At AngelPad Demo Night, Ex-Googlers Share Plans to Overhaul the Web

11/11/10Follow @wroush

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let users access the same information while they’re actually outdoors. Cook, an avid hiker who’s racked up miles in places like Australia, New Zealand, and Patagonia, says AllTrails drew in 400,000 unique visitors in October, and has 27,000 registered users, many of whom were invited to join via friends on Facebook.

(As a side note, Cook and Polaris Ventures’ Ryan Spoon, the overseer of Dogpatch Labs in San Francisco, were co-founders of a site called BeRecruited, which is still used today by high-school athletes looking to get recruited by college coaches. Spoon was at the AngelPad demo night to cheer Cook on.)

curatedbyCurated.by
Bastian Lehmann, Sam Street

“A web & mobile application that lets ‘curators’ collect and organize real-time news into topics”

On Twitter, it’s easy to follow people, but it’s very hard to follow topics. Even if you set up a Tweetdeck search column to single out tweets with a specific hashtag, you’ll still have to sift through a lot of junk to find a few gems. Curated.by has come up with a scheme that gives Twitter users the power of curation—the ability to pluck choice tweets from the vast twitterstream and collect them in themed “bundles,” to which other users can subscribe at the Curated.by website.

Creating bundles is easy, once you’ve installed the Curated.by browser extension (currently available only for Google’s Chrome browser). The extension inserts a “Curate” button next to the “Favorite,” “Retweet,” and “Reply” buttons at Twitter.com. When you see a tweet that you want to add to a bundle you’re curating, just click on Curate and check the name of the appropriate bundle in the resulting pop-up menu.

Co-founder Bastian Lehmann says Curated.by, which is an invitation-only beta testing period, has 2,000 users who have placed 20,000 tweets into 1,600 bundles over the last 12 weeks. He calls the service “the Smithsonian for the Web”—meaning (the way I interpret it, at least) that curated bundles are like well-tended museums of the most intelligent, revealing, or surprising tweets. Eventually, the company may also extend its curation service to materials on Facebook. “Today, Google has the most content, but the most interesting content is shared by you and me on platforms like Facebook and Twitter,” Lehmann says. “For whatever reason, Google fails to surface that content. Curated.by is the platform that does that.”

egg cartelEgg Cartel
Dan Zheng, Brian Lynch

“A mobile and social platform that makes buying and selling really easy”

Korte introduced this company by saying he’d tried, and failed, to get them to change their name. I kind of like it, though I have no idea what it means.

Egg Cartel wants to drastically simplify the process of selling things online; basically, it’s trying to do away with the pain of filling out page after page of Web forms at online marketplaces like Craigslist or eBay. “The Web has changed enormously in the last 10 years, but the way we buy and sell is still stuck in Web 1.0,” says co-founder Dan Zheng, who worked on AdSense- and Android-related projects at Google.

Using Egg Cartel’s iPhone or Android app, Zheng says, sellers can list an item such as a pair of sports tickets simply by taking a picture and naming a price. Egg Cartel notifies people in the seller’s social circles and contact lists about the item, and alerts the seller when offers come in. Once an offer has been accepted, the service takes care of payments via PayPal. (Listings for larger or more complex items can be sent in via e-mail or at the company’s website.)

An alpha version of the service has been online for 9 weeks, and so far “users love how easy it is,” Zheng says. A thousand people have signed up for Egg Cartel so far, and at any given moment, about 300 items are being listed for sale. “We believe in a future where selling is as easy as taking a couple of pictures on your phone,” he summarizes.

hugenergyHugEnergy
Marcus Tallham, Sean Plaice, Brad Schumitsch

“A software and Web application that help users track, cut, and share their energy consumption”

Another funny name: it’s Hug as in “Give me a big hug,” not as in “Huge Energy.” It’s a reference to the warm, fuzzy feeling that the startup’s users are supposed to get after installing its monitoring software and seeing how much energy they’re saving by doing simple things like putting their computers to sleep when they’re not in use.

Unlike similar software such as Google’s PowerMeter, HugEnergy’s software doesn’t need to communicate with a utility-provided smart meter. It’s simply a desktop app—it will be one of the first released through Apple’s forthcoming Mac App Store—that tracks the power usage of all the devices attached to a home network, including computers, monitors, and printers, and gives owners real-time feedback. For example, “Every time you open the lid of your computer, the app will tell you how long the computer slept and how much energy you saved,” says co-founder Marcus Tallham. “The idea is to make people feel really good about doing small things that, in the aggregate, can make a huge difference.” Or is that a hug difference?

The startup has plans for an iPhone app that would help users track their energy usage outside the home—that is, while driving or flying. And it’s in discussions with big corporations like Sweden’s Ikea about distributing its software through their organizations. The long-term vision, say Tallham and co-founder Sean Plaice, is for the Hug PC app to become … Next Page »

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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