a slick and effective demo, and, as Paul Kapustka noted, a tough act to follow.
Jive Software. While the technology was neat, Dave should have had a demo. All powerpoint = no wow moments. It was if he was a standard ETel presentation that had somehow snuck into the wrong event.
CellCrypt. Rodolfo Rosini gave a nice presentation on his company’s voice encryption product, but no demo.
Peerant. Marcus Dantus and Serge Kruppa built a call center application, on the spot, using their Ruby on Rails development platform. Rockin’ stuff!
MySay. CEO Sean O’Sullivan showed off his company’s voice based social networking site. Brad Templeton shouted out from the crowd “It’s MySpace for phones!”, which Sean (as Irish as you can be) denied with a twinkle in his eye.
Flat Planet Phone Company. Want to be in the VoIP business? For $199 per year, Flat Planet Phone Company will provide all the back end services from termination to billing to reseller management. All you have to do is brand it and sell it. CEO Moshe Maeir ran a very fast demo of all the things the Flat Planet Phone Company is capable of doing. As demos go, it was a quick rundown of all the operator and reseller control features of the system. This was my personal favorite of the night — not as slick a demo as Grand Central, but a very compelling business concept. I heard a lot of similar comments afterward from others. (disclaimer: Flat Planet is an iotum partner)
Mig33. Mig33 showed a powerpoint presentation of their combined VoIP and IM client for mobile phones, and took the opportunity to announce that they had just closed a round with RedPoint, and were moving from Australia to the valley. I cornered a gushing RedPoint Partner Scott Raney afterward who said “Just look at the numbers!”. Apparently they’re having a lot of success in Asia.
And then we voted. Unsurprisingly, Grand Central was the crowd favorite.
It was a great first launchpad event. A bunch of new companies had a fabulous chance to get on stage and show off their best. What could be better than that? I have just one small complaint — next year there oughta be a no powerpoint rule. Powerpoint is for companies that don’t have anything to show. Flash animations too… Save the powerpoint for the main session, and focus on the products here.
Apologies for the background noise on the videos. I am learning more all the time about how to get the best results. I’ll need a separate microphone in the future. The creaky sounds are my cheap tripod.