Nov 5, 2008

Tech Hunch Thrifty: Web 2.0 Companies Started on a Hunch and a Prayer

Just finished my first session at the Web 2.0 Summit-- a panel session hosted by Guy Kawasaki. Nine different start-ups, each given 6 minutes to demo their product. Most of the panel members appeared to be twenty-somethings. Eight of the 9 presenters were using Macs. The central theme: the days of $2M in funding with only a business plan and no product to demo are over.

WuFoo – Kevin Hale

  • Online HTML forms builder
  • Can embed form directly into website, including CSS.
  • Can process online payments: through PayPal, Google Checkout,
  • Business model: hosted, monthly subscription fee: free - $199/month.
  • Y-Combinator seed funded: $18k + angel money $100k. Profitable. Based in Tampa, FL

Yoics - Instant networking

  • Built into various devices to network-enable them. For example, surveillance cameras.
  • Can load the yoics client onto other PC’s
  • Business model: license the technology to manufacturers.
  • Bootstrapped by 2 founders. Raise money from there.

DropBox – founder Drew

  • Share files across computers. Synchs files across computers. Files show up in a folder, using standard file management. Files are synched across network.
  • Can easily “export” files by dropping them into the dropbox folder.
  • Files also available over web. Files are automatically versioned. Can restore to previous versions of files or undeleting.
  • 9 person start-up: Windows, Linux, Mac.
  • 2 gigabytes free. 50 gig: $20/month or $100/year.
  • Developed prototype in 4 months (while working at another start-up). $15k in Y Combinator + $5k loan for 9 months total.

Disqus – Jason

  • Management system for blog comments.
  • Central place to track all my comments on web sites. Can also follow comments from other disqus users.
  • As a publisher, can manage/moderate/view comments from all websites.
  • Supports blog platforms, but needs a plug-in that you drop into
  • Biz model: subscription model. Also looking at going to bigger publishers.
  • Financing: Y Combinator funded 1 year ago: $15k in summer 2007.

Mighty Quiz - Kelly Bennet

  • Trivia site – you can make your own quizzes.
  • Can plug into blogs or social networks.
  • People can create questions. Other people can rate questions (thumbs up/down)
  • Authors can write questions. Can add questions to categories. Automatically pulls in images from Yahoo images.
  • Portable, available as a widget.
  • Cyworld (social network) imports Mighty Quiz widget.
  • Y-Combinator funded: $10k. Raised few hundred $100’s K. Based in San Francisco.

SlideShare – Rashmi Sinha (CEO)

  • Share power point presentations online.
  • Space on the web to upload and share presentations.
  • Presentations converted to YouTube-like video format. Users can comment on presentations.
  • Typical use case: people upload a presentation, then link to their website/blog.
  • “Meet Henry” presentation: a preso format for advertisements. Has created a category
  • Can also synch presos with audio. (mp3 file or podcast) to create a slidecast.
  • Traffic: 9M unique visitors last month. SlideShare avail on LinkedIn. Some traffic from organic search.
  • 2000 presos uploaded / day (not counting LinkedIn)
  • Funding: $0 funding. Built prototype while working at other companies. Launched, written by TechCrunch. Revenue from other funding. 2 years into company, secured angel funding then Series A.

Posterous – Garry Tan (co-founder)

  • Blogging by e-mail. No sign-up required.
  • Blog directly from e-mail account.
  • Automatically expands links into pictures/video widget.
  • Zip files automatically expanded into a JavaScript picture viewer.
  • Use it as a way to share pictures and videos with family.
  • Raised $50k from Y-Combinator from Boston session. Launched in the summer.
  • Biz model: premium services.

Rescue Time – Tony

  • Time management software
  • Measures which software and websites you’re using. Provides aggregated stats to manager. Lets people know how they compare to their average team member.
  • Tracks apps (Word, Excel) and individual web sites (active use).
  • Can also block different websites
  • Lets managers get data by dept, group, etc.

Poll Everywhere - Jeff Dunap

  • Text participation during presentations.
  • Realtime participation by people sending SMS messages.
  • $0.30/participant/month for size of 100’s of people
  • For 250 person audience, costs $65/month. Monthly charge =
  • Financing: $9k (self-funded), $20k (Y-Comb), cash flow positive, based in Chicago & Boston.


rthyerh said...

Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed reading the info on each of the start-ups.

Ryo said...

thanks for the mention.

Ryo (Yoics)

Jeff Vyduna said...

Hi Vinay - Thanks for writing about Poll Everywhere!