Fifty startups launched on-stage at the TechCrunch50 conference over the last few days. Despite a few duds, most presenters had cool ideas, solid products, or both. VentureBeat writer Kim-Mai Cutler and I watched all of the presentations, and now we’ve put together a list of our five favorite companies.
These aren’t necessarily the companies that we’d invest in if we were venture capitalists, or the companies that had the best presentations. Instead, we judged them based on a combination of ambitious ideas, wanna-have-it products, and realistic business plans. These are the companies you’ll be hearing more about in the future.
1. AnyClip — A service that purports to let you find any moment from any film every made. AnyClip says it relies on movie buffs to tag and sort their favorite video clips through the ClipIt platform. Videos in AnyClips’ database have on average about 500 tags. The company plans to make money through advertising deals that will run on AnyClip, and by routing users to buy DVDs and taking a cut of the sale.
2. CitySourced — A mobile app that lets residents report problems to their local government and hold them accountable for it. To report a problem, you load CitySourced’s app to your phone and choose whether it’s trash, a graffiti issue, or something else. Then you add a description, and take a photo or tweet one to Twitter. This information is packaged with GPS location info from your phone. The company claims the app works nationwide with 1,900 cities.
3. Threadsy — A site that allows users to view their email and social networking accounts all in one place. It divides the messages into two columns — inbound (messages directed at you) and unbound (includes information not aimed at you, from your news feeds on various sites). This could means you never miss a message that was sent to a social network or account that you don’t check. Threadsy also features profiles of everyone you’re communicating with.
4. SeatGeek — A service that predicts how ticket prices will fluctuate on ticket reselling sites like StubHub, allowing users to figure out the best time to buy. The company looks at factors like weather and the record of the team (for sporting events), and says that when predicting whether prices will rise or fall, it is already 75 to 80 percent accurate.
5. CrowdFlower — A service that helps businesses find workers for menial tasks and rate them based on performance. The company’s service sits on top of crowdsourcing technology like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. What makes CrowdFlower a bit different is that it feeds back rich analytics on the tasks. If you create a task, it shows you how likely results are to be true, depending on how many people agree with the result. You can zoom in to find out why certain items have lots of disagreements. You can go back and look at what the individual users have done to see whether they’re historical trustworthy.
And here’s our coverage of the other demonstrating companies:
[Thanks to VentureBeat columnist Shannon Clark for helping with the selection process.]