Last Tuesday, I was at the Silicon Valley New Tech Meetup in Palo Alto. The line up was great as usual and the only downside was that they were all out of pizza even before I got there, oh well…there’s always the wine. Here’s the scoop on the new ventures who presented there:
The first one was www.kwiry.com, presented by founder Ron Feldman. “You can text it before you forget it with mobile txt message reminders to your computer.”
This is a nifty tool to remind yourself of everyday important details by texting it to the kwiry website. Kwiry adds a social component to the query, it allows folks to search through the reminders, add comments, it has a Facebook application, integration with Twitter and yes, there’s also a mobile version of the site.
Show me the money: Their response to business model question was that the site serves up search results and product results, both of which are monetizable through search advertising and product advertising. One intriguing idea they’re working on - pilots with offline media companies, where the brands could leverage the site to do product marketing campaigns. One test case was with Mustang, where customers were encouraged to text kwiry for more information on Mustangs.
www.websketch.com – Presenters were Scott Tse – founder/prez and David (who seemed to be the king of everything else that needs to be done). It’s an online web design and hosting service for the average user, ie. someone without programming experience or html training, very unlike the average audience at this Meetup.
Based on the demo at this Meetup, it seemed very easy-to-use and the UI was very slick and intuitive. You have the ability to drag and drop your new website into reality with interesting use of images that scroll, embedded videos, and scrolling pages to create very professional-looking pages. One of their customers is Ducati motorcycles. The presenter created a snazzy-looking webpage from scratch in under a minute. The site also has Flickr integration so you can easily use pictures from your Flickr account. The tool is 100% browser-based with expected integration with YouTube in a week.
Show me the money: Currently, like the gazillion other start ups out there, this site is also free. Their plan is to grow the user base and then start charging a fee but I think this model is very sketchy.* The main issue with the site is that you can’t transition your webpage to another server, the pages have to be hosted on their site. I wonder how many of their users would be willing to get locked into a third-party site for their business website without knowing the terms of the contract? Also, currently there is no customer or database support available so that’s other deterrent for small-businesses which seem to be their primary target.
*Meetup organizer Vincent Lauria had a great suggestion which was to grandfather the early adopters into the system so you don’t lose them when the site goes live and you reward them for taking a chance on your idea.
Note: I tried to access the live demo on the site, but I got an error message even though I had IE 7. Sorry, but your browser is incompatible. “You may only view pages with Firefox 2 & 3, Safari 3.x, or Internet Explorer 7 and edit pages with only Firefox 2 & 3 or Safari 3.x+”.
www.LaunchSplash.com pitches itself as filling “a need of 100% of web startups – drop dead simple launch pages for your upcoming site – build community before you even have one.” Presenter/founder, Jacques Crocker did a great job of demonstrating how easy this application is for use. This is a great option for folks like me who register a ton of domain names and end up with a dummy page with tons of crappy links. The application is quite simple and all you have to do to get started is to enter name of your domain into the search box. It offers several different templates with RSS feed and ability to capture email addresses from visitors so folks can sign up while your site is being built. The preview option shows you what your page will look like. You can also host the page at your own domain by mapping the IP address.
Show me the money: The revenue model is simple fee-based subscription model where the basic page is free, and the plans start at $5/mthly and go higher depending on the selected plan. The founder has no intention of opening the site up for third-party developers… yet.
www.ZoomProspector.com helps business find the right location through a variety of attributes such as college education of the labor market, property prices, and even income. The data provided through this site is incredibly extensive. The founders, Chad Catacchio & Anatalio Ubalde claim that their tool offers Map data that’s much deeper than Google, Yahoo! maps and all the other data sources put together. The site which was featured on TechCrunch earlier this year uses data from the local governments.
Show me the money: The revenue model was somewhat vague and very ‘Googlesque’, they talked about how they want to ‘liberate’ the data so access to all information is free. They seem to be targeting local governments who will leverage this data to attract new businesses. The plan also seems to be to monetize through advertising and driving traffic to client communities. The site’s currently in closed beta and access is through invitation code only. Note: For those aspiring for an opportunity with a startup, they are hiring.