Four Boston Startups Make Their DEMO Debuts in San Diego
Company presentations and new product launches officially began yesterday in San Diego at the “launchpad for emerging technology” otherwise known as the DEMOfall 09 conference. More than 550 demonstrators, attendees, and others have registered for the three-day event, according to organizers. In the main event that ends today, company founders get 6 minutes on stage to demonstrate their startup’s technology to the media, investors, and prospective corporate buyers.
Organizers note that “since the beginning, DEMO conferences have hand-selected some of the most successful and revolutionary companies in business today.” But it seems odd to me that none of the 56 companies that were chosen (and that paid handsomely) to make presentations at this year’s DEMOfall conference are actually based in San Diego. The same goes for an additional 14 early stage entrepreneurs in pre-launch mode who were selected to make a 90-second pitch of their prototype technology to the DEMO audience.
Content management technology seemed to be a prevalent theme among the products and concepts launching at the conference. The presentations (which can be viewed live on the Demo website) include applications for consolidating and managing online social media accounts as well as managing favorite online shopping sites, along with a mobile mapping application that features location-based services that help users find particular merchants and restaurants.
As Greg noted yesterday, four of the startups launching at the conference are from Seattle and Portland, OR. Here are some notes and insights on four companies from the Boston area—Xconomy’s other home town—that chose DEMOfall09 to show off new products or have their first public coming out:
—Emo Labs, based in Waltham, MA, was among the companies that seemed to attract the biggest and most persistent crowds around the debut of its “invisible speaker” technology and exhibit in the DEMO Pavilion. The company has developed audio technology that uses piezoelectric actuators to produce high-quality stereo sound on a single optically transparent membrane that can be integrated with the display screens of TVs, laptops, computers, and even mobile devices. Wade profiled the startup back in July; it’s led by CEO Jason Carlson and was founded in 2005 with venture backing from Polaris Venture Partners.
—Traackr, based in Boston, demonstrated its “A-list” search engine tool, which uses online resources to help identify the most influential people on any topic or subject area. CEO Pierre-Loic Assayag tells me that Traackr’s “influence mapping” technology has proved especially useful for marketing and PR firms that want to identify the respected journalists in a field. In one recent campaign, the company helped Honda launch its Insight hybrid electric car in the United Kingdom. The self-funded company was founded in 2006; Wade did a profile in March 2008.
—Weels, based in Milton, MA, showed its touch-screen technology, a one-click, drag-and-drop interface that is intended to improve Web browsing. Co-founder and chief software architect William King tells me the startup’s “Web on Weels” consists of hosted software that runs on top of your browser, and allows users to browse the Internet without using a keyboard. Additional details about the privately held company were not immediately available.
—Pinyadda, based in Boston, is a personalized social content aggregator. The early stage company says its private beta release technology enables users to create personalized information networks (PINs) that take the work out of subscribing to RSS feeds by drawing on trusted online friends and associates and websites, from which the system automatically gathers, organizes, and ranks Web content related to the user’s specific interests. The system also can identify people who are local experts in certain segments of the population. Pinyadda, which raised $250,000 from an angel investor and is also the company behind the local Twitter aggregator Bostinnovation, was among the 14 “AlphaPitch” companies making 90-second demonstrations at the conference.
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