The annual Demo conference, where startups vie for the attention of VCs and established technology firms with fat wallets and a yen to buy something, is once again a reflection of what's hot in the high-tech industry.
Access to and the sharing of information is this year's theme with companies demonstrating tools for team collaboration, tracking online information, information filtering, and a technology that is harder to explain than use: Turning the Web in a participatory medium for bookmarking, clipping, and discussion sharing.
Diigo is both the name of the product and the company that turns a Web site into a "participatory" site, according to Wade Ren, CEO and co-founder. "Diigo doesn't need enterprise adoption to work, but the more people who do adopt it, the better it is," says Ren.
Diigo allows users to highlight portions of a Web site and add comments, using the design concept of a sticky note or a cartoon bubble. The note is persistent, so next time the user opens the site, the note will be there. The tool is a browser plug-in that can be downloaded and placed in the IE or Firefox tool bar. While wikis like Wikipedia make sets of pages writable and editable, Diigo makes the entire Web a writable media, according to Ren.
Taking sharing one step further, if Yuugu were a restaurant, it would serve meals family style. Yuugu, Japanese for "fusion," allows users to share their screens in real time with an unlimited number of users.
Although Yuugu has been available as a client download, the big news at Demo is that the company will be launching a Web 2.0 version that allows users to share or publish screens to the Internet with the click of a button. Built around the shared screen are an IM client and a Web conferencing tool.
The Yuugu service is free, but according to Anish Kapoor, the CEO, companies who license and offer the technology will be upselling additional business services, such as audit trails for IM and screen sharing or offering personalization and rebranding of the technology. Target markets include U.S. project team managers communicating with offshore developers and cross-platform collaboration between business users on a PC and Mac users in the creative media space.
Project management meets social networking in MyQuire from Quire, a business-class social networking and collaborative service that features a central dashboard leveraging wiki technology. Quire integrates files, project milestones, calendars, and updates. It also includes a VoIP and videoconferencing platform.
Like Yuugu, the service is free -- but for only the first five projects. Quire will upsell users on additional projects to manage and for other services, such as maintaining transcripts of VoIP conversations. According to CEO David Steinberg, MyQuire is the first PM tool that integrates PM components with live meetings, bringing together voice, video, and real time screen sharing.
Startups take the forefront at Demo '07
If project management isn't on the top of your application needs list, maybe you'll want to take a look at LongJump, an online application catalog that offers SaaS services through a marketplace. LongJump provides services around sales, marketing, and finance.
More than a marketplace, it also provides the platform on which developers can build their own applications, not unlike Salesforce.com's AppExchange, says founder and CEO Pankaj Malviya.