Open Thread: Where are the Exciting Startups?


Depending on how much you pay attention to the tech press, you may be aware that the DEMOfall08 and TechCrunch50 conferences were this week. But – although you’ll find some coverage on our parent blog GigaOM – we haven’t featured a single startup from either of those conferences on WWD. Why not?

The main reason is that we haven’t seen anything coming out of either one of those events that looks like it will make a difference to the average web worker in the short run. Indeed, we suspect that the majority of these high-profile launches will vanish without a trace. The world already has a pretty good supply of mobile, social applications who mistake using Google AdWords for a business strategy. While that doesn’t characterize every startup at the conferences, the level of innovation seemed to be off from some past years.

But surely the web can’t be running out of innovation steam, can it? Here’s our invitation to you, the real web workers: what have you seen lately that was new and exciting? What tools and services have you run into that do help streamline your day? What’s worth shouting from the virtual rooftops about, even if it didn’t participate in the VC-fueled dog-and-pony shows this week?


Tom Dupon

@ Lee Branch

“I think the exciting things are now all B2B.”

Thanks for bringing this up… I completely agree. I would like to add to this list. Ever tested this?

Full disclosure: I work for NomaDesk, I am glad that people are starting to realize that web 2.0 is more than the consumer related startups that we have seen so far.

Looking forward to your comments.

Tom Dupon
Online Marketing Manager NomaDesk

ME – evenhere is an interactive video platform that allows you to buy products that are placed in shows/movies/etc.

I was so impressed, I jumped on board.


Perhaps I missed it, but i’d love an RSS feed aggregator that offers serious filtering options and perhaps a priority scheme. Think of it as Google Reader with the ability to filter out all the crap (or people) that you don’t care about. As a mac guy, I’d dearly love to filter out the myriad of windoze download announcements and such.

Lee Branch

I watched a little bit of the live stream and you’re right as far as those I saw – just very basic platforms set up to make advertising dollars. Not a great strategy as network-bought CPMs get lower and lower…

Now that we have a facebook, a flickr (and photobucket etc etc) a youtube and vimeo, blogger and wordpress, good browser and plugin options (big up Firefox) I think the exciting things are now all B2B.

The best recent example for me is – just LOVE it. Fixing a real problem with personality and style =)

Dan Sargent

I have to agree with the others who’ve mentioned the pricey-ness of these glitzy gigs. $18k just to present at DEMO???

OK, come on… That totally eliminates any startup that doesn’t have big VC backing. If you’re bootstrapping a really cool early-stage game changer, then you just have to wait in stealth mode.

Why aren’t there “scholarships” by the folks behind these gigs — for instance, create a “challenge” and publicize it at Comp Sci departments at universities around the country… Ask for examples of awesome new student-run startups, and then give that crew a full ride to the conference, and maybe a chance to meet with some VCs, and let ’em present for FREE!

Just an idea… And it would do a lot to generate publicity and good will for the conference that puts it together… *Ahem, GigaOm*


Here’s a few I’ve been interested in and excited about:

1. – Easiest photo sharing I’ve used.
2. – Ok, maybe it’s not new, but still cool.
3. – Well designed, fills a niche need
5. – Just a step away from televising your entire life.
6. – Gotta love the 140

Andy! QR Codes are going to be huge, and these guys have the right approach. Simple and very useful.

Sean K

A kid in my dorm put me on to Cavenger, a service that let’s you watch tv shows online. Don’t know if it’s that revolutionary, but it works for me

Robert S. Robbins

Recently I’ve been using Liquid XML Studio 2008 a lot after discovering that it can format XML for me. No more Ultra-Edit regular expressions to add a newline after a tag!

I’ll be looking for a RSS Feed aggregator that can manage multimedia enclosures soon. I’m working on a vlogging site that needs some way for users to subscribe to a vlogger’s videos. I think FireANT already supports Media RSS intake.


For me the most boring (for big shows, techcrunch, etc.) but also the most important innovation is….….

So many problems I had (as a web worker) are solve with this tool..

It is not a webapp but a powerfull Internet tool!


The internet has become kind of cluttered with so many applications and options given to a regular users. But for those who are behind the scenes working to make these innovations possible, they are getting fine treats from companies like zivios ( or Red Hat’s FreeIPA (, both recent open source projects who openly challenge the magnanimity of IBM, CA, Novell and even Microsoft.


Recently I have been impressed by DropBox, Posterous and Vimeo. They each have made my life easier and have been a pleasure to use. Interesting to think that most of their innovations are around UX…software is maturing, thank goodness. :)



I agree with John. We are working at building our stuff. Plus, conferences and travel fees can get expensive. I think $3k-10k can be put to better use when you’re seed or early stage. Plus, since we are in NY, we have the Web 2.0 conference next week.


The really innovative ones are hard at work building their stuff, not prancing around at conferences! Kidding, kind of.

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