A Taste of Startup Alley

A hundred startups lined-up the Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt. Here’s just a small taste of some of the interesting companies that over 1,700 attendees were able to see:

6rounds

6rounds, which we wrote about in a previous post can be best described as a snazzy one-on-one video chat product.

At TechCrunch Disrupt, 6rounds announced a new API for developers of game, entertainment and collaboration-based apps. With the API, developers can easily integrate all the rich and interactive functionality of 6rounds, including gifting, video effects, and the ability to add multi-user functionality to single player games and videos.

AppFirst

AppFirst provides real-time visibility into the performance of individual applications within application stacks. The idea behind AppFirst’s SaaS-based performance management is to provide visibility into the performance and operational characteristics of applications regardless of language, application type or location (cloud, physical or virtual servers).

With this type of visibility organizations can flag changes before they become problems and have a negative impact on internal users, or external customers.

AppFirst is NYC-based with backing by FirstMark Capital and First Round Capital.

RankAbove

Seven months after we wrote about its closed beta, RankAbove is pushing its automated SEO analysis product, Drive, into open beta.

Drive is intended for sites with a minimum of 1000 pages, up to several million. It performs everything from keyword research and on-page analysis, to link building and acquisition.

For the open beta, RankAbove made some product improvements such as new backlink analysis tool, daily updated competitive analysis, opportunities to find organic relevant backlinks and a new UI. If you’re at Disrupt, stop by their booth for a free site analysis.

sProphet

sProphet (Sports Prophet) lets fans share sports knowledge by predicting outcomes of real sporting events. For example, they can predict which baseball batter will have the longest batting streak in the MLB this week.

Users play with virtual money to challenge their friends and arrange group prediction tournaments.

sProphet is offered through a destination site, via a Facebook application and soon through a widget which will be offered to partners such as sports sites and portals.

Information provided by CrunchBase
Information provided by CrunchBase
Information provided by CrunchBase
Information provided by CrunchBase


Survival Of The Fittest: The Startups That Made The Second Round At #TCDisrupt

We were fortunate enough to witness a lot of fascinating startups strut their stuff here at TechCrunch Disrupt, not just on the main stage but also in the Startup Alley and beyond.

But of course the event is and remains a competition, so the experts have been working hard to select those startups with the most potential to be genuinely disruptive, and vote them into the second round of the pitching contest. Just ten of the original twenty startups have been invited back to round two.

The final few startups will be announced tomorrow, and they’ll be back on stage for the final round of demo and rapid-fire Q&A with our experts.

Appbistro

Appbistro is an application marketplace for Facebook pages. At Appbistro, page administrators can quickly find applications that they can easily plug into their pages and quickly increase the engagement and reach of their pages. The applications within the marketplace are built by known and vetted Facebook developers, and feature applications for Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, and more.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

Information provided by CrunchBase

Betterment

Betterment is the replacement for your savings account. It’s a smart investment that’s easy to use, and you have access to your money at any time. You invest in our two portfolios—a diverse basket of stocks and a portfolio of ultra-safe bonds—in a blend of your choosing. There’s no minimum balance, no transaction fees, and no investing experience required. So you earn more from your savings with fewer hassles.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

Information provided by CrunchBase

Compass Labs

Compass Labs is a social e-commerce company, which increases the effectiveness of social networks for both users and advertisers. Users obtain timely, highly relevant information, and advertisers to precisely reach users at the right moment. Compass Labs’s solutions are effective in extracting precise meaning from social media communication, and leveraging that for timely and precise ads targeting, and for enabling content/user discovery.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

LiveIntent

LiveIntent‘s mission is to help you create meaningful connections on social media. It helps answer the question: “Who do I follow?”. For publishers, having a LiveIntent window on your site is opening the door to let in engaged and repeat users to your site, significantly increasing pageviews, ad impressions, unique visitors, and revenue.

For advertisers, it’s an enabling technology that builds stronger and longer lasting relationships between brands and consumers in social media.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

Information provided by CrunchBase

MOVIECLIPS

MOVIECLIPS.com is a premium online video destination offering audiences the largest and most diverse collection of movie scenes. It allows fans to find, watch and share more than 12,000 movie clips. Each clip is tagged with up to 1,000 pieces of data (dialogue, actor, director, action, mood, etc) to make the most searchable collection of movie scenes on the web. Users can also compete in movie trivia games and create hilarious movie mashups.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

Information provided by CrunchBase

Plantly

Plantly is a risk-aware investment tool. They use a lot of advanced tools to show users exactly what will happen to their investments based on various scenarios. “We want you to touch this to get a feel for what will happen to your money,” is the way they put it.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

Information provided by CrunchBase

Publish2

Publish2 is an ambitious new project trying to find a fix for the Associated Press nightmare that newspapers are forced to deal with because of a lack of any viable alternative. It is the easiest way to share and distribute news for print and web publishing. Publish2 News Exchange enables newspapers to create a comprehensive, customized newswire for print, combining content sharing networks with the highest quality free and paid news sources. Publish2 Link Newswire captures the collective editorial judgment of journalists, based on what they read every day, to create engaging news aggregation features for multichannel distribution.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

Information provided by CrunchBase

Soluto

Soluto brings an end to the frustrations PC users encounter, with transparency, honesty, killer technology, and your help. Its software combines advanced technology with collective wisdom, to detect PC users’ frustrations, reveal their cause, learn which actions really eliminate them and improve user experience. Soluto is mapping the PCGenome, a knowledge base of frustrations and solutions built automatically through the usage of Soluto software, for the benefit of all PC users.

Here’s our review + CrunchBase profile + video.

Information provided by CrunchBase

UJAM

UJAM (CrunchBase) is a cloud-based platform that empowers everybody to easily create new music or enhance their existing musical talent and share it with friends. Like Jason wrote: “it can turn your humming, whistling, kazoo-playing or not-so-in-tune vocals into something people might actually want to listen to. And it’s really, really cool.”

Here’s our review (there are links to other coverage from around the Web in there).
Bonus: a video of Chris Sacca singing.

Information provided by CrunchBase

WeReward

WeReward is a mobile incentive platform that rewards consumers for actions they take in the real world. Consumers earn points for photo-verified location check ins or performing tasks. Each point is worth a penny, consumers can cash out directly from their mobile device. Businesses utilize WeReward’s self service platform to incent customer purchases and drive loyalty. The platform lets them see who their customers are, what their experience was and how often they purchase.

Here’s our review + video.


LinkedIn Deepens Integration With Twitter; Becomes A Full-Fledged Client


It’s been no secret that LinkedIn has been steadily trying to make its platform more social and interactive with users. LinkedIn integrated with Twitter last fall, allowing users to Tweet from the platform and pull Tweets into the network with a #in hashtag. In fact, over one million users have tied their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. And this year the network added the ability to “follow” companies, taking a page from both Twitter and Facebook. Today, LinkedIn is furthering its Twitter integration by allowing members to easily find and keep track of their LinkedIn connections on Twitter and more, essentially becoming a full-fledged client.

Once you’ve installed the Tweets application, the “Overview” tab on your homepage will allows you to see everyone you currently follow on Twitter, view their Twitter feed, and Tweet from your own account. A new feature, Connections to Follow, has been added to recommend new people for you to follow, based on your LinkedIn connections. You can easily see all of your LinkedIn connections who have added Twitter accounts to their LinkedIn profiles and allows you to see who you are and aren’t following on Twitter.

You can also see the Twitter information for any of your connections, follow or unfollow them, and even see a sample of their last tweet by hovering over their Twitter ID. And now you can save your LinkedIn connections as a dynamic Twitter list. When you choose to save your connections as a Twitter list, LinkedIn will create a private Twitter list for all of your LinkedIn connections that have added Twitter accounts. LinkedIn will keep this list up-to-date, adding and removing Twitter accounts to the list daily based on your LinkedIn connections.

Clearly LinkedIn has added much more functionality to its Twitter platform, which seems to be popular. Of course while one million out of nearly 70 million users is still only a portion of its userbase, it still represents a large portion of members who have downloaded the app. LinkedIn is making a strong push to encourage users to share content on the site, and becoming a full-fledged Twitter client will only increase sharing on the platform. The obvious next step would be to integrate with Facebook in some way, but we probably shouldn’t hold our breath.

Information provided by CrunchBase


Facebook Like Buttons Pop Up On Yahoo Sports

Interesting. Despite all the brouhaha about Facebook seizing control over the entire Web and putting an end to privacy as we know it, publishers are – still – fast adopting the “like” button and other social plug-ins.

Latest to apparently add Facebook “like” buttons is Yahoo, which as we’ve written before seems to be happily outsourcing all that social nonsense to Zuckerberg & co lately.

To see the integration in action, go to any MLB team on the Yahoo Sports website (e.g. the Cleveland Indians).

On the right, right below the Teamtracker frame, you can “like” the team, after which your status will be updated with a link back to the page you’re on. Also shown is the number of people who have clicked the button before you.

As far as we can tell, the deep integration of Facebook Connect buttons was publicly announced but the addition of like buttons to Yahoo Sports was not, or at least not yet.


“Plantly Is An Investment Tool That Aims Not To Suck”

That quote in the title is completely from Plantly, not from me. Today at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, the company won the audience award to get on the stage and give their pitch.

Title aside, Planty is a risk-aware investment tool. They use a lot of advanced tools to show users exactly what will happen to their investments based on various scenarios. “We want you to touch this to get a feel for what will happen to your money,” is the way they put it.

They are not a broker, this is just a tool. If you have a broker, you can put their fees in the tool to add those into the system as well. The whole idea is to put a plan in place — it’s not about rushing to invest.

The business model mainly resides in the follow-up services. For example, you can use other tools to see how your investment is actually doing versus how you thought it would do. They also charge $10 for access to the system — but that’s just a one-time fee.

But again, the key to all of this is the design and simplicity of the service. Plantly wants to make what’s going to happen to your money obvious. They don’t care if you invest or not — they just hope that by showing you this info, that if you do choose to invest, you’ll use some of their more advanced (paid) tools.

———-Q&A With The Judges—————-

Jason Calacanis, CEO & Founder, Mahalo
Brad Garlinghouse, President, Consumer Applications Group, AOL
Tolman Geffs, Co-President, JEGI
Megumi Ikeda, SVP, Peacock Equity Fund
Shervin Pishevar, Founder & Chairman, SGN

Q: This is great. It’s like the good things about Mint. You expressed it well.

Q: It was a very nice product. Very easy to use. Who is your competition in this market.

A: We’re learning about more and more of them — like Betterment, which launched here yesterday. But we’re not brokers, they are. We’re about our interface design.

Q: Is this only ETFs?

A: Yes, only ETF.

Q: How it’s different from something like MorningStar.

A: The information is different and we’re heavily involved in the plan for the future. The information in advance is important. MorningStar has too much information. This is about just the right amount of information. Smart decisions are the key.

Q: I think these are the two best product guys we’ve seen all day. At the end of the day it’s clear what your proposition is. I love the product.

Q: You guys didn’t earn your way onto stage — but you were the best presentation of the whole group. You guys were elegant with how you think about the space. Where are you guys from?

A: Originally from Israel. Now in Brooklyn.

Q: What’s your qualification in the financial space.

A: No, it’s all from my MBA and working at Proctor & Gamble.

Q: This is about protecting people and protecting their money.

——– The Monetization Plan —————–

They’re still in beta so they’re figuring out the monetization strategy. They’re thinking about some 40% of investors in the longtail. $10 is cheap enough for people to get into this, they think. Again, the idea isn’t to push people to invest, but if they do, give them more tools.

“Affiliating through need is the wrong thing for our customers,”

—————– Second Q & A —————

Q: How will you acquire customers?

A: Again, around 40% of people first go to friends and family. And being here is a good start.

Q: What wealth level are you talking about?

A: $5,000 for a single investment. For the middle class small investors.

Q: So you should go to Walmart or get people through 401k.

Q: Protecting wealth is a great message, you could do all sorts of things — make videos.

Q: Plantly in some ways reminds me of a social game. Maybe as you’re managing it, a plant grows. The leaves represent your financial life.

A: Thank you, we are having discussions about game mechanics.

Q: You guys are brand-able too. Make videos!

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at livestream.com


Steve Case: AOL/Time Warner Merger May Have Worked Had I Played A More Active Role

This morning at TechCrunch Disrupt, AOL cofounder Steve Case sat down for an interview with our own Michael Arrington to discuss an array of topics, including his current venture Revolution, his motivation to stay involved in entrepreneurship, and even a story about AOL’s offer to buy Yahoo for $2 million back in 1995 (they turned it down, but Case said Jerry Yang and David Filo probably would have agreed to $3 million).

One of the more interesting topics to come up during the conversation was whether or not Case thought the Time Warner merger was a good idea. Case hasn’t been directly involved with AOL for years — he left his role as CEO when AOL merged with Time Warner in 2000, and left the board of directors in 2005 — but he didn’t shy away from speaking about the company. Case said it was obviously clear in hindsight that the deal has been a disappointment. But he said that it’s hard to say whether he would have done anything differently with the merger, as AOL was at its peak at the time (Case and AOL shareholders did quite well). He also said that he thought the merger might have gone better had he been more involved with the transition.

“It’s hard to say given the dynamics of the time particularly as Mike mentioned, the market cap of the company — it was really the peak of the Internet boom, and it felt like a good time to trade what we had for what we would get. So I can’t really say I regret that. I’d like to think but it’s probably arrogant and presumptuous that if I had played a more active role on driving integration maybe it would have been better. But part of the deal was that I stepped aside as CEO and was Chairman without any operating responsibility.”

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at livestream.com

Here are my notes from the talk:
Arrington: What keeps you going?
Case: I love building stuff. For 25 years I was focused on AOL. Now instead of playing a direct operating role working with entrepreneurs, I’m funding around a dozen companies, and they’re all interesting to me.

Arrington: You’re not doing it for the money, so it’s almost a hobby for you?
Case: Yes. Our mission is to invest in people/ideas that can change the world, sometimes through philanthropy, sometimes entrepreneurship.

Arrington: Last night we were talking about early days of AOL. You were talking about the number of users AOL had..

Case: We started in 85, went public in 1992, when we had 184k users. 7-8 years later it was like 25 million customers. And the nice thing was that each of those customers were paying 25 dollars a months. We like to say, those were the good old days.

Arrington: Let’s talk about Revolution. What exactly is it?
Case: The genesis really was… I stepped down as CEO as AOL almost a decade ago and said, “so what do I do next?”. Revolution is a holding company. It has three parts. One part is Revolution Capital (30-40 million bets each). As for the fat vs lean startups, I think both are right. Our sweet spot tends to be fatter companies. Companies with higher barrier to entry. We also have Revolution Ventures which are smaller ventures. LivingSocial, ClearSpring, TweetUp.

Case: Zipcar has 7000 cars. About 200 cities. It’s crazy to own a car in cities. Relying exclusively on taxis doesn’t work either. Instead of going to Hertz you can just walk a block away.

Arrington: Of all the companies you’re invested in, which do you think about most?

Case: LivingSocial is really on a tear. There were companies doing this 10 years ago, and it was mostly right but they didn’t have the right context. I think social media is changing that.

Case: About three years ago a company wanted to do Facebook apps… LivingSocial. They tried figuring out how to monetize that, and about a year ago they pivoted. Went from being a thin to a fat ‘speedup’. 30 employees to 130 in the last six months. I think ‘grouponing’ will be an important segment. Probably a few big companies built.

Arrington: Is the idea at all relevent to Amazon?

Case: I don’t think it’s irrelevant. I think they probably look at it as more an opportunity than a threat. These companies are really picking a deal or a market. Interesting business or interesting business model. Merchants like that it generates new customers and zero risk.

Arrington: What do you think about Tim Armstrong as CEO for AOL?
Case: So far so good. But I’ve been out of AOL for ten years. Everybody gives AOL up for dead because they have so many challenges over the last decade. But if you put the past aside it still has 100 million users in the US, 250 worldwide users. That’s a pretty good hand to be dealt with. Seems like he’s doing that.

Arrington: Yesterday on stage John Doerr talked about the ‘third wave’. What do you think, does that ring true?

Case: I think what we’ve shifted to is that having spent a lot of timing building core infrastructure and platforms, now you can shift to different things. Embedding these things in other areas. ZipCar for example, it’s enabled by the internet and couldn’t make it without the internet. These companies don’t have to be on the Internet itself, but how you build on it in other industries. Healthcare will probably be a big thing here.

Q&A:
Q: Since the start of your career what do you consider your greatest failure/mistake?
A: I’ve had a lot. Obviously merger has been a disappointment. It was smart, but was disappointed with how it played out. But AOL was like many other companies. There were a lot of ups and downs to it. perseverance was key. Today… isn’t focused on enough. There’s too much tendency on moving to next big things. Too many companies built to flip vs built to last.

Q: Looking back on merger what would you have done differently?
A: Hard to say. Felt like the peak, so I can’t really say I regret that. I’d like to think but it’s probably a bit presumptuous. That if I played a more active role it maybe would have gone better… but part of the deal was that I would have less of a direct role.

Arrington: If you hadn’t merged where would the company be today?
Case: We recognized broadband would be big, we recognized having ownership of cable would be important. But the key lesson, which Edison said, is that vision without execution is hallucination.


Keenkong Manages The Social Media Overload For Marketers

Now more than ever, marketers are using tools to monitor and keep track of the conversation about brands taking place on sites like Facebook and Twitter. While many of these tools monitor sentiment around Tweets and updates including a brand’s name, Keenkong takes a slightly different approach. Launched at TechCrunch Disrupt today, Keenkong seg­ments the con­ver­sa­tions taking place on Facebook and Twitter by topic (what), by inten­tions (why), by net­work size and more.

So when you click on a seg­ment in Keenkong, you can see the related con­ver­sa­tions according to a particular topic. Keenkong’s linguistic processing engine extracts live why people are talking, what are they talking about, who they are and it segments messages accordingly. Keenkong automat­i­cally cap­tures, parses and groups incom­ing mes­sages from Twit­ter (includ­ing lists and searches) and Face­book. For example, Keenkong will segment Tweets about users choosing between your brand and another into one category. Or Keenkong will create a segment of Tweets and updates where a brand should thank the consumer for highlighting a positive aspect of a brand.

It essentially allows marketers to break down conversations by actionable insights vs. sentiment or even topic. And the categorization of these actions makes it fairly simple to marketers to prioritize actions. Plus, Keenkong provides users with analytics around engagement and interaction with a brand on Twitter and Facebook.

The social media monitoring space is crowded-with a number of worthy competitors in the space, including Scout Labs, PeopleBrowsr, ViralHeat and more. But, Keenkong’s application seems to provide a unique approach to the monitoring space, so many brand marketers are sure to find the application useful.

Q&A

TG: What’s different about what you are doing?
KK: We are breaking down the conversation into actionable segments.
TG: Still not hearing how it’s different than other dashboards out there.
BG: What is your marketing, sales strategy?
KK: We want this to be a open model, want marketing, PR agencies to use it.
SP: I invested in Klout, which would be interesting to integrate in this. You should also integrate with Rapportive.
JC: Great job with the presentation.Sentiment is hard to track. This has existed and has been expensive and wrong. The CRM piece is what people want. You should make this free and let everyone have it. Maybe you can be the person who cracks sentiment.
KK: We built this fore custom metrics and segments.
JC: It was good that you have visual stuff.

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at livestream.com
Information provided by CrunchBase


Screw The Gallery, Discover The Next Great Picasso At Art.sy

I’ll admit that I know nothing about fine art. It actually somewhat interests me as an idea, but I’m never going to go to a gallery. Basically, everything I do is now online. But finding fine art online seems hard. A quick Google search brings up sites that look to be the exact opposite of fine art. Art.sy wants to change that.

The new social site, started by Carter Cleveland, is “the place to discover and share original fine art online.” Okay, it’s easy to say that. But Art.sy’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 Art.sy domain will be key for sharing art on Twitter. They also hint that an iPad app is coming.

Although art is best viewed in person, you can’t fall in love with it unless you’ve discovered it first,” they write on their site.

Obviously, this is a niche site, but fine art = money. And even if you’re not looking to buy, you can visit to learn more about artists or particular works of art. It’s culture online.

And once you’re ready to buy a piece of art, you can talk directly to the artist or gallery to negotiate a fair price. Or you can arrange a viewing if you’re not sure about the piece. And, of course, you can share your purchases on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

———-Q&A With The Judges—————-

Jason Calacanis, CEO & Founder, Mahalo
Brad Garlinghouse, President, Consumer Applications Group, AOL
Tolman Geffs, Co-President, JEGI
Megumi Ikeda, SVP, Peacock Equity Fund
Shervin Pishevar, Founder & Chairman, SGN

Q: How does this not exist already? And do the art galleries want to give it to you?

A: The key to this is deals with art houses. The competitors is Art Net — which is a great resource if you know the artist you’re looking for.

Q: Are the auction houses part of your system?

A: No, just the galleries.

Q: Will regular people be able to put art on there?

A: Not at first, because we want to make it about fine art only.

Q: There should be a feedback system — Q&A system in here.

Q: Is there a consumer demand in this? Isn’t inefficiency in this?

A: We got our initial funding from people who were frustrated by this.

Q: I didn’t think it was too original. I remember nextmonet.com — this is well done, but exclusive access to art isn’t huge.

A: You have to be more like Steve Jobs during the presentation. You had one, but the tech fucked it up. You missed the “wow.”

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at livestream.com
Information provided by CrunchBase


Movieclips Wants To Drink Other Movie Clips Sites’ Milkshake With Mashups

Everyone loves movie clips. But, unfortunately, they’re often hard to find online in one centralized place. There’s a simple reason for this: licensing. If someone could just solve that, they’d have a pretty killer website, right? That’s what Movieclips has. And now they’re trying to extend it with Movieclips Mashups.

The key to this (beyond a killer domain name, movieclips.com) is that they have partnerships with six major Hollywood studios to provide them with clips from films. How many clips? So far, over 12,000. Imagine if the studios could make some older clips relevant again? And what if users could do it themselves? That’s what this new Mashups products is trying to do.

Movieclips went to the studios, pitching them directly about the idea. Co-founders Zach James and Rich Raddon had two key selling points: “How do you make movies more social?” and “How do you make movies more relevant?”

The first question is nothing new (you make it easy to share the clips on the various social networks). But the second questions is interesting. For example, how do you take Top Gun – a movie which is 25 years old — and make it relevant to a 15-year-old? There’s a way — it’s a great movie — they just have to provide context with something relevant today. That’s where the mashup component of their service comes into play.

For example, on stage, they showed a bunch of clips from a bunch of movies to play out the Tiger Woods sex scandal — think: The Ladies Man.

You can also make e-cards of sorts for friends. Is someone sick? Just make them a mashup of a bunch of vomiting scenes from movies! What fun!

And it’s not just quantity. Movieclips also believes its product is superior to the others out there because they tag each of these clips with up to 1,000 pieces of metadata (dialogue, actors, moods, etc). This makes the clips very searchable — and they’ve had 30 part-time employees working on this, so it’s more reliable than machine-tagged data.

Last year at TechCrunch 50, AnyClip debuted with a similar idea. But there’s one key difference: they didn’t have the licensing agreements yet. They still don’t. Movieclips does, and that could make it a killer product.

Movieclips launched its main product (the clip search engine) in beta this past December and released an API in March.

———-Q&A With The Judges—————-

Jason Calacanis, CEO & Founder, Mahalo
Brad Garlinghouse, President, Consumer Applications Group, AOL
Tolman Geffs, Co-President, JEGI
Megumi Ikeda, SVP, Peacock Equity Fund
Shervin Pishevar, Founder & Chairman, SGN

Q: That was a perfect presentation.

Q: Yeah, the movie clip idea is difficult. But how do you make it unique?

A: The domain is important (movieclips.com). We can also syndicate our player out. We have 2 dozen portals we’re talking to right now. Yes, the clips we get aren’t only ours.

Q: What are the three revenue streams?

A: We’ll give one now — subscription revenue.

Q: It’s a pretty thing, but technically it’s not that difficult. This is won on distribution.

A: Yeah, when we launched we decided distribution was key. We need to make all these deals — like AOL.

Q: You had great video source material. But the clip is derivative. This isn’t anything that innovative. One excellent thing: you bought a great domain name. Two: you got the clips. How did you get those?

A: We were stealth and working on getting the deals before we did anything. So pre-launch we had 5 deals in place. AnyClips was the opposite. We do ad-rev split.

———- The Monetization Portion ————

It was really hard to get these deals. No one has ever done this before. We were able to give them both a piece of the ad revenue and analytics.

Our plan to make money:

1) We’ll have a subscription plan across our distribution. There’s a lot of upselling on our site too.

2) Advertising — You can get a good CPM on these.

3) Transaction — This isn’t our focus, but we did this anyway. In a few weeks time we’ll have a “buy” button. That’s an exclusive deal. It’s for businesses — if you want to use a clip in a demo, you can do it.

It’s all about our great tags. We have 30 people doing it. And we’ll crowd-source it too.

———– Second Q&A —————–

Q: You guys need to be more direct about the issues. Terrible presentation. I wouldn’t invest.

A: We’re working on a round right now.

Q: How much traffic do you need to hit?

A: 3 million uniques is what we want to hit. And I think we will.

Q: In the first presentation you killed it, but you were tired here. I think you should talk about micro-transactions too. This could be a huge app on Facebook. Think JibJab. An iPhone app too. I would also knock on Microsoft’s door everyday. Tell them they need to use your clips.

Information provided by CrunchBase


mTouch: An Affordable Multi-touch Web Table

It’s hard out here at Disrupt for gadget geeks, but we just got lucky. Merel Technologies is showing off a very cool multi-touch web table that uses gesture recognition, object recognition, and multi-user multi-touch to create a new way to interact with media and kiosk apps.

The best thing? It costs $3,200 for the 32-inch model and $4,200 for the 42-incher and they’re available now.

The table is made by Merel Technologies in New York and it uses a stacked multi-touch layer along with an LCD TV to display the interface. A built-in PC runs the whole thing and you can tear it down to create a coffee-table sized device. You can also customize colors.

Click through for our hands-on video.


The Entire Web Gets A TV Guide With Live Matrix

Once television moved beyond the three major networks, there was a problem. With all the new channels and content, how could people find what to watch and when? That’s where services like TV Guide and eventually on-screen guides came in. There’s a similar problem right now on the web — only times a million. A new product being launched in closed beta today at TechCrunch Disrupt, Live Matrix, wants to be that TV Guide for the web.

Now, to be clear, there have been plenty of products that have attempted to be the TV Guide for the web as it relates to web video. But Live Matrix extends far beyond just video. It’s about anything taking place on the web. Audiocasts, auctions, chats, MMO games, etc. Live Matrix wants to organize it all. So far, they’re up to 80,000 scheduled events every week, and growing quickly.

The main page of Live Matrix is a site that shows you what live events are trending (and the ones that just ended and which ones are upcoming) as well as featured events. Again, these must be online events — anything taking place in the real world (without some kind of Internet stream) will not be included in Live Matrix.

The Live Matrix algorithm then looks over these events for things such as number of people who are concurrently watching to determine the popular ones. This, in turn, gives each event a rating, similar to a Nielsen rating for television.

And there’s a way to virtually “RSVP” for events through the service — sort of like a “check-in” for what you’re doing ont the web. These RSVPs are kept in a different area on the site that you can visit — Live Matrix thinks of this as a sort of “TiVo for the web.” Live Matrix isn’t recording anything, but they’ll send you to the archived event (assuming its archived) if you visit it after it’s over.

Naturally, there is search for all of this.

And there are also tools for publishers of content. This gives them access to special widgets, a solid way to promote your event on other sites — and a potential way to make money. Plus there are analytics that Live Matrix can provide.

Live Matrix is the brainchild of Sanjay Reddy and Nova Spivack. Reddy was working as the SVP of M&A at Gemstar TV Guide when it sold to Macrovision for $2.5 billion. Spivack, most recently, was the founder and CEO of Twine, the semantic search engine. In other words, the bring the best of both worlds for what’s needed here.

The company has gotten angel funding, but has been in stealth mode up until this point.

———-Q&A With The Judges—————-

Jason Calacanis, CEO & Founder, Mahalo
Brad Garlinghouse, President, Consumer Applications Group, AOL
Tolman Geffs, Co-President, JEGI
Megumi Ikeda, SVP, Peacock Equity Fund
Shervin Pishevar, Founder & Chairman, SGN

Q: I think the TiVo for the web is the really interesting thing. How do you get closer to that?

A: I think that’s more of a feature than what we’re going for. All of this content is invisible right now, we’re shining a light on it. On TV, if you know what you want to watch, you’ll go there — otherwise you go to your guide. Over time, we’re going to be more of a predictor of what the audience will be. That should help with audience.

A: We have an API too to do other things.

Q: You said you’re doing so many things — I don’t get it, what are you?

A: We expect people are going to come to us through partners — that’s the goal. We’re talking to media companies.

Q: The team background is incredible — I would have put that first. The presentation was frustrating, the idea is good, but the presentation failed. Too many analogies.

A: Erick’s fault. He changed our pitch.

Q: I think Gemstar would have been the better way to put it. You need to improve your UI. Clicker has a good UI, be like that.

A: We do have what you’re talking about.

Q: The widget is the most interesting part, I think. But don’t make it too confusing with the technical stuff.

Q: This as an iPad app would rock.

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at livestream.com


Jai Ho! A Rockstar Team Brings Social Gaming To Music With NoiseToys

Music startups are nothing new. But what if I told you that one of the guys involved in creating the song “Jai Ho” (otherwise known as the Slumdog Millionaire song) teamed up with one of the guys who helped make the audio in the iPhone to create a music startup? Would you be interested? Of course you would be.

That’s NoiseToys, a new startup by three Standford graduates (who just moved to New York). The main idea is to turn music listeners into music influencers. That is, to make music of a social experience in a more meaningful way than it has been up until now.

And how do they do that? By turning it into a game.

The game is called “HitMaker” — it’s an iPhone app. Basically, it turns you into a music executive looking for good, new music. Another way to look at it is that this is like fantasy sports — but for music. You find the music, and you own it. The key to help bolster a song is to promote it on your social sircle. If someone else decides they like the song you shared, you get credit for that.

You get 30-second previews of songs from iTunes if you don’t own it — and you can decide if the person who promoted it was right. ”Music is meant to be played,” is their tagline.

Co-founder Vivek Agarawal is the one who worked on “Jai Ho” (and other Bollywood music) in India following his graduation from Standard. Co-founder Mehul Trivedi, meanwhile, was busy working at Apple on the Core Audio working on OpenAL (the audio counterpart to OpenGL) used to drive audio in games on the iPhone. Co-founder Shalin Mantri has a less glamorous history, but it’s probably the most important work to what they’re doing now — for the past year, he’s been at Stanford doing experiments on social influence.

———-Q&A With The Judges—————-

Jason Calacanis, CEO & Founder, Mahalo
Brad Garlinghouse, President, Consumer Applications Group, AOL
Tolman Geffs, Co-President, JEGI
Megumi Ikeda, SVP, Peacock Equity Fund
Shervin Pishevar, Founder & Chairman, SGN

Q: What’s the consumer benefit?

A: The friction on Facebook Walls is a one-way message, but to be social this has to be a conversation. It’s also a game, it’s fun. And you have a rank among your friends. You can see your score.

Q: The social gaming element is a good thing. I think you could push it further into the game field.

A: Yeah, the demo is a bit short, but there’s more in there. There’s a royalty system for example. There’s a stock element too. If you find someone new, you get them cheap, and you can make a lot of points in the game.

Q: Is the virtual currency tied to real currency?

A: It’s all virtual right now. There will be other virtual goods too, which you can convert this to virtual goods.

Q: You should have shown an iPad app. HSX has tried this before, but it burned money. Focus more on the game mechanics.

Q: You should decide what you should trying to be good at.

Watch live streaming video from disrupt at livestream.com
Information provided by CrunchBase


Frank Quattrone: The Market Is Waiting For A “Category-Defining, Earthshaking” IPO

Frank Quattrone, the Godfather of tech investment banking, sat down in a fireside chat with Michael Arrington today at Disrupt. Quattrone is back in tech boutique M&A with his new investment advisory firm, Qatalyst Partners. Recently, he advised Palm on its $1.2 billion acquisition by HP and two years ago he worked for Google when it tried to cut a search deal with Yahoo.

The conversation ranged from Quattrone’s remembrance of a 25-year-old Steve Jobs coming in to talk to his Stanford business school class before Apple’s IPO to his early days at Morgan Stanley and his thoughts on the prospects for the tech IPO market ever opening up again. On the IPO market, he notes that the market is waiting for “category-defining, earthshaking companies” to file to go public, but hasn’t seen them yet. Investors are waiting for Facebook, Twitter, or Zynga to go public. And just how much could Facebook be worth? Quips Quattrone: “$18 Gazillion dollars.”

Below are my rough notes of the Q&A:

Arrington: You were involved with Apple’s acquisition of Next that brought Steve Jobs back Your advice was to do that deal or not do the deal?

Quattrone: Apple had lost their recipe for doing an operating system, which is like Coke losing their recipe for soft drinks

Arrington: Tell me about the early days.

Quattrone: I joined Morgan Stanley in 1977, when it was less than 1,000 employees, and was in one business, advising companies. When I was in my second year at Stanford Business School, a professor brought in Steve Jobs before they had an IPO. I thought I was a hotshot. But here he was the same age as me, 25, about to IPO for a few hundred million dollars. I basically scratched my head and asked how did he do that?

Steve Jobs did tell us how PCs were going to change the world. He had to sell his Volkswagon van for $800 to get Apple started, so it was very inspirational.

Arrington: You formed Qatalyst Partners in 2008 to counsel companies and the very first thing you did was advise Google. There was a Microsoft -Yahoo takeover bid.

Quattrone: Yahoo had proposed a very complex deal to Google. We explained to Google how much leverage they had in that situation, and that they could just do a search deal.

Arrington: Are there any other deals you have worked on last few years?

Quattrone. There was a bidding war for Data Domain that ended in an attractive sale of $2.4 billion to EMC.

Arrington: Do you ever forget how much money you are dealing with. You are tossing around $2.4 billion. What is that world like?

Quattrone: I did not start that way. At Morgan Stanley I was known as the guy who did small deals for small companies. The head of investment banking asked me why do you keep doing all of these small deals. What does Cisco do That was in 1990. For the first ten years it was a tough climb up a steep hill.

Arrington: How is the venture capital industry doing?

Quattrone: It Is not a pretty place to be unless you are one of the top ten firms with demand pull. It’s been a perfect storm. The last vintage of funds that have made any money for investors was 1998. That is not an asset class. Part of the problem is that it has become tougher and tougher to get companies public.

Arrington: Going public now takes ten years.

Quattrone: The bar has been set higher to go public.

For the VC market to produce above average returns you need there to be an IPO market. In the 1990s the venture community would get 50/50 liquidity from IPO and M&A. The IPO deals have the long tail, if you hold onto the stock they have a ride. If you lose those longtail returns you lose a lot of the returns.

Arringtone: John Doerr sees the third wave of disruption. The PC was the first, The internet was the second, and right now we are in the start. of third wave. He talks about mobile, social, and changes in commerce. Do you agree?

Quattrone: We do ride phases in this sector. A lot is happening at the convergence of mobile, social, local, and realtime. I first got Twitter when my daughter was in New Zealand and they had an earthquake. I entered the town and there were twelve posts. Twitter and people dealing with this realtime world have a huge advantage over the status quo.

Arrington: What is your Twitter account?

Quattrone: @Frankquattrone.

Arrington: What needs to happen for that to change, to get more IPOs?

Quattrone: I think the IPO market has been savaged by two different downturns. IPOs are more risky than average investments so when stocks are down, IPOs are down more. In my heydey at Morgan Stanley, when we were the leader, 80% of the deals were Robertson Stephens and other boutiques. The companies need to trust the boutiques.

The other thing is that mutual funds have grown by 200X over the last 30 or 40 years. A $1B mutual fund that is now managing a trillion dollars doesn’t care about an IPO.

There are probably 40 to 45 IPOs on file. They are not the category-defining, earthshaking companies the market wants to see. The market wants to see Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, LinkedIn, Skype. They want to see the companies that are changing the way we live.

Arrington: Twitter and Facebook and Zynga are changing the culture of the world. Does one of them have to go public first? Who is the standard bearer this time?

Quattrone: It could be any of them.

Arrington: Facebook could be, LInkedIn could be, Zynga could be?

Quattrone: Sure, Zynga is a whole new way to do social gaming.

Arrington: Yuri Milner said Facebook is an accelerator on top of the Internet. Have you ever played a Zynga game

Quattrone: I personally am not much of a gamer.

Arrington: What is the most secret thing you know?

Q: I hear Yahoo is preparing a hostile takeover for TechCrunch

A: The personal chemistry between me and the CEO is what sealed the deal. How is Carol doing?

Quattrone: I think she has done a great job. I harken back to when IBM lost its way and Lou Gerstner came in. Everyone bugged him about his strategy. Unless you got the fundamentals right . . .

Arrington: . . . plugging the holes in the dam

Q: yes, she knows

Do you think Facebook is a competitive threat to Google over the next ten years

Quattrone: Potentially, yeah. Look at how much time people are spending on Facebook. I think it was important that Zynga recently renewed that deal. Because developers are asking where can I make money?

Arrington: If Facebook were public, how big would it’s market cap be?

Quattrone: 18 Gazillion dollars. I have no idea, I don’t know what their revenues are.

Arrington: I bet you do know.


Twitter’s First Victim? Ad Network FeaturedUsers.com Puts Itself Up For Sale

Well, this is interesting. As you probably know, Twitter yesterday made some changes to its Terms & Conditions, effectively banning third parties from inserting paid tweets into users’ timelines.

Further digging by Silicon Alley Insider and MediaMemo revealed that in addition, Twitter appears to also plan to start charging publishers and developers a cut of advertising revenue “where Twitter content is the basis (in whole or in part) of the advertising sale.”

If you’re interested in more details, Search Engine Land published a solid FAQ.

Hunch co-founder and investor Chris Dixon responded to the news (on Twitter, somewhat ironically) as follows:

Twitter is like a drunk guy with an uzi killing partners left and right. Expect investment in ecosystem to drop significantly.

Well it looks like the identity of the drunk guy’s very first victim is known: Twitter banner ad network Featured Users has apparently already put itself up for sale on Flippa.

There’s a chance that this is coincidental – the seller evidently doesn’t mention any of the above – but the timing suggests there’s a relation to yesterday’s announcements.

Featured Users, in a nutshell, is an ad network where Twitter users advertise their Twitter profiles on third-party Twitter applications and websites in order to gain exposure and ultimately, more followers. Developers and publishers can sign up and integrate ads into their website by including a simple line of JavaScript. Revenue is then split between the Featured Users ad network and the Twitter apps that serve the ads.

Whether Featured Users adheres to Twitter’s new T&C or not is not crystal clear, but even it does, it’s a dog. The service was only bringing in about $800 in net profits on a monthly basis, so you can imagine how interesting the business looks now that Twitter appears to be demanding publishers and developers for a cut of advertising revenue.

Unsurprisingly, there are no bids for FeaturedUsers.com yet.