I attended my second web innovator’s group meeting held last night at the Royal Sonnesta hotel in Cambridge. The event is hosted once every two months by David Beisel, who now works at Venrock (VC firm) in Cambridge. There were maybe about 150 people in attendance – felt like the crowd was a little smaller than the last time (blame it on the Sox – Yankees game?)
The things I like the most about the event are
- Getting to see some latest products/technologies companies are working on
- The networking – you get to meet some great minds to talk about what is going on in the tech world.
- The format of the event.
There are two main presentations called “main dishes” (I think they are 2 minutes each with 2 questions at the end) and there are about six “side dishes” – six startup companies that have booths around the perimeter of the room to show off their products to attendees. This time the side dishes got a 30 sec slot to pitch their product on the main stage. I think this was a welcome change so that the side dishes also get on the main stage even if it is 30 sec (hey, helps you polish on the elevator pitch).
The main dishes this time were:
- Geezeo – They demoed their personal finance mobile application. Basically you get to set up all your bank accounts and credit card numbers in one account with Geezeo and then be able to check your balances and available credit from your mobile phone. According to Shawn Ward, their co-founder, the pain point they are trying to solve is the customer not running up overdraft fees because they overdrew from their bank account or because they went past their credit limit. Apparently, the banks and credit card companies made $53 billion in overdraft fees last year alone. They work with CashEdge, a leading company that deals with financial transactions and authentication services for banks [My thoughts – Interesting idea, but will I be comfortable in having all my accounts in one place? – this fear of security would probably be the biggest hurdle Geezeo will have to cross to convince the public that this is safe. Thanks to TJ Maxx, the consumer confidence in terms of stolen credit card numbers has hit another low. I need to look more into their model to see how it works, what it stores in their database etc.]
- DNSstuff.com – Now this was really geeky stuff which I don’t think I can clearly explain what they do, but I will try. They run about 56 tests to check for configuration problems of your DNS servers. They claimed that they have 12 million users using their services. This was a free service, but now they are going to be charging for the service. Their extensive reports seemed to be the claim to fame. [My thoughts – none. I have no idea how all of this DNS stuff works nor do I really care – I will leave that to my geeky network admins to figure out.
The side dishes were EnjoyMyMedia, VideoAdFactory, TownConnect, Youhavenotchangedonebit (now that is a short name and a URL to type in – I am not sure what they were thinking) and iMoondo. I did not get a chance to look at any of these because I was busy networking.
I felt that the event in March was more interesting than this one in terms of the products. But the networking was of course fun. I would definitely recommend this event to anyone in the tech space to attend. You get to meet some great friendly people to chat over a glass of wine or a bottle of beer.
The next event is on Monday July 9th, same place, same time (630pm).