The DEMO Spring 2011 conference kicked off yesterday in Palm Springs, featuring 27 startups in the consumer, enterprise, and cloud sectors. Each company was allowed six minutes to make their presentation and try to wow the audience with their product launches.
Some let their products do the talking, while others added humor to their pitches. For example, Dr. Shamus Husheer, inventor of the technology behind DuoFertility — a monitor that helps couples struggling to conceive — began by saying, “my name is Shamus, and my job is to get millions of women pregnant”.
From mind-reading headbands and Coinstar receptacles for your old electronic devices to applications that protect your Facebook page from spam, here (in no particular order) are introductions to 7 of the most interesting companies from Day 1.
AboutOne: AboutOne is a secure online family management system that makes it easier to organize your family life. Targeting valuables like household information and memories, the platform enables you to store digitized pictures, video, and text, and access this information anytime from any web-enabled device. The service also allows you to store digital scans of children’s artwork, create photo albums from your family pictures, store insurance contracts, as well as keep track of anniversary dates, birthdays, and post instructions to the family baby sitter. Connecting with other services via API, AboutOne takes away the need to input all of this information manually. Enter your car’s VIN number, for example, and AboutOne is able to automatically import the model, make, year, etc. into its system. Founder & CEO Joanne Lang was previously on the cloud team at SAP, and though the demo wandered a bit, AboutOne seems to be assembling features that you would otherwise have to go to multiple different services to employ, so the future may be bright for AboutOne.
Manilla: Manilla is a free online account management service, which gathers your household bills, financial accounts, travel rewards, and subscriptions all in one place. Sign on once and access all of your accounts, and view your bills the way they look in hard copy. Manilla recently announced partnerships with Comcast and Citibank, yet, as there are quite a few automated payment platforms already up and running, Manilla’s success will depend on its UI and how quickly it can bring all of the big banks and utility companies into the fold.
ecoATM: If the folks at ecoATM are correct in saying that 500 million electronic gadgets are purchased yearly — and that this number will only continue to grow — the market for recycling these devices is enormous. Enter ecoATM, the Coinstar for electronic devices. ecoATM is a self-serve recycling kiosk that buys back consumer electronics. Using its “patented machine vision, electronic diagnostics, and artificial intelligence”, ecoATM assesses the pristine or crappy condition, maker, and year of your device. It then ascribes a price and offers you the chance for instant cash back or store credit. The large device manufacturers have the infrastructure and manpower to potentially win this race in the long haul (take Verizon’s Trade-In Program, for example), but cash-back and a quick-to-market strategy could build gain ecoATM some serious traction.
NeuroSky: NeuroSky are the makers of a futuristic brain and attention-scanning device that looks, in practice, like a BlueTooth headset for your noggin. NeuroSky calls their device “exercise equipment for children’s minds”, as it works by monitoring electrical EEG brainwaves from the forehead, which then pass through algorithmic functions to determine the intensity of mental states like “relaxation” and “attention.” The company has said that the technology will be used in a number of different products that target ADD and ADHD. (A large reason this one is so close to my heart. Well, brain.) NeuroSky then allows the user to connect to one of ten educational, neuroscience apps, designed to help kids learn math and to improve their focus — all by playing games. Will this help fight the shrinking modern attention span? I hope so.
CVAC Systems, Inc: Straight out of “2001: A Space Odyssey” comes this newfangled pod that simulates high-altitude living. The so-called Cyclic Variations in Altitude Conditioning (CVAC) process apparently improves your fitness by applying “precisely composed rhythm-based changes to pressure, temperature and density of air” to your body as you sit in the egg-shaped pod. According to CVAC, its technology promotes longevity (adding years to your life), especially for those with diabetes. Supposedly, the combination of exercise and high altitude conditioning offers an array of health benefits. To their credit, CVAC cited numerous scientific studies to support their claims, but for now, it still requires a leap of faith.
Websense’s Defensio for Facebook: Defensio for Facebook is an app that provides companies with active Facebook and other social network accounts added security measures for preventing unwanted content, spam, and spyware. Thanks to the ease and low cost of creating fake applications for Facebook, many brands and companies watch as their pages suffer from an overload of spam. Using Websense’s monitoring and analytics technology, Defensio offers the user a host of cloud-based configuration tools, allowing you to moderate the comments on your page, Facebook Wall, news stream, photos, and block the content you don’t want. You can also choose from, or input, a list of sites you don’t want your page to link to or language you may not want to appear — and you can have Defensio monitor multiple pages. Very cool.
Nimble: Nimble is a social relationship manager, which you can use to easily connect your contacts, calendars, and communications. The platform integrates with your mail, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, bringing them into one environment and allowing you to see all of your connections with a particular person across all of those media. If, for example, someone sends you an email, it can pull up any previous conversations with them from any platform, or if you aren’t familiar with the person, you can pull their info from social networks. Nimble is free for individuals, but requires a small fee for the paid features that come with company plans and small groups. The company is aiming to make it easier for brands to interact and converse with their customers. With a seamless UI and deep integration with all social networks, Nimble could become a highly usable platform. I’m excited to test it.
Photo credit: Rodrigo Peña
AboutOne.com is secure and easy-to-use online family management journal that helps busy families manage what matters most: family memories and household information. AboutOne.com was designed to help manage this information in a fun and fast way. With AboutOne.com, you can easily record your familyâ€™s memories. Even better, AboutOne.com automatically prepares a monthly newsletter you can send to relatives and friends so theyâ€™re kept up to date. Most people are too busy to think about what information they should save for the...
Manilla is the award-winning free online service that organizes consumers’ bills, finances, reward programs, subscriptions, and more. Manilla organizes and simplifies people’s lives by providing one secure access point to all household accounts and services. The free service helps consumers manage their household accounts, including financial, utilities, subscriptions, daily deals, and travel rewards programs, all through Manilla.com or via the Manilla mobile apps. Under a single password, Manilla gives customers an automated, organized view of all of their account information,...
Solving the eWaste problem on a broad scale requires the collaboration of the OEMâ€™s that make the devices, the retailers that sell them, and the consumers that buy and retire them. With $25B in latent consumer assets available to mine and use as the incentive for all stakeholders in the chain, ecoATM will dramatically alter the current life-cycle of consumer electronics much the way 1970â€™s redemption value laws on bottles and cans dramatically changed their life-cycle. Given the enormous...
The NeuroSky MindWave is exercise equipment for childrenâ€™s minds. It safely monitors electrical EEG brainwave impulses from the forehead, which pass through mathematical algorithms determining mental states such as â€œattentionâ€ and â€œrelaxation.â€ Ten neuroscience apps, featuring BrainCubed mental scoring, are bundled, including intelligence, mental fitness and game applications. NeuroSky technology is found in more EEG devices than any company. NeuroSky MindWave headset is our first product available for the consumer market.
The Cyclic Variations in Altitude Conditioningâ„¢ (CVACâ„¢) process is an unparalleled safe and natural effort-free physical conditioningâ„¢ modality for individuals of all ages and activity levels for improved fitness. Scientifically validated, the CVAC process applies precisely composed rhythm-based changes to pressure, temperature and density of air. These changes in pressure set up waves of tension and relaxation simulating the pulsatile nature of breathing, muscle contraction and blood flow consistent with interval, circuit and strength training.
Websense is a San Diego-based company specializing in Web security gateway software. Their acquisition of Defensio extended their services to provide security for web blogs.
Nimble is a Web Based SaaS platform that helps small businesses attract and retain customers by enabling their team to work more effectively together and stay top of mind with their prospects and customers. Nimble was designed to enable small business to attain the same benefits larger companies have achieved with their CRM strategies without the associated costs and complexities. Nimble CRM combines the power of relationship management, unified conversations/communications, social media tools, and team Collaboration under one roof....