To conclude a great day at GigaOM’s Mobilize 2010, 10 startups competed against each other in front of our audience and a panel of VC judges. Unity Technologies won the judges’ vote, with Jiepang in second and Vive in third. StartTalking was the audience favorite followed by Netmobo and Vive.
Judging the competition were Emily Melton of Mayfield Fund, Quinn Li of Qualcomm Ventures, Robert Abbott of Norwest Venture Partners and John Occhipinti of Woodside Fund.
|FeedHenry has a cloud platform for enterprise mobility that offers secure end-to-end enterprise apps. CEO Cathal McGloin called what the company offers “the Salesforce of mobile,” with a completely hosted platform to develop, integrate and deploy mobile enterprise apps. The Ireland-based startup also offers a white-label solution for telecom carriers.
Judges’ comments: Melton said, “We’ve seen a proliferation of a number of these platform applications, but this seems one of the most comprehensive.”
Scores: (left to right as listed above) 7, 7, 7, 7
|Jiepang is the Foursquare of China. The company offers check-ins and badges to 280 million people online in China. The service works as both a web and native app, syncing with the top four social networks in China.
Judges’ comments: Melton: “I question the value of a standalone company (doing) check-ins.”
Scores: 6, 9, 8, 9
|Micello‘s slogan is “mapping the great indoors.” The startup creates maps of the interiors of buildings, which aren’t covered by traditional solutions like Google Maps, including shopping malls, hospitals, airports and college campuses. The company says it has mapped more than 1 billion square feet of retail locations, including over 251,000 stores, and is looking for partners.
Judges’ comments: “I think the company presents extremely well, and I really like that it is data-driven model, but I question the business model from a breakout perspective,” said Occhipinti.
Scores: 8, 7, 8, 6
|Netmobo is an infrastructure-as-a-service that acts as back-office platform for developers, offering them the ability to manage pricing, charging and payment activities.
Judges’ comments: Dynamic price, said Li, “seems to be a feature that the app stores could do potentially themselves… I see the value there but from a venture standpoint it looks like a challenging play.”
Scores: 6, 5, 7, 7
|SpiderCloud Wireless provides a server-based solution for telecom companies to provide higher-quality cellular access inside buildings. The company installs a server on a corporate network that communicates with a series of wireless radio nodes inside a building to create a network that then transfers cell calls from the interior network to the cell carrier’s external network.
Judges’ comments: “I haven’t seen the wireless carriers deploying a lot into the enterprise, and I’d be worried about Wi-Fi taking away some of the need for having the 3G access,” said Abbott.
Scores: 8, 6, 7, 6
|Spork is an easy way to find, review and share dishes at restaurants. The mobile app provides info on the best dishes nearby, what dishes to order at a restaurant, trusted reviews and a way to remember foods to try.
Judges’ comments: Melton: “When you think about moving into a national footprint, there aren’t many compelling places for check-ins.”
Scores: 5, 6, 6, 6
|StartTalking from AdelaVoice provides a completely hands-free and eyes-free voice-to-web texting solution for drivers, which can also support posting to services such as Twitter and Facebook. The company’s voice-recognition device clips to a visor and is totally voice-activated. The company said that it plans a freemium model that would provide free texting but would charge for other services such as Twitter or Foursquare.
Judges’ comments: “These kinds of voice-to-text solutions are very exciting but also very fickle. In terms of the user experience, if you could nail it, you would really have something big,” said Occhipinti.
Scores: 7, 7, 7, 8
|Unity Technologies is a 3D game multi-platform game engine with tools that create rich experiences on iOS, Android as well major gaming consoles. The modern software has helped large studios to hobbyists build games.
Judges’ comments: Li: “I think gaming is a huge space. I think 3D will take off on mobile.”
Scores: 9, 9, 8, 7
|VISIARC provides cloud-based access to mobile documents — instead of having to download large PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, large images and other attachments, the company hosts those documents in the cloud and provides access to them via its email service. Documents can be viewed and interacted with without having to be downloaded. The startup calls its solution “cloud-boosted push mail.”
Judges’ comments: Abbott: “I definitely think it’s a problem that needs to be solved, but I’m afraid the major email platforms will eventually solve it, and that would make it hard for you to make money.”
Scores: 6, 7, 5, 6
|Vive is a viral word of mouth service that allows people to share recommendations across fragmented web and mobile platforms. Vive is looking to get installed on phones and websites to encourage virality.
Judges’ comments: Occhipinti: Addresses a real problem in fragmentation.
Scores: 8, 8, 8, 7