Web Innovation is Alive and Kickin' in Boston
I'm currently planning an informal party for my son's graduation in June. Who'd have thought that a meeting of the Web Innovator's Group could be the answer to my organizational prayers.
WebInno, as it is known for short, aims to support Boston-area entrepreneurs, visionaries and creative thinkers in Internet and mobile innovation by holding events that foster community interaction. The organization was founded by David Beisel at Masthead last year. Meeting veterans tell me that the early meetings numbered around 75 but word has spread quickly. An estimated 200 people attended last night's informal soiree.
David has created a fun format. The evening showcases three "main dish" early-stage startups. Each gets to demo and present for just five minutes. After these presentations, folks can wander around the room, where other companies are served up as "side dishes," conducting continuous informal demos and answering questions.
You can check out Steve Garfield's pix of the event here:
Main Dishes - The Steak
Which brings me to my party planning. One of the main dish companies was mypunchbowl.com, which aims to be a LinkedIn for personal party planning. Features include "save the date" mailings (with the ability to import contacts from partner Plaxo), the ability to create invites with personalized photos, RSVP and thank you functionality and a party store locator. (The company has already inked a deal with iParty.) When asked about competitor Evite, Founder Matt Douglas noted that the workflow applied to the site, along with the full-function nature of the site, were key differentiators.
GuildCafe was another entree. This one is LinkedIn for gamers. You can share your gaming history, your favorite games and best scores, and find sympatico players. (If you are one of the 20 million online gamers out there, you'll wanna check this out.)
The other main dish was Goombah, an unattractively named but attractive site for music lovers. Goombah provides personalized music recommendations on a track-by-track basis. The site suggests songs based on what users are already listening to from other member's libraries and from our collection of quality free music. They've got 6,007,638 tracks in user libraries as I write this.
Side Dishes - Some Sizzle
In addition to these presentations, five companies presented at demo stations around the room before and after the main presos:
Doodleboard is a Web-based visual collaboration tool, similar to a whiteboard online.
Geezeo is Web-based platform for users to track their finances, assess risks and explore options to enhance their finances. (Hubby are you listening?)
Mobasoft, a multimedia content system, offers integration of audio, video and dial-in comments along with MMS messages from cells and media-rich comments from email.
Spotstory brings people together to discover and share stories of often overlooked, but interesting and entertaining locations. It makes everyone a microtourist. (Note: site still under development, but blog is up. I'm looking forward to this one.)
TrustPlus is a portable reputation system that provides trust and assurance for individuals transacting and interacting anywhere online. They're building a "credit-score equivalent" for the reputation of individuals on the Internet. (OK - I'll behave on eBay this weekend.)