The Companies of Web 2.0, Part 1

The Web 2.0 conference kicked off today with a number of great workshops. The highlights for us were the Attention Trust board meeting (posts below) and, of course, the Launchpad workshop where a dozen companies presented in an hour and a half.

My notes on each company are below. Many of these have been profiled here before, and we hope to get full profiles of the rest up as soon as we can schedule interviews with the teams (if you’d like to talk to me, I’m the guy with a huge TechCrunch sticker on my laptop) (Jeff Clavier also has a TechCrunch sticker on his laptop, but I’m not French, so you’ll know its not me :-) ).

I’m breaking this down into two posts to keep it manageable. Here’s Part 1. Part 2 is here.

Social Text

Ross Mayfield spoke about wikiwyg, the first wysiwyg editor for wikis. He says its much more than a tool for wikis, however. It’s and “open source synchronous editor for the web” and his vision is that it will be used on many web applications beyond wikis. Want to try out Social Text for free? Mention web2con at socialtext and get a free five-user wiki for a year.


Dave Pell presented Rollyo, the roll-your-own search engine (profile).

You can create a mini-search engine from only those sites you trust or feel have relevant content, and then search against that personal search. He used a travel search example that was quite compelling – searching against just fodors, travelpost and frommers. Saved searches can be private, or public and shared with others.


David Young talked about Joyent, a compelling network suite for small groups and companies that includes mail, calendar, contacts, files, etc., and allows developers to mash up systems on their data. Lots of tagging and “smart filters”. Open APIs to allow third party apps. Take the tour here.


Rajat Paharia showed off his super-cool flash platform BunchBall. Rajat was also nice enough to give me a personal presentation earlier in the day. Rajat talked about how developers need both infrastructure and distribution to get applications out. BunchBall provides both – a slick flash platform (Flash 8 is required for some applications) along with open APIs, and new third party applications are automatically distributed accross the platform.

Current applications include a number of games and photo-sharing. Rajar also says that Metaliq is creating a multi user texas holdem game, to be released soon.

Check this one out. And contrary to rumors, Rajat did NOT beat me at tic-tac-toe while giving me the demo. He lies. :-)


Ken Leeder talked about his new company, RealTravel. It’s centralized :-( user content with some really sweet tagging and search/find capabilities :-) .

The idea is to leverage user content and social networking to create a personalized experience for travel shoppers and a more effective venue for travel industry marketeres. THus, hopefully, breaking the death spiral that the online travel industry is now in: a race to the lowest price.


Satish Dharmara gave an absolutely stellar presentation of Zimbra (profile), although to be honest Zimbra is so damn cool and full of AJax awesomeness that he could have stood there and babbled and the audience would still have cheered.

Zimbra is an “open source enterprise-scalable collaboration server with intelligent online backup and single mailbox restore. It has hierarchical storage management”. What does this mean? You can’t run it from the Zimbra website, but you can install it on your own server. It’s Outlook as it’s supposed to be.

Read our profile. It (Zimbra, not our profile) rocks. Demo here.