The Infinity Ventures Summit (IVS) in Sapporo/Japan, one of Asia’s most important web industry events, is a wrap, and we were there to witness a total of 12 startups presenting at the launch pad. The judges awarded 3D model maker MotionPortrait with the top prize. Graph sharing service Vizoo [this and many of the following links are in Japanese], recommendation engine Deqwas, photo management service Cerevo and virtual world Ameba Pigg came in second to fifth. You can read about all winners here.
Here is a quick rundown of the pitches delivered by the seven other companies (some of these were way more promising than the winners).
3D social game Paradise Paintball was my personal favorite of the show. Developed by Korea- and China-based Cmune, this first person shooter is part of a social game platform presenter Benjamin Joffe described as a “YouTube for 3D games”. Cmune wants to offer multiplayer, multi-platform games that can be mainly monetized through sales of virtual goods. Paradise Paintball users can go to the the game’s Facebook app, for example, to play against friends who have opened a the game’s widget on the Apple desktop.
The game, which requires the installation of 3D plug-in Unity (and would be impossible to do under Flash or Shockwave), already saw about 1 milllion installs. This isn’t really surprising as a) it’s very cool and b) can be distributed via any web page out there.
Here is a demo video.
“Social street art service” Paintica is aimed at a global audience from the get-go. The idea here is to let users jointly create a mirror world based on Google Street View using a number of painting tools. Users will also be able to paint and draw stuff freehand on buildings, streets and other Street View objects.
Nice mash-up idea, but it’s too early to predict if this will get any traction. Paintica is a project of Tokyo-based mobile web company Klab.
Zeke CMS 4.0
Ubiquitous Entertainment CEO Ryo Shimizu delivered a teaser of his cell phone CMS system Zeke 4.0. Not much to say here, except for Shimizu announcing the next iteration of the product for IT Show Interop Tokyo 2009 next month.
Youyou Ki, CEO of language learning site Lang-8, delivered an overview of his service. As one of the very few Japanese web sites, Lang-8 boasts a multi-lingual interface. The service is currently available in 13 languages, including English, German, Chinese, Korean and Spanish.
Language learners can teach their mother tongues to each other by checking and correcting written blog entries. Ki says that his site attracted users from 165 different countries since launch in summer 2006 .
tmix lets you create your own shirts online and then share or sell your designs to other users. It’s also possible to “remix” existing designs with a set of painting tools. Nothing special at all.
Tokyo-based MetaCast presented a widget solution that is supposed to provide you with extra information whenever you access a website. With Jingoo (which isn’t released yet), users get to access “intelligent” widgets on top of their web browsers. Surf on a mapping service, for example, and the Jingoo widget will tell you which restaurants in the vicinity of the street you are looking for can be recommended.
MetaCast plans to launch Jingoo in English this July. Clearspring is one of the many other companies offering context-sensitive widgets. Firefox extension Deckkr (which made its debut at last year’s TC50 demopit) does similar stuff.
iPhone app maker Pankaku delivered a sales pitch of its hit motorcycle game “Light Bike”. A tad more interesting: The company announced a game network for the iPhone that will offer customizable avatars and a payment system for virtual items.
The IVS takes place twice a year, usually attracting a multinational crowd of 300 to 400 attendees. Tokyo-based VC company Infinity Venture Partners is planning to organize another of its invitation-only events this November.