Launch Pad 2007 was one of the better sessions today. Four startups get 6 minutes to make their pitch, and are then critiqued by Stowe Boyd and Dave Coleman for one minute each. It's a classic riff on the elevator pitch, and is an easily digestible way to get exposure. Frankly, I wish ALL the companies participating in the Demo Pavilion were required to do this sort of thing, a startup should be able to articulate its value proposition in a few minutes under any circumstance.
The four presenting companies were:
- Collanos --"Within minutes you can be sharing documents, having online discussions, and managing tasks, all in a single, consolidated space. Built on reliable peer-to-peer technology, Collanos Workplace software allows you to work anywhere, anytime, both online and offline."
- Clarizen -- "Clarizen enables on-demand, enterprise-grade project management for everyone. Active participation and secure cooperation lead to true team collaboration, while up-to-the-minute live knowledge helps align project data with business objectives. These unique benefits are derived through Software as a Service (SaaS) - which requires no software and no dedicated hardware - and the freedom of communication of Web 2.0."
- LiquidTalk -- "LiquidTalk, Inc. helps leading-edge companies envision and act on the revenue growth opportunities that mobile technologies present. We create enterprise business applications for digital media devices (iPods, smart phones, etc.). Our patent-pending technology combined with our professional services enable new ways for businesses to create, organize, and distribute business content for sales enablement and employee learning and communication."
- KnowNow -- "More Fortune 1000 companies entrust KnowNow to bridge the information gap between the people and data that drive their business. KnowNow monitors and pushes live, relevant information to users, instantly. KnowNow’s live information management solutions increase productivity and enable timely, profitable decisions for some of the most respected organizations in the world, including AMD, BurrellesLuce, CSAA, Union Bank of California, and Wells Fargo."
Here are my raw notes from the presentations:
Cross Group Collaboration
Current Options Fall Short
- E-Mail [not good for teamwork]
- On-Demand [very broad category]
- Enterprise IT not suited for ad hoc team situation
- Serverless Synchronized P2P Workspaces
- Install onto your computer [for a workplace]
- Invite members, synched automatically in background with other team members
- No central server
- Data is fully redundant b/c copy is on your machine
UI looked a lot like Outlook
- Doc types
- Unlimited projects
Today, we're announcing new feature set...VOICE SERVICES
- Ability to call members and start voice conference calls
- Collanos Phone, for voice and video calls also includes IM
Collanosphere...why we're a game changer
P2P approach is the way to go [not server centric solutions will always remain islands]
Workplace was released 6 months ago, getting decent coverage
Voice and video available as of today
David: Interesting that you talked about what other companies don't do versus what you DO do. P2P is interesting, having redundant data brought up a problem with security [e.g., HIPPA compliance]...if everyone has versions on their laptops and desktop, that could be a security problem. Seeing you guys add asynchronous support is a nice improvement.
Stowe: Not sure the world needs yet another distributed, collaborative tool. Like Groove [Ray Ozzie's company], technology is P2P. I don't see how you can avoid server-side sync ultimately. Phone integration is interesting, but still maintaining a top-down group oriented look and feel to the UI and the invitation process seems undifferentiated. The world is a lot messier than that.
My Take: Far too many nebulous slides and buzzwords. I think this demo did the company a disservice in that I was left with no interest in getting to know them better. Seemed very "me too" save for the P2P angle which, as David mentioned, struck me as a tough sell in an enterprise environment.
On-Demand, Collaborative Project Management for Your Business
18 months old company founded by execs from project management, enterprise software and On-demand markets
Key Success Factors
- Deliver on time
- Meet market needs
- Operate efficiently
What's changed in project management?
- Business environment is much more dynamic
- Projects are complex
- Static is now dynamic
What's different about Clarizen?
Combination of enterprise software and Web 2.0
Manage all projects in one place [360 degree view]
Collaborative Project Networks TM
- Share common objectives but maintain security and individuality
- Achieve True Team Collaboration
- Shows demo of sharing email, comments, message board posts, links, documents
Provide your users with a system they love [great point!]
*** Unique email interaction
Over 100 design partners (Ford, Mindspeed, etc...)
FREE BETA [www.clarizen.com]
Stowe: Many people have come before where you're going. How similar to what you're doing to eRoom, which was bought by Documentum, now EMC. These aren't tremendously new ideas, foldering, task lists, document sharing, been around a long time. Not bad idea, but it's not 2.0 to me.
David: These are Web 1.5 tools. Some of this, some of that. Not really all the way there. We've done a lot of work at Collaborative Strategy on CPM tools and we found the tool needs to cut down the time of interaction between the tasks. Cutting down cycle time between tasks, usually around communication
and interaction. Didn't see any real-time functionality in this, would help a whole lot.
My Take: I thought this was a much tighter presentation that hit on some important points [i.e., making tools simple and enjoyable for end users]. The demo seemed functional, and while I agree with David and Stowe that it didn't look like a 2.0 tool; that may help it in this environment where hybrid models are more digestible for IT buyers.
Provide mobile knowledge for mobile workforce
Reality Check...How many of you are checking your Blackberry? [raised hands]
- Out of time, we're out of the office
- Few cracks in the day to get things done
- Few chances to connect in real time
Founded LiquidTalk to solve those problems in the workplace
Problems we solve:
- Increasingly remote workforce...limited collaboration, knowledge transfer difficult, productivity lost during travel, commute
- Talent acquisition...Web 2.0 generation, expect information immediacy, value place on peer input, hooked on mobile devices
- Roles getting tougher, expectations higher...rising turnover rates, high dependency on star employees, less satisfaction
A disconnected, disengaged workforce
Mobile Workforce Engagement
- Create, find, organize and push audio/video business content to mobile devices
- Wherever, whenever
- Leverages most powerful means for collaboration
- Drives more productive teams
DEMO of the service:
- LiquidTalk portal [tabs = Library, Survey, Playlist, Media, Inbox, Home]
- Some are automatically synced to his device
- Others he can opt to sync
- Others are pushed to him by his CEO
- Make it as easy as iPod [a digital briefcase in their pocket]
LiquidCast...phone in podcast [recorded on $30 bluetooth], press a button and its' uploaded into the LiquidTalk system
WENT OVER THE ALLOTED TIME
David: A little bit more interesting. Would love to see what you do in one slide, versus 5 or 6. This struck me more as a DVR for business training and conversations. It does time shift the conversation; which is what I use my DVR for TV. You're more like Tivo for business than iTunes for business. I listen to podcasts quite often, but I don't always find it transfers knowledge, it transfers information but not knowledge.
Stowe: Expected something quite different from what your buildup was. It's intriguing but have a sense this is better as a set of features integrated into a broader application, i.e., a plug in into Salesforce.com. The notion that people have to create those files and then sync them seems like too much work for me, but if this was part of a larger process [e.g., the weekly sales update on SfDC], it would be more interesting.
My Take: The best demo so far. The CEO had real energy and spoke from a position of experience. He clearly knows the trials and tribulations a mobile sales rep faces in keeping connected with corporate information flow. I think David's analogy to Tivo was spot on, and this struck me as a tool I would gladly use and would be a great add-on for Salesforce.com [much as Stowe suggested].
The Live Information Management Application for Today's Enterprise
VP Tech Services did the demo [worked for Epiphany and Clarify]
Has experience working and supporting software that people don't like to use
The Status Quo: Insufficient
- Email is overused...50% is junk
- Static portals are broken...<20% find portals useful
- Search isn't the answer...<50% of searches are successful
Imagine a day when Inbox doesn't equal a junk drawer
- Needs change, results change
- Information finds you
- 10 results, not 200,000
- No search button
Persistent monitoring [we don't store or move data, just track where it is in its native environment]
- 7 years old
- Strong security
- Content-based routing
Launching KnowNow Live today at the show
Looks very much like iGoogle or NetVibes
Includes internal content [looking at a Sharepoint site]
- Project portal
- Process management
- Easy to ass content [added drag and drop for Engadget channel]
- Can view content inline
DEMO ENDED ABRUPTLY AND PREMATURELY
Stowe: More demo and less pitch. [applause]...let the demos speak for themselves. I'm all for the core sentiment of things finding their way to me, versus me finding things. Just see you having a real hard battling the ECM guys [IBM, EMC, Microsoft] who may not provide as elegant a solution but a functional one. Like the message, but see a tough road. 9,000 other people like you in the space.
David: Originally met KnowNow 1.5 years ago at an RSS conference. In the Web 2.0 space, those who are doing aggregation will make the money. The individual functions will end up being part of services to do aggregation. Think you're following the right track there. The fact information finds you is good. I gave up doing a newsletter and use it as an RSS feed. You have a lot of good customers, is it 9x better than email.
My Take: KnowNow was doing a nice job, I thought but ran long and we didn't get to see much of the demo. I was a tad familiar with this company [unlike the other three] and it was interesting to see them moving away from their RSS-centric focus. All in all, this seems like the most mature business of the bunch, but didn't strike me as original as LiquidTalk.
The audience was asked to vote for their favorite and, from memory, more than 40% chose KnowNow. I personally voted for LiquidTalk because it felt like the most focused and differentiated idea of the bunch.