By Andrea Frascione, RPRN staff writer
Plug and Play Acceleration and Collaboration Track (PACT) recently held their 2nd International seminar in Sunnyvale on May 28, 2009. The conference is directed at Silicon Valley investors looking for promising start-ups who want to make headway in the global market, as well as toward the start-ups themselves who are looking to get great exposure among the sea of many. The seminar focuses on ways for start-ups to distinguish themselves and discusses the challenges each faces in today’s increasingly competitive global market. This year’s keynote speakers were Belgian-born Bart Decrem, CEO of iPhone social platform design company Tapulous, and Chris Shipley, co-founder of Guidewire Group, an ‘emerging technologies markets’ analyst and advisory service.‘‘Stand out from the crowd: get valuable tweets on your website real-time’’ reads the tagline of Swedish-based media content start-up, Tweetag. This site promotes its customizable widgets to display tweets, tweet translation up to 20 languages at once, and even delivers bloggers Twitter portals that gather interesting twitterers all in one place for open discussion. It can even facilitate filtering in the twittosphere, so only relevant tweets find their way onto your website.
Headed-up by Whatever company, one such filtering tool on the market, recently gone public after having been on private Beta for a while, is a Twitter ‘memetracker’ called MicroPlaza.
‘‘With (MP) you can keep only the links shared by the people you follow on Twitter. This removes a lot of noise, helps you to discover new people, (…) and helps you to visualize the news filtered by the people you follow,’’ says spokesperson, Antoine Perdaens, ‘‘We work with media companies to provide filtered news content, naturally ranked by the Twitter community, by basing our selection algorithm on how many people (talk) about (it). This (creates) fresh content for mass media by using the people as a filter.’’
Saplo, founded by Mattias Tyrberg, is to Swedes what Skype is to bloggers in North America. He recently won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, boasting Saplo’s inception is a result of research in ‘automatic text analysis’ for targeting on-line advertisements more efficiently. While Tyrberg and co. did not win at Seedcamp in Silicon Valley last Fall, theirs was the only Swedish start-up to reach the finals. Despite their loss, the opportunity to meet with Internet forefathers like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, gave them the encouragement to continue on in hopes of winning the event in 2009.
Clearly, blogs are not just for social networking anymore. The advantages of using Twitter or a clone as an on-line media tool for a growing business outweigh the hesitations of some traditionally-minded CEO’s. A company can open its own profile as well as personal profiles for each of its key managing directors, allowing clients easy access to specific information (a ‘tweet’). By using blog management software, a business can introduce features that Twitter alone cannot: upload images, translate text and render long URL addresses more concise for maximizing a teeny 140-character instant message. One of the most successful blog management sites to develop as a direct result of the inception of Twitter is Ping.fm. This micro-site ingeniously allows its users to simultaneously blog on more than forty social networking websites at once, making businesses more accessible on-line.
Start-ups can also have a socially responsible edge to them, and have the general public in mind: Skymeter is not only business-minded but also eco-friendly. The service it someday aspires to provide to governments is that of virtual tolling on roads, so that the use of public roadways is monitored and billed to users according to consumption. Instead of paying for roads through taxes based on municipality and income bracket as is done now, Skymeter proposes that citizens are billed proportionately, by way of a monthly statement resembling an electrical bill. Those opting to carpool or taking public transportation use less of the road – thereby reducing their impact on the environment – would benefit. Genius!