The LaunchPad 13 at Web 2.0 Summit

The annual Web 2.0 Summit kicked off today at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The conference Summit, which has been sold out for months, is noticeably larger than last year and hundreds of people are milling about, seeing and being seen.

The highlight of last year’s conference for me was LaunchPad, where thirteen young startups showed their stuff to the audience. See our coverage from last year here and here. Many of those companies are doing very well. Only one, Pubsub, has entered the TechCrunch DeadPool.

LaunchPad this year was perhaps even more competitive than last year. Over 200 companies applied to present at the conference. Only thirteen were accepted, and each had five minutes to demo their product to the crowd. We have a summary of what each announced below.


3B creates a three dimensional browsing environment based on input from a user, who can then create an avatar to explore the space, invite friends, chat with them, etc. A demo is here. In my notes I wrote “pretty, fun, completely useless.” On further reflection I can see people creating a 3B for various promotional purposes, but it won’t be able to compete with Second Life for virtual reality attention.


Adify allows anyone to create a vertical ad network – their software handles all of the details and allows publishers to determine prices, ad types, and monitor advertising metrics. They aim to help an estimated 500,000 advertisers fullfill their desire for targeted advertising on the sites they want. The Washington Post uses Adify with their Blogroll platform.


Instructables is a site catering to “do-it-yourself’ers” and includes lots of step by step instructions for creating things. 30,000 people use the site regularly, the company says. Today they announced the launch of new collaboration features. More on them in the near future.


IntheChair is best described as turning musical instrument practice into a video game. It’s a web application that lets musicians practice their instrument alongside recordings of professional musicians. By hooking up a microphone to your computer, the application gives you real-time feedback about how well you’re hitting the notes and tempo of any song in their library. Users can also record sessions and share them with their teacher, grandmother, etc.


See our previous coverage of oDesk here. oDesk provides an online marketplace for finding talented programming contractors. They launched in May 2006.


We’ve covered Omnidrive for nearly a year…they announced their launch today at the conference. They have an online, windows, and mac client that allow you to seamlessly store and sync files from your computer to your online drive. Their open API also allows for more specialized implementations. See our previous coverage.


We’ve covered Sphere, an blog search engine, for almost a year. Today they launched Sphere It for blogs. TechCrunch has integrated Sphere It into our template and a link is included at the end of every post. Click it to see contextually related blog posts and other information relevant to the story.


Stikkit, the “digital equivalent of a sticky note,” launched today – see TechCrunch UK for deeper coverage. Use it to take quick notes, and Stikkit makes an intelligent decision as to exactly what you are writing about and takes action from there. Mention a name and contact information and it will store it in an address book. Event information is stored in a calendar. Stikkit also supports tagging and other taxonomy structures. We’ll be following up on Stikkit.


Venyo is launching a reputation management application with a couple of interesting twists. Not many details yet.


Timebridge integrates with Outlook 2003 and helps businesses bundle together easy meeting coordination and project collaboration. Meetings are coordinated by sending out email invitations with suggested meeting times that match up with everyone’s schedule. Attendees choose their best times, and Timebridge finds the best time for the group. They’ve taken $6 million in funding from Mayfield Fund and Norwest Venture Partners.


Turn is a new advertising network that work on a CPA, or cost-per-action, basis, meaning advertisers only pay if some defined action occurs, like a sale or user registration. Turn computes how often an action actually occurs, takes into account the bidded payment per action, and distributes ads across its network accordingly. Looks like there’s a lot of technology behind this, and the executive team is strong.


Klostu launched today. It leverages the 300 million people who have participated in Boardscape message boards and allows them to create a single sign on and identity among all of the boards. Turns each message board into a social network. We’re going to dig deeper on this one. Great design.