I’m a little sceptical of tech conference launchpads – while they’re a good opportunity for start-ups to leverage the big audiences that conferences attract, in the past they’ve tended to consist principally of consumer plays that, while exciting at first blush, end up feeling like an unfortunate one night stand – a good idea at the time but not the morning after.
The Enterprise 2.0 conference, with its obvious business focus, is different and the four finalists look promising. The submission process (initial pitches in Twitter format) might seem a little “right on” – but it’s fast and efficient and forces entrants to leave out the “the opportunity for this product is huge” aspects.
The launchpad was organised by Enterprise 2.0 stalwart, and holder of the enterprise worlds favorite bad boy alter ego, Stowe Boyd.
The four finalists (and their pitches along with my five minutes analyses) are:
- Bantam – a provider of online workspaces for business teams with real-time, streaming “social CRM” to keep track of people and business. This is a no brainer – I’ve said many times in the past that winnings plays in the next year or so will seek to aggregate information from diverse places and drive efficiencies through that integration. Having said that Bantam enters a pretty busy space – there’s a bunch of similar products already available.
- youcalc – where business people create and share custom reports and analytics on data from SaaS systems with zero coding required. youcalc makes my head hurt – AaaS (Analytics as a Service) for even the most anal of number crunchers. Quite a limited market size I’d have said but eminently useful to the people to whom it’s relevant.
- Brainpark – a smart and simple software product that helps employees learn from one another and become more productive at work. Brainpark is one of those offerings that sounds good in theory, but might just prove a little too difficult to really drive benefits from – I like the concept but am not sure how well it will mold to a true business workflow.
- Manymoon – a social productivity application that makes it simple to share and organize tasks, events, documents, status, links and projects. I kind of like the idea behind Manymoon – allowing access to people, processes, tasks and documents from different applications – again however there is just a little too much overlap between it and what other services offer and so it’s yet another page to have open, with yet another data double-up to manage.
Bear in mind I haven’t spent time on any of these apps so it’s very much a face value assessment – my pick would be youcalc. A niche product rather than a “me too” offering – a good strategy in these difficult times.
You can see videos from all of the startups here.