CHINICT: China’s biggest tech conference, streaming right here on TechCrunch

Disrupt may be over, but half way around the globe, another world-class conference is just beginning. As explained last week, we’re really excited to be live streaming this year’s CHINICT two-day conference which kicks off in Beijing right now.

The full agenda can be found here. The live stream is right here…

And The Winner Of TechCrunch Disrupt is Soluto

It’s that time. After seeing 20 startups plus two audience choices present at TechCrunch Disrupt, last night, that list was whittled down to five finalists: Betterment, MOVIECLIPS, Publish2, Soluto And UJAM. And now it’s time to announce a winner.

Without further ado, the runner-up is UJAM. And the winner is… Soluto.

The Israeli-based startup offers something that millions of people want — no, need: a way to make their computers run better. One thing that’s interesting about this company versus most of the others in the competition is that they’ve created native software. It monitors your PC to find the things that are likely most annoying to users. For example, it tracks down printing problems, crashy apps, resource hogs — all the good stuff.

That alone is interesting. But more interesting is that it offers up solutions for how you can fix your computer issues. And the data they’re (anonymously) collecting about PC problems should be useful across a range of industries and services.

Quite simply: if Soluto can convince the millions of frustrated PC users to use their software, they could transform the industry. Or, disrupt it.

The company has previously raised $8 million over two rounds, but has been in beta until now.

Other award winners tonight include:

Must-have technology: LiveIntent

Biggest New York disruptor: Betterment

Most promising media concept: LiveMatrix

Congratulations Soluto! And congratulations to all the finalists. Each will undoubtedly prove to be disruptive in their own way.

Soluto will be the first company to get the TechCrunch Disrupt Cup. In the Fall, they will hand it off to the next winner. We look forward to seeing you all in San Francisco in September.

Brits Get Their iPads Early But Not Everyone Is Happy

Who said Christmas never comes early?

It’s iPad day tomorrow in the UK, when the device officially launches. But, for those that pre-ordered, it hasn’t stopped delivery vans across the country turning up this morning with Apple’s shiny new toy in hand. And most customers are delighted, of course.

Yes, I said most.

Exclusive: The Helio Ocean 3 That Could Have Been

Yesterday was a sad day for me, albeit one that was a long time coming. Yesterday, Helio, a wireless MVNO co-operated by EarthLink and South Korea’s SK Telecom, let out its final death cry. As I predicted in March, Virgin Mobile, who had acquired the failing company just two years prior, was pulling the plug on the post-paid side of their service that Helio had become. The lights were dimmed, the blinds were closed, and accounts were terminated. Just like that, Helio was dead.

As a small (yet lovely) chunk of our MobileCrunch readers may know, Helio was of some importance to me. On a whim one weekend, long before I became a writer here, I founded a community called Heliocity — which, as you could probably guess by now, was focused on Helio. It was a pretty tightly knit group of 10 thousand-or-so of the geekiest geeks you’ll ever meet, hacking at — and nerding out over — every Helio phone we could get our hands on. That community got me into blogging, which took me to all sorts of industry events, where I in turn met all the people who eventually lead me to my job here at TechCrunch.

To celebrate this nostalgia and recognize the rather cool company that once was, I present: the Helio Ocean 3. This is the phone that was to be Helio’s savior; this is their unfinished magnum opus. Prior to today, it was a myth; no one outside of the company had seen it, and the number of people within the company who had seen it could be counted on two hands.

Read the rest at MobileCrunch >>

Video: Sean Parker And David Kirkpatrick Talk Facebook Privacy, Justin Timberlake

Today at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, one of the most interesting talks was when Sean Parker and David Kirkpatrick sat down to talk about the state of Facebook with our own Michael Arrington. Parker was the founding President of Facebook (and still has close ties to the company, as he’s a major shareholder). Kirkpatrick, meanwhile, has a new book coming out, The Facebook Effect, which he spent two years writing getting unprecedented access to the company.

It was a good day for the chat, considering that Facebook just unveiled its new privacy controls. They talked about privacy for quite a bit, but it wasn’t all privacy. They also talked about a number of other things — including Parker’s take on Justin Timberlake playing him in the upcoming Facebook film, The Social Network.

We’ve decided to post the entire talk below (sorry, it starts out with a ComScore presentation — feel free to skip about 8 minutes in). Enjoy.

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at
Information provided by CrunchBase

Startup Battlefield Round 3: The Final Disruption

We’re down to the final five companies at the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield: Betterment, Movieclips, Publish2, Soluto, and UJAM. This afternoon these companies are all making their last appeals to a panel of expert judges, explaining how they disrupt their respective markets. My live notes from the session are below.

The judges:
John Borthwick
Ron Conway
Marissa Mayer
Sam Schwartz
Quincy Smith

Read our post detailing Publish2 here.

MM: One question. What percentage of AP’s rev. is derived from Co-op?
A: It doesn’t break out. If you ask a cable TV provider, what percentage is consumer paying for this. But if you look at how AP presents itself.. without the co-op they can’t present themselves as comprehensive.
MM: I get the sense that if you look at AP they have bureaus. My question is that I’m worried it’s a small percentage of overall business. I think this is a great area that needs disruption. One thing that I’m concerned about — I want a sense of reliability. Who can you count on as a source? How do you defend brands in this network? I’m worried about overall biz model. There are people who believe real time news are being commoditized. This also couples in with distribution. What’s your plan for getting dist. in the beginning? Chicken and egg problem. With users, you think, can I monetize them directly?
A: They do a tremendous amount of reporting nobody else does. Story in Haiti.. I don’t think that’s a majority of their content.
RC: How big is AP?
A: 700M dollar business. We think globally, there’s a billion+ dollar market. By adding efficiency it will shrink to say half a billion, we think we can take 20% of that.
QS: You need to know your market a little bit better. They are being told by multimedia holding company, in your marketing pitch, if you’re going to replace it, something you have to own and feel accomplished with.

Read our post describing Soluto here.

Dives deep into Windows kernel. Starting with PCs, to eliminate things that are annoying/frustrating.
SS: We get about a million calls a day of customers trying to fix PC problems. They blame it on our connection 90% of the time. I think diagnosing that problem could be multifaceted, if you can do what you say, I think you have a nice exit in front of you.I think you’re tackling: boot sequence, crowdsourcing solution, database of problems. Lot of things to tackle.
A: We have been approached by Comcast already for a partnership.
RC: Is this hardware or software?
A: Doesn’t help you if your CD drive is clicking, but if it’s the driver, yes.
RC: Is it automatic? Or does consumer have to identify the problem?
A: Depends if they want to pay us. Free version, we tell them how to help themselves. Free is paid service.
JB: Talk to me about trust. I wake up one day and this behavioral targeting. How do I know that won’t happening.
SS: A lot of software when it crashes, it asks your permission.. if you’re going to crowd sourcing answer, how much is exposed.
A: We don’t want to know who our users are. There is no registration. All we gather is completely anon. technical information.
JB: I love it. I wish it worked on a Mac. It runs all the time. Normally those things cause more problems than they help.
A: … I think that being very clear and transparent, by contributing all the info we gather back, openly for free, it’s a pain so many people have they want a solution.
MM: I want to offer kudos, you have a great knack for consumer marketing. I think this is a really clever idea. When we launched Google Desktop, we had a conflict with photo software on HP PCs. took 2.5 months to track it down. One concern: we’ve seen that in markets where spyware and negative software runs rampant, people are living more in the cloud, and reimaging machines. If that’s the strat. it circumvents it. I think netbooks, hardware shifts/platform shifts can move and change faster than people thought. So in terms of shifts and ways to get around it how do you respond to that.
A: I think the cloud option is a sad outcome… We think if we are succesful we can stop that. I think it can be comparable in pricing. Regarding the shift we think most of the data is going to the web and it’s great. Still think bad programmers will create frustrations on netbooks, every other platform. This is relevant for every platform.
QS: Remember, in going after Apple.. The beauty of Apple is you go to genius bar, you’re trying to replace the touch. My rec would be to find these geeks early who are luminaries. Get some personalities out there who are advocating. Alt biz model: you have some PC recommendation ideas. You may not disrupt CNet, but maybe join something like that.
A: At present it’s very important to build trust with users of being objective, trusted. Not being affiliated with companies we may be passing judgement. We aren’t passing judgement, but it can be inferred.

Read our post describing Betterment here.

QS: Are you an application or a company? Is there a strategy where you coopt other guys and offer your platform.
A: Yes we can sell through intermediaries (investment advisors, brokers). We’ve build flexible backend. We have ability whitelabel this. Stockmarket basket can be adjusted.
RC: If I put my dial for stocks only, who will pick that portfolio?
A: On our team we have decades of exp. in markets and banking. We’re putting together investor committee. It’s passively managed. Based on fundamentals. Professors, hedge fund managers.
SS: Why not use index fund?
A: We’re not managing it actively. We’re created a portfolio, it’s an index fund of index funds.
MM: I see two issues. You started by saying this a replaceement for savings accounts. Because it’s riskier than in classic savings accounts. Better to say turn savings account into investment portfolio. I’m worried on that same front, that the speed dial isn’t going to be sufficient to educate users.
A: Agree about understanding risk. We want to show people to show potential for loss, we disclose that before you sign up, as you make allocations.
SS: But I wonder if having to move that dial is one choice too many.
Michael Arrington: When Mint launched people were saying it was too cute, this is hard.
MM: I don’t think that’s my criticism. I think it’s about positioning.
JB: I think it’s got this toyish feel to it. I think you need to think about the brand. I thought it was about social investing. I think the UI/interface. You’ve simplified things.. that doesn’t mean reducing things to simple graphic with one bar.
A: It’s hard to reduce complexity to simplicity. There’s a lot of complex stuff behind the scenes.
SS: You’re bothering users with that dialing asset allocation decision.
A: This is the most important decision.
QS: The blippys, swipelys, clearly people are getting more used to simple interfaces. What’s your target market?
A: We’re going after young professionals. People who are lost when it comes to investing. Open etrade and say, I dont know what to do.
RC: Customers want to know who your fund managers who are picking these things.
A: We’re working on investment committee.
RC: You’re going to need Warren Buffet.

See our post describing MovieClips here.
Partnered with the six studios.
Biz model: All about volume.
RC: How you got all the studios is amazing. But imagine how big YouTube sales would be if you were a cofounder…
A: Hulu is knocking down the door.. YouTube did a deal with Vevo. We think we could be a great addition to add to their premium vertical with movie clips.
JB: I’m skeptical. I think a lot of people mash up videos today, it’s not a problem that people have per se. I’m always concerned about a company when I hear them say I got a deal that nobody else can get.
SS: How do they pick which movies?
A: We pick the movies, we do all the clips.
JB: Is this just the crappy movies?
A: A-Class, premiere titles.
QS: Two things I like. Cool thing about what you’re doing, if you do it right, you’re doing fantasy sports for movies. You’re additive and complementary. I like how you’ve coopted studios to see how this is good from promotion, marketing, monetization way. Nobody spends more money online than movie guys. My issues: if you get too successful. Hulu/Vevo.. other guys have skin in the game. SAG. All the guilds. Read all SAG negotiations before we went in.
SS: We own Fandango.. Does the user actually put own vid adjacent to clips.
A: Just compilation of professional video, can’t put own in.
MM: I think the deals are really amazing. I think they’re a good omen. Because next you need dist. I think it’s really fun. Next question has to do with search. What would make it successful is being able to search. But I am not a big fan of metatags.. I like full closed captioned search. The way people talk to each other about scenes.
A: We do have all the captions across 11k movies. Search is very important.
SS: Did you have to guarantee a minimum.
A: Yes. That’s part of the arena. We have to make this worth their time. There’s a rev share with the studios.
SS: What do you have to do with a clip to get ROI positive.
A: If we get 3 million uniques we cover min guarantee.
QS: Data – movies don’t do a good job obtaining, leveraging it. Other partner interesting here is Amazon.
JB: I think people are already doing mashups… movielinks… (he’s not buying it)
RC: This will be as viral as viral can get.

See our post describing UJAM here.
JB: The technology is amazing. I think the whistle example displays tech even better. How do you make this social?
A: One way is people sharing music on social networks. Enabling collaboration. If I can sing well, my buddy is better is drumming, can collaborate in creating music. Service will have an API. Client is already built on API. Can be build to other platforms.
RC: Is the size of market a subset of karaoke, and how big is it?
A: I don’t know the exact number, it’s huge. Karaoke sites could use UJam as a core tech. I think it’s more than that.. It’s not recreating something, it’s creating something new.
SS: I think it’s incredible this is a web app. Very impressive. Strikes me as something you’d see on your Xbox. Because it’s on the web, wonder if there’s more you could be doing with it. This could turn into a whole community.
RC: You’d have to do that in order to make it succesful.
QS: When Google came around search was being used and innovated on my many companies, Google did it better. You guys do it better. There has been online collaboration jamming… but I have a theory there will be more music disruption online. It’s the easiest way for people to get behind an experience. In terms of adoption, applying killer tech, it’s badass. My question — what is the exit? What is the exit value? I’m not seeing what this look like in 5 years. But from a tech/implementation/user adoption it’s compelling. Top buyers today are different from top buyers tomorrow. Look at FB, they’re eating more or less the internet. FB would be a logical one. Yahoo to the extent they might be interested in content. MySpace.
RC: Activision. Nintendo, Xbox, Wii.
MM: I think the tech is impressive> I think the speed it puts together the tracks is great. I think the wow moment is transposition from voice to music. I’m not very compelled by biz models as they have been presented. Seems like you’re making music creation industry much larger. Why not monetize it the way music creation has been monetization?
A: We think that’s why we came up with freemium. People who want to use it occasionally, if you want more, if you want to aspire, sound better. They can customize it and upgrade. Buy more functionality.

The Best Of The Best #TCDisrupt Hackers Show Off Their Creations

The TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon saw over 300 hackers battling through the night, fueled by pizza and caffeine. Three projects were selected and the people that hacked those together got a free pass to the conference, and more importantly some stage time alongside the five Startup Battlefield finalists.

Future Mario (from the Eyewriter guys) is an application that allows you to play Super Mario Brothers with your voice, by blinking your eyes, and by tracking actual eye movement.

Twitter Demographics mashes up tweets with geolocation and demographic data. So if you search for a specific keyword using the service, you can see the percentage of users who tweeted about the keyword within certain income ranges and even by political party.

Worst Phone Ever searches for baseband crashes on your desktop, uploads them, and saves them to a database. The results are tabulated and added to the total, eventually leading to a detailed class-action lawsuit.

We’ll have the video of all three presentations up soon. Tell all your friends.

Wirehog, Zuckerberg’s Side Project That Almost Killed Facebook

We put a bullet in that thing.”

That’s how Sean Parker fondly looks back at Wirehog. According to him and author David Kirkpatrick it was a side-project that Mark Zuckerberg found equally as interesting as Facebook itself. According to both of them, it was also the thing that almost killed Facebook.

The two made the revelation today on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York. Both were on the stage with our own Michael Arrington to talk about the state of Facebook, as well as Kirkpatrick’s new book about its history, The Facebook Effect.

So what was Wirehog? It was a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing service that hooked up to Facebook. When it launched in 2004, it was Zuckerberg thinking ahead of his time, Parker says. It was an app that worked on top of Facebook. This was well before f8, before the Platform. It existed until early 2006 when, according to Kirkpatrick, it died “because Sean killed it.

Parker, of course, had a history with file sharing services — he was one of the founders of Napster. About Wirehog, Parker says it was “a great idea, if it were legal.” “I had seen that movie before. We would have killed the baby in the cradle.”

You can read more about Wirehog on Wikipedia, or check out Kirkpartrick’s book when it goes on sale — he goes more into it.

Information provided by CrunchBase

CrunchGear’s Maker Bar at TechCrunch Disrupt: Assembling MP3 Players From Scratch

The time: Day 3 of TechCrunch Disrupt. The place: CrunchGear’s Maker Bar. Given all the attention focused on Chinese factory conditions lately, we thought it would be interesting to have conference attendees (and sponsors and startup guys) assemble some basic MP3 players from the components an assembly line worker in China is likely to use. No soldering, though, we used ready PCBs (to the disgust of some). I managed to put one together in just under two minutes — it’s harder than it looks. Sorry about the noise in the background, that would be the compressed-air-powered stabber-bot nearby. Why I picked a place like that to shoot a video is a mystery to you and me.

Sean Parker: Credits Poised To Make Up 1/3 Of Facebook’s Income In The Next 12 Months

Today at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, David Kirkpatrick and Sean Parker sat down with Michael Arrington to talk about the state of Facebook. There were a lot of interesting things said (more on that in posts to come), but one thing that definitely stood out was an answer Parker gave to a question from the audience.

The question asked what Facebook’s next big source of revenue would be? Parker, who was the founding President of Facebook, still works closely with the company as he’s a major shareholder. He noted that Facebook PR might not like his answer too much, but he decided to give it anyway: the Credit system.

Parker believes that the Facebook Credit system (that is, its payment platform), or any other things Facebook uses as a “tax and toll” on the Platform, will become a third of Facebook’s income in the next 12 months. In other words, he thinks it’s going to explode.

And it very well could. One of the main reasons it is believed that there were tensions between Zynga and Facebook is because Facebook was starting to push its Credits system, which gives Facebook a 30% cut of the in-game money Zynga earns. The two sides recently reached an agreement which is believed to keep Facebook’s cut the same, but gives Zynga a significant discount on advertising on Facebook.

If virtual currency and goods are nearly a $100 million (revenue) a year business (last year) for Zynga, that’s a lot of money for Facebook. And that’s only going to grow — and likely fast if Parker is right. Wins The TechCrunch Rookie Disruptor Award

Raymie Stata, Chief Architect at Yahoo, just handed an award he himself decided to dub the TechCrunch Rookie Disruptor Award to an amazing startup that didn’t make it to the finals.

Taking home the award is – the picture above shows founder Carter Cleveland.

From our review (also check out the video of their presentation):

The new social site is “the place to discover and share original fine art online.” Okay, it’s easy to say that. But’s approach is to make it easy to discover this art through searching. Their custom search engine allows you to find art by period/style, the portion of their career that the artist is in, or the regular stuff like size, color, and, of course, price.

They’ll also recommend new art to you based on preferences from your social graph. And there’s a Facebook application to leverage the largest social graph. Plus they believe the domain will be key for sharing art on Twitter. They also hint that an iPad app is coming.


Information provided by CrunchBase

The TechCrunch Disrupt Final Five: Betterment, MOVIECLIPS, Publish2, Soluto And UJAM

Eighty thousand people have tuned in to TechCrunch Disrupt to watch the launch of twenty new startups and products in the Startup Battlefield – nearly 2,000 in live attendance and another staggering 78,000 on the live video stream.

Of those twenty just ten made it to the second round, where the focus was on the business model. After long deliberations, and after calculating the total score of each startup based on our panel of expert judges and voting from the audience and viewers, we now have the final five TechCrunch Disrupt startups.

The winner takes home an experience of a lifetime, $50,000 in cash and the Disrupt Cup.

But first they have to prove once more on stage that they deserve to take the top spot. And the final judges – John Borthwick, Ron Conway, Marissa Mayer, Sam Schwartz and Quincy Smith – are not going to be taking it easy on them.

They have five minutes to explain their business and why it rocks to an overstimulated audience and those judges. And then they have to defend themselves on stage for ten more minutes under a barrage of skeptical questions.

Who will be the final TechCrunch Disrupt Champion? We’ll know soon enough.

Here are the finalists:

Betterment (watch)
MOVIECLIPS Mashups (watch)
Publish2 News Exchange (watch)
Soluto (watch)
UJAM (watch)

Which is your favorite? Watch their launch videos and tell us below in the comments.

Venture Capitalists Get Grilled (And Pitched At Urinals) At #TCDisrupt

It doesn’t always have to be the venture capitalists grilling the entrepreneurs – at TechCrunch Disrupt, we’ve disrupted that notion (see what I did there?) and hosted an open-mic session for entrepreneurs to challenge VCs, live and uncensored.

The investors in question were Mark Davis (Associate at DFJ Gotham Ventures), Rick Heitzmann (Managing Director, FirstMark Capital), David Lee (General Partner of SV Angel), Mike Brown (AOL Ventures) and Eric Wiesen (General Partner, RRE Ventures).

Q: Is there ever a situation where entrepreneurs should be paying to pitch investors?

A: Rick – while it’s hard to say never, I’ve seen more scams than good things when it comes to that. Entrepreneurs nowadays are much more able to reach out to good investors. Short answer: I don’t think there’s every any reason to pay a fee to pitch.

Q: Do you like it when people pitch you in a unique and creative way?

A: Mark – We encourage it, sure.

David – We like to see authenticity, because it’s something you can’t fake.

Q: What was the worst pitch you’ve ever experienced?

A: Rick – That would be 20 minutes ago, when someone started whispering in my ear at the urinals. Bad idea.

Mike: I never understand why entrepreneurs just show up at the door of a VC’s office without an appointment.

Q: Is it better to be a small fish that can swim through the net, or a fish big enough to make the net useless?

A: Eric – I’m assuming your metaphor is about competitive landscape. My answer is simple: you want to be in an industry where there’s opportunity for startups to disrupt, where the incumbents are slow.

Q: How do you know something is disruptive before it’s obvious to everyone else?

A: Mark – I think you can tell relatively early on; you look at product, team, market size, competitive landscape, positioning, etc.

Eric: But in the end, you don’t know, it’s not a science. The job is to predict the future, and it’s very hard to do.

Q: What do you expect from a first round meeting?

A: David – it varies, but we look for passion, the business should really mean something to you. Some examples: YouTube, 20×200. Also, we love data; we want something we can work with. Just a PowerPoint but no data, that’s not such a good start.

Q: In the spirit of disruption: you spend a lot of time looking for investments. But there are more and more ways for startups to get money. So how do you see venture capital evolving? Do you feel threatened by the changes you see happening on that front?

A: Rick – I think VC was easier in the past, you just needed to get to the right people to get $10 million. It takes less money to launch companies these days, and owners keep a larger share of the company. The situation forces us to evolve, but that’s good for the industry.

Q: Do you prefer functionality over design or vice versa?

A: Eric – the data usually answers that question for us. Your users will tell you, it will show up in the numbers.

Mike – I don’t care that much how long it took to build your product, but focus on users to get feedback.

David – we prefer entrepreneurs doing one thing very well, not a lot of things reasonably well.

Q: Everyone’s opinion on financially backing competitors of companies in your portfolio?

A: Mark – we try to stay away from that, conflict in portfolio isn’t something you want. Too much risk for exposure.

Eric – if a company in our portfolio changes course and ends up competing with another one in there, we won’t stop them, though.

David – We’re probably the exception. We don’t take board seats, so we’re able to manage conflicts differently. We invest in competitors all the time.

Q: Entrepreneurs take risks to become big. What kind of risks are you taking to become the next Sequoia?

A: Rick – By working hard and being supportive, good things tend to happen. You build your reputation from the bottom up, building relationships with and for your companies. Even if you don’t invest, stay close and be nice, it’s a karma thing.

Q: It takes less money these days to start a company. Will bootstrapping make the need for VC go away?

A: Mark – venture capital can be a good thing for some, a bad one for others. Sometimes VCs back companies that don’t need cash, and it never ends well. But some startups need funding to get to where they want to be.

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at