A Look at Supernova 2007 Connected Innovators

At Supernova’s 2007 Connected Innovators session, 12 young startups (well, 13 if you count the fake one planted to keep the audience on their toes), pitched their products to an audience at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco with punditry by Kevin Werbach and Michael Arrington and supporting color from Josh Kopelman, Julia Hanna Farris and Paul Kedrosky. Here’s a look at the 13 companies:


Critical Metrics
Pando Networks

Adap.tv – They’re like adsense for video, tying contextual text ads based on the content of a video. When videos play, Adap.tv digs up relevant Amazon products and Looksmart ads to populate an ad bar on the bottom of the video at key moments. They use tags and other meta data, as well as speech to text translations to find out what the video is about.

AdaptiveBlue – Makers of the Blue Organizer, a Firefox bookmarking and tagging add-on that parses web pages, adding contextual information where appropriate. For instance, if you go to a web page about a band, Blue Organizer’s right-click menu will show you more info about the band drawn from sites like Odeo or Wikipedia. The plugin also has smart links that let you easily push the link to services like Digg or LibraryThing. More coverage of the recent feature additions here.

Aggregate Knowledge – One of the more established companies at the event, they work with online commerce sites to provide personalized recommendations by looking at user’s collective behavior. They just closed a large round of financing and are rumored to be profitable after a little over a year in operation.

CastTV – A video search engine that pieces together context for a video based on it’s metadata, the content surrounding it, and the content of pages linking to the video. The service performed well in our earlier review. They recently raised a $3.1 million round of financing from DFJ.

Critical Metrics – A music recommendation service that aggregates music reviews from around the web. Each song includes an audio and optional Youtube sample and purchasing options from services like Yahoo Music, iTunes, or Rhapsody.

Jangl – They specialize in anonymous phone communication. A Jangl is a real phone number lets people call you with knowing your real number. The first time someone calls you they have to leave a message and request permission to connect to you directly. You can ban a number at any time as well. They just recently launched a service that lets you generate a Jangl number for any email address and leave a voicemail for that user and number for a callback. Calls are served over a VOIP bridge, so it also makes long distance calls cheaper.

Pando Networks – Desktop peer to peer file sharing service Pando speeds up file transfers by torrenting files and buffering them over their higher speed network of servers. At Supernova they’ve announced their Pando Publishing Platform that lets users easily publish to the web with the cost savings of peer to peer. The platform gives publishers the benefits of P2P video streaming amongst their users and CDN peering service. P2P streaming lets users view video incrementally instead of after a lengthy download. Their CDN peering service will let turn a regular CDN server into a supernode that will save on bandwidth by balancing load between users and the main servers. They’ve already lined up content partners NextNewNetworks, Blip.tv, and Rever.

SodaHead – A polling destination site that lets users poll their friends, SodaHead experts, or strangers. Polls are embeddable widgets that can be voted on at the destination site or any page featuring the code. Polls also feature comments so users can express opinions that don’t fit into any of the options.

Spock – A people search engine that automatically aggregates information linked to a person along with support for updating contacts.

Wize – Wize is a site that tracks expert and user product reviews across the Internet and churns them through an algorithm to create a single, 1-100 “WizeRank.” Earlier this year they got a $4 million round. We have a review of other review services here.

ZapMeals – Adding a little levity to the event, Zapmeals is a startup spoof (e.g. the fake) that aims to be a marketplace for meals, hooking up hungry stomachs with nearby home cooked meals or caterers. You choose your cook based on a member rating system and their fleet of couriers would deliver the meals to your home.

ZenZui – A new way of surfing the web on your mobile phone browser, Zenzui economizes on your phone’s screen space by displaying sites and services as icons on a grid display. You can scan the 36 slot grid using your numbered keypad and zoom in for more detail on a specific service. We covered their launch here.

Zing – Zing enables mobile music players to connect to music libraries over WiFi. They’re currently powering the SanDisk devices for Yahoo Music and Pandora.
You can see a Wink powered group for the event here.

The 12 real start-ups were hand-chosen from more than 130 applications. StumbleUpon, one of the 2006 Connected Innovators, has already enjoyed great success as a newly acquired eBay business. We have high hopes for more great success stories from this year’s crop of Connected Innovators.

While these companies were selected from 130+ applications, they were required to pay a fee to participate once selected. As a partner to the conference, TechCrunch received a percentage of that fee.