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Here’s the end-of-the-day portion of the show that many of us have been waiting for all day: the Launchpad, where a dozen startups get a few minutes to convince us they rock.
Here are our lovely judges. All four scored each presenter and one offered a comment:
Ryan Block, Editor, GDGT.com
Tim Chang, Principal, Norwest Venture Partners
Nagraj Kashyap, Sr. Director, Qualcomm Ventures
James Kendrick, jkOnTheRun
1). Pinch Media: How to make iPhone applications more successful? Pinch Media is offering analytics to create transparency for cell phone user data. It makes it easy to track when user is pressing button, or how long spend on feature A vs feature B. Use this to figure out the default settings, and say what language to translate the app into next. Analytics are in millions of iPhones already. Pinch Analytics. Test case: 99-cent app, started working with Pich in mid-August. 4,000 percent uptake in sales. Significant uptake in app store sales.
Judges’ scores: 7,8,6,7.
Pinch Media has raised a seed round from Union Square Ventures, First Round Capital, and several strategic angels – Dave Morgan, Jerry Neumann, Mike Yavonditte, and Sharkey Goldstein Capital.
3). Fusion Garage Project: fG wants to turn the browser into an operating system — no distinction between PC and mobile, with a unified and open development platform. Main interface has inbox, brings in feeds of people you follow, takes in history of your browsing, brings live updates of sites you visit, and geodata. At top while you browse is “action bar” with shortcuts to apps both offline and on, will also show when phone call comes in without leaving page, will show info about who’s calling.
Judges’ scores: 5,6,4,5: Kashyap says it’s too heavy for how it gets implemented on mobile. I can’t figure out any clear path to getting it to market.
4). Cumulux:You don’t want to cram all the apps you work with on the mobile device. So Cumulux is a mobile portal to enterprise apps. Any server, any applications presented on a mobile phone. The portal keeps the data in sync as it changes on the back end and notifies the user when it changes. Can integrate data from several different applications on one screen and can search across all of them. Can also download a report from an applications to the device. That download is them kept in sync.
Judges’ scores: 4,7,8,6 Ryan: I think most business services already have a native app for smart phones and users don’t need more middleware on their smart phones.
5). Fonemesh: Fonemesh creates a wireless mesh ad-hoc network. Devices can connect peer to peer. You can send messages, view profiles including photos, and soon VoIP chat.
Judge’s Scores: 6,4, 4, 3. Kevin (that gave a 3): Another social network program.
6). Zecter: Making copies of files sucks, no way to fit your entire media library on all your devices. Open the iPhone app, browse your folders, documents render in the browser. Media comes into iPod-like interface, songs play directly from the cloud. Photos also look like native iPhone interface, pictures are loaded behind the scenes from the cloud. Can manage photo collection from the desktop through “ZumoDrive,” updates instantly. Doesn’t show adding photos taken on iPhone being added, though. Will be available in a month, sign up on their web site.
Judges scores: 7,5,7,7. Ryan: Has it been approved by Apple? Z: In the process of being approved. Ryan: price? Z: Not disclosing, won’t be $50/month. Ryan: Would like to see more solutions that help you tunnel back to your own network rather than up to the cloud because often takes a long time.
7). LuckyCal:Predictive presence technology to figure out where you’re going to be to figure out what you will do while you’re there. Put a travel event on the calendar and LuckyCal will show you if your friends are there and what will happen while you are there. You’re friends don’t need to be LuckyCal members for them to show up on the program. Recipient of a Facebook Fund grant, but let’s look at it for business. You can input a sales trip to San Francisco and it will pull contact data from Salesforce and other CRM data bases to show you who else might be there. You can transform the calendar from an information repository to an analysis tool. No calendar, no problem. It can use GPS on the iPhone to pull contacts too.
Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 8, 7. Tim Chang: I think location mining is a big one. I like the enterprise take, but the social aspect is less exciting.
8). placethings: iPhone app for “Place-based media.” It sounds like you geotag photos, texts, audio files and then organize them via location-themed section. “Locations becomes places.” The company is in beta.
Judges’ scores: 7, 5, 4, 5. Kashyap: I don’t get it at all.
9). MotionDSP: “We make software that fixes video.” “Our software is like “CSI” — we take the video of a bad guy and we fix it. We come up with an image that’s higher resolution and clearer.” 5+ years of R&D. “We’re going to consumer video where phones are small and fit in your pocket and are on a slow network. All these things add up to bad video.” Online service is fixmymovie, working on desktop software coming out at Christmas with Nvidia, coming to the handset as well.
Judges’ scores: 9, 8, 7, 7. Kendrick: It sounds like good technology, but processing video is always very time-consuming. I’m very intrigued, I want to learn more.
10). TuneWiki: The experience of listening to music on your handset will be revolutionized. Listen to song and display the lyrics on your iPhone. Translate lyrics into other languages. Music Maps, show where people are playing this in the world. One click to YouTube, can display lyrics. We have 1.4 million songs in database. Top 50 charts. Playlists, live playlists via top songs in the world. Internet radio. These are just 7 features of TuneWiki. 1st prize android competition. Working with carriers. We believe we can bring the world together with lyrics and music.
Judges’ scores: 8, 4, 8, 9. Chang: Good app, but not a venture company. You can make money, but to make $100 million-plus a year, no.
11). Heysan: A mobile community that integrates a person’s IM networks. Offers chat, a profile and the ability to upload photos. It works on any mobile phone in the world. As the browser gets better, the phone needs a notification channel. Heysan uses SMS for that notification. Average users spends five hours a month on the service. It’s off deck. Now doing 100 million monthly page views. On IM the most important interface is emoticons, so people get coins to sign in, invite friends and can trade those for emoticons. A YCombinator company with seed money from Khosla Ventures.
Judges’ scores: 6,6,8,6: Ryan Block: IM doesn’t offer a ton of value.
12). Fonolo: Makes it easier to deal with companies over the phone. Navigate visually, connect directly to where you need. “We spider phone space the way Google spiders web space.” The service logs all your phones to companies, learns your call history. Came out six months ago in private beta, new today is iPhone app. Icons show which options actually connect you to an agent. Listens to hear if menu has changed, and updates.
Judges’ scores: 10, 8, 8, 7. Kashyap says “I love the app, this is the first thing I’m going to do when I get home.” Block: “I want to give that guy a hug.”
Judges’ prizes (compiled from combining their votes):
Audience’s prizes (compiled from SMS votes):
First: Fusion Garage Project