We just got back from the 3rd social networking group Twiistup, held at the Air Conditioned Club in Venice, Los Angeles. Twiistup is a for technology focused networking group that lets startups, web 2.0 companies and tech firms mingle and display their businesses. It was a very fun event, and I made some good connections and talked to many dedicated and passionate business owners.
We don’t have the luxury of the Silicon Valley uber networking community like Tech Crunch 40, but this kind of event makes up for it. Heavy on the social, with lots of entertainment, including an appearance by Perez Hilton who gave away a copy of the video game Rock Band (which no one seemed to have heard about)
Here are some of the web companies i talked with. If I missed you please
magentocommerce.com open source shopping cart software. I have to say this looks like an order of magnitude better than oscommerce.com and will be the php cart to beat once it is out of beta.
Speeddate.com – I met Dan the CEO who said he started Speed Date right after graduating from Stanford University. He wanted to escape the real world and create a tech startup Silicon Valley style. Online dating is definitely a good niche to enter and the combination of instant video chat in a safe environment should be a winner. No current monetization on this site, kudos to them for having a no ad site.
Thembid.com – Elmer is the owner of Them Bid and he is very animated when talking about his company. It’s clear he loves what he does and is very involved in social media, including being a figg top 100 user! Elmer described his business as Craigslist.org meets ebay.com on priceline.com where you list products and services for free and people bid on them. Want to sell your 1980 toyota? List it and let people name their price for your car. This should work well once the site has significant traffic. I created my profile and love the free directory listing (to activate this you must select your business category in the profile section)
RubiconProject.com – There was a swarm of people around this booth all night so it was hard to talk to the founders but this statup company has huge momentum and is getting a lot of attention in the online publishing world. This web service uses algorithms to automatically optimize ad serving to website visitors. From their site “First, our system gets the ad impression from the publisher, analyzes it and then selects ad networks based on their strengths. Then, the ad impression is redirected to your system to serve the ad to the visitor. So, nothing changes, it’s just like working with any other publisher.”
toolstolife.com is an online coaching service by Devlyn Steele. I’m usually not a fan of online self help services, but this one is well done, free and has no advertising. I asked Delvyn how he could devote so many resources to a free service and he said it’s his passion to help people. Hard to argue with that, I’m signing up to test it out.
One thing that struck me is that none of these web companies I talked with had advertising. They only spent money and didn’t make any. I sincerely hope this pays off for them because these seem like great companies and all have something positive to offer the world.