Startup Battlefield: The Final 7 Make Their Closing Arguments

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The TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield is approaching its dramatic conclusion, and the 7 finalists remaining are making their closing arguments in front of a panel of all-star Silicon Valley judges. Here are their questions and the startups’ answers, along with links to our past coverage of each company.
Judges:
Kevin Rose
Marissa Mayer
Jason Goldman
Ron Conway
Roelof Botha


Badgeville
Read Our Past Coverage: Badgeville Wants To Layer Social Gaming (And Yes, Badges) Across The Entire Web
Team of five, raised $250k, profitable.
KR: I love it. Foursquare for the web.
MM: I also like it. I think the analytics piece is powerful. You have to integrate it on your site (i.e. it isn’t already everywhere).
JG: You allow custom rewards.. One thing that’ interesting about foursquare is that you have to be careful with how you set up rewards.
A: It is how you implement it. We’re finding that in implementations we are coaching customers about best practices.
RC: Impressive when your rev is double your capital and you’re a startup. Who are competitors?
A: Lots of consumers plays looking to adapt this to websites, non-whitelabel, not aligned with medium/large publishers… Our vision isn’t about gamification, it’s about influencing behavior and outcomes… There’s not just market with medium/large pubs. Can also go through medium and long tail with API products.
RB: I think this is a yes. Key themes: mobile, social. Don’t think website owners would do this on their own. So I think this company is off to a great start.

Pinger
Read our past coverage: Pinger Now Turns Your iPod Touch Into A Free Cell Phone
MM: Monetization?
A: We already do ads for text. For voice you can buy or earn minutes. Earn though Offers.
JG: What was inflection point? Domestic only? Per minute cost?
A: Handing out real phone numbers. For now. About 2 cents a minute.
RB: Thing is scary is competition.
A: For carriers, we’re bringing devices/iPad etc for first time into network. Adding new traffic to networks. Skype costs money to get a phone number. Google Voice is different problem for different market. GV uses your minutes.
KR: You’re profitable and growing like crazy, why here?
A: Michael asked us. We don’t need the money but we need PR.
A: We’re banned in some schools which is a great sign.
RC: If you get them when they’re 18, how do you keep them when they switch to an actual cellphone.
A: Keep people using great products by giving them a great product.
JG: On calling plan. Download apps to get minutes value exchange is a little wonky. There are only so many apps. You’re creating maintenance problem where they download and have to remove.
A: We also let you buy it. Can use iTunes account.

GameCrush
Read our past coverage here: GameCrush Lets Guys Pay Money To Play Online Games With Women (Seriously)
RC: Metrics so far? Enough women to meet demand?
A: 12% conversation rate for people registering to play. Yes. Got 6000 over last 3 months during private beta.
MM: I disagree with observations around gaming. I think having a unique title is big. I think you need more compelling games. I wonder about real-time nature especially if you are missing realtime and addictive nature.
A: We noticed that players are building relationships with PlayDates. We want to expand to have more engaging games. Could also put platform on other platforms.
KR: 60 cents a minute sounds high.
A: We launched at a dollar a min, we discounted it. That seemed to be price point they were satisfied with.
A: We have ‘the edge’ which is more edgy but we are not an adult site.
JG: You talked about sports bar metaphor. Games might not be pickup mode.
A: If I go to sports bar I don’t expect to see women I’m going to talk to about sports… This mimics mecanics of bar.
RB: Innovation is interesting. Video used to sit on the side. Realtime video hasn’t been integrated the way you’re doing it. I think Chatroulette was one of first.. this is an extremely interesting innovation. My question, do you do anything more as a social engagement service of which gaming is only one arena.
A: End of the way we’re about enhancing interactive experience, but it could be around watching pilots, cooking.
Opzi
See our past coverage: Opzi: A Quora For The Enterprise
RC is an investor
RB: Converting users to paying customers.
A: Looking at what Yammer has done. Going to create a product, from then on want team leaders at a company to adopt it and spread it virally.
KR: Why can’t Quora do this?
A: Quora is aiming to extract knowledge and make it public, they’re a consumer play, don’t think it falls in what they’re thinking of. Companies will go in diff. directions after Q&A.
MM: I think integration points are interesting. A lot of info gets created in a company as a byproduct of something else. Need to provide great enterprise search.
JG: I think Google, Salesforce are you bigger threat than Quora. They already have these touchpoints, this in place with the businesses.
RB: Don’t think you need the most comprehensive search, just need to connect people who know where to find the answer with the question asker.
DataSift
See our past coverage here: Tweetmeme Founder’s Datasift Helps You Find A Needle In A Tweetstack
RC: Business model?
A: 50% of rev comes from data sales. Cloud based, we charge you for complexity involved and how long we run it for.
KR: I think of Yahoo Pipes where it’s fun, but how do you get a lot of people do use this?
A: iPad app able to visualize news with magazine style.
CloudFlare
See our past coverage: CloudFlare Wants To Be A CDN For The Masses (And Takes Five Minutes To Set Up)
Since stepping off stage at Disrupt, getting 2.1 website signups per minute.
MM: Market need is very real. Hard problem. Future roadmap?
A: Goal is to protect the entire Internet.
When a visitor comes to a site on the CF network, get the best possible experience.
JG: You built five data centers with fudning?
A: Not from foundation up. We raised 2 million from some amazing partners.
RC: Soluto won the last Disrupt… was so good but can you explain the IP behind it. Prove that it works.
A: I would encourage people to look at users.
JG: Pricepoint?
A: Have freemium. Enhanced features for money. SSL. Also, sort of like OpenDNS model where users have given us permission to monetize certain number of pages, like error pages. We’re not messing with your content, we’re unintrusive. If infected computer comes to your site can tell them about it.
KR: Curious as to if you had a medium/high vol site can you handle it. What happens if you fall over.
A: We’ve done some high traffic site. SXSW Panelpicker. Can hit a big button and route traffic direct to backend. If DNS goes down can go to other large DNS providers.
RB: We’re an investor in OpenDNS. Question is around customer acquisition and distribution.
A: We think going forward opp for channel program. On Monday announced partnership with HostGator. They’ve built CloudFlare into their control panel.
KR: Technical team?
A: We started Project Honeypot six years ago. Been tracking online fraud. Started out with Email. Have someone who was on original Ops team at Yahoo. We’re hiring.
A: We think there’s an opportunity to work with hosting providers, rather than charging them, to work with them to build out or infrastructure.
RC: What’s data center cost?
A: Fixed cost. Minimum data center is three machines. Can’t say actual cost.

Qwiki
Past coverage: Qwiki Just May Be The Future Of Information Consumption. And It’s Here Now
RC: Biggest application?
A: Qwiki is a platform.
KR: Beautiful, elegant. But is it just reading from Wikipedia?
A: Wikipedia is a source but there’s much more. Many other sources for media, videos, structured data.
MM: I think it’s really polished, visually beautiful. Well packaged. Watching information is a sweet spot. How interactive?
A: You do put more time into a video, but you recall better.
JG: People react to personal assistant metaphor. But seems like different usecase than information retrieval.
A: We are worst audience for this text, because we spend our days going through a lot of text. But everyone else gives what they want plus what they use.
JG: Think about which usecases you can own. I think you can own having your iPhone waking you up and waking you up like HAL.
RC: I don’t know if I’d use it I’d have to think about it. Barry Diller would try to buy this for CityGrid. Lot of text and video on the web, am I right in thinking that the audio is what makes this the most unique. I think this is Flipboard-ish.
A: We draw from a lot of sources, the presentation is the difference. Different use case from Flipboard.
RB: What you’ve hit on is “site, sound and motion” captures our imaginations. Question is, what’s the cost of processing?
A: All programmatically created on the fly. If it’s a reference we can cache. Depends on use case for caching.
How do you monetize?
A: If we get a large footprint we can build a sophisticated advertising engine. Right now we’re on product. But with consumer’s undivided attention, there’s a lot you can do.
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