Spent Monday evening over at WebInno. For whatever reason, I opted to go as Il Maggico, a pretend magician I am working on. As always, the event was a blast – not so much for the companies that are there (although they are usually pretty interesting) as for the opportunity to spend time with so many great people.
A few people have said the event has gotten too big – I don’t think so myself; in fact, on Monday there were a few people saying that it might be smaller than in the past. (I spoke w/ Dave about it and he said that July is the largest event of the year so the following one is by its nature smaller). In either event, the room was full of people I wanted to talk to (and photograph) and that was great.
The three main dish companies, on the other hand, were not so great – at least as far as I was concerned. Of the three, I think Givvy, an online portfolio-based charitable contribution management system was the most interesting. The provide a way to make and track contributions that happen both online and off. In addition, they allow for the creation of portfolios to make giving easier. These portfolios can be shared so others with similar concerns can find and contribute to causes that mattter to them.
Another interesting aspect of the company is Givvybase – an online database of 1.4 million charities that can be edited and accessed by third-parties. Their business model is to provide themselves to large organizations to help them do a better job of managing corporate giving programs. I wasn’t floored by this but it was better than what was to come.
I was familiar with Brring for their sponsorship of Podcamp in 2007 (thanks by the way) but I wasn’t sure what they actually did. (This is a common thing for me – AC Milan is my fave football team but it was only recently that I found out that Bwin is an online betting company.) Anyway, Brring provides custom ringback music. That’s right – hold on to your hats, I said CUSTOM RINGBACK MUSIC!!!
For all of you who don’t bow to the alter of cell inanity, this is the ability to have a specific song play for callers when they call you – AFTER they listen to a 5-10 second ad. Hmmmmm. Now look, I am in my 40s so maybe I don’t care about the impression my callers get while they are waiting for me to pick up – but really, does anyone? My biggest question about this was around royalties and copyright – and why anyone would care . . .
The last company was Pixily. They do online image-based document management. In concept this is cool – fully indexed images of all your documents. I remember working with what was then ScanSoft (now Nuance) on a product that did this – Pagis. It was cool but who has time to scan in thousands of pages? That was my first question for Pixily.
They had an answer! You send US the documents and we’ll scan them in . . . So the plan here is for me to send my bills, medical records, financial statements, etc. off to the either for input? Hmmm, I was pretty concerned about the whole privacy thing – but then they demonstrated how tough the envelopes were! Boy, he tried real hard to rip it but it just didn’t happen. Those envelopes were sure strong! I guess I have nothing to worry about . . .
But seriously – what they have isn’t a bad idea, but I do worry about privacy. When credit card numbers are compromised people hit the roof – but imagine if a data center that holds thousands of people’s broad personal data is hit – that would be very very ugly indeed.
So as I walked out to get some dinner with friends I was not bowled over. In fact, no one I spoke with seemed to be. I asked a number of people which of the presenting companies they’d invest in and the answer was always the same – none of them.
The next event is in December so we’ll see what’s on tap then.
[tags]WebInno19, Cambridge, tech, Givvy, Brring, Pixily, GregPC[/tags]