Monday, March 16, 2009

Innovative Web Technologies Category

The first category of presentations Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW, Innovative Web Technologies, has just wrapped up. Hats off to all of the presenters for their rapid fire presentations in under two minutes! And kudos to them as well for fielding some tough, but pointed questions from the panel, including: What is your business model? How are you going to make money? And, How are you different from other competitors out there? Great questions!

Here is a quick overview of who presented and their "big idea": - Los Angeles, CA wants to measure a person or company's influence on the web, and try to make it more effective. helps people understand a person’s true reach. Joe Fernandez, CEO and Founder, for said, “Understanding overall how influential someone is only half the battle. is there to help you with this battle."

“So how do you make money?” asked one panelist. Joe responded that they make money by providing an API to companies that pay for the integration into their CRM and customization. Then analyzes the data, “ find indicators of influence and then provide you with innovative tools to interact with and interpret the data.”

OtherInbox - Austin, TX

The first interaction that Other Inbox took when they got onto stage was, “Raise your hand if you have multiple inboxes,” which resulted in a lot of raised hands. Other Inbox works to help people organize their inboxes, enabling them to better keep up with their email. This product helps the marketer and the consumer control their campaigns and the campaigns coming to them. Guy Kawasaki said "My problem is not filtering emails - it is responding to emails."

Piryx - Austin, TX

Piryx is taking a very different approach to Innovative Web Technologies - an approach through politics. taken from their website “Empowering Democracy Through Technology," Piryx based their presentation on how President Barack Obama used technology to help win the election. Piryx hopes to help other politicians in similar ways.

The three products that they offer are Piryx Compliance, Pyrix Fundraising, and Piryx Clerk Portal. Politicians can use these products to raise campaign funds online, stay current with election regulations in their area, and enable clerks to file electronically.

RingLight - Austin, TX

RingLight, a peer-to-peer social company, was represented by Brandon Wiley. He stated that RingLight is everything you need in a web browser, allowing you to share files through social media, and organize through tagging, search, and comments. They launched an Alpha test in November and are getting ready to launch Beta version soon.

A panelist asked “How is this different from DropBox?” Brandon responded to this question with “Ringlight integrates with everything that you use.” He also stated that users are able to get their files all the time and make them available for everyone to get their own files. - Mountain View, CA

Ribbit calls themselves “Silicon Valley's First Phone Company,” because they feel that the world needs a new kind of phone company. Ribbit is an open platform that allows for multi-protocol communication. It is an “ecosystem” of developers who can market and sell their applications.

The panel's reaction to is best demonstrated in this tweet:

elieljohnson: Accelerator pannel @ sxsw is helping the Ribbit guy refine his pitch - it went from confusing to clear! #sxsw

See more live tweets from this conference.

YouData - Houston, TX

The general feeling was that YouData's presentation was not as clear and defined as some of the others. Some audience members were left asking the question, “So what does YouData do?" YouData allows advertisers to pay viewers to watch their advertisement. They do say that a consumer won't get rich doing this, but that the costs can be offset. This also allows the ads to be more applicable to the consumers.

Thrive - New York, NY

Thrive states that they are “Advancing financial literacy." A user can go to the web based application, import their financial information via their current online bank accounts, and receive a full report on where their finances lie by receiving a financial health score developed by a consultant. They can also decide when, where, and how they should spend their bank account money.

The panel asked “How are you different from" Thrive responded with “We focus on providing actions and advice.” The twitter stream did comment on how nice the UI of this website is.

Zoomorama - Paris, France

Unfortunately, I was unable to see the Zoomorama presentation because my laptop power died, so I’m basing this off of what the Twitter stream has said, and what Zoomorama’s website can tell me about them. Zoomorama allows you to convey emotions via layouts that no other magazine can imitate.

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