Businesses turn to college kids for social media lessons

Last year, Sprint gave students in a marketing class at Emerson College 10 smartphones with unlimited wireless access. In return, Sprint received free marketing work for their budding 4G network in Boston from students who blogged and tweeted, and more importantly were able to record firsthand how social media could be effectively used at the company.

Sweden’s Spotify hits one million paid music subscribers

Spotify, the much-hyped music streaming company from Sweden, announced today that it has reached one million paying subscribers. Unlike most other music startups, which seek to cover the high cost of licensing music from record labels through advertising revenues, Spotify has been insistent about sticking to its freemium model, in which it gives away some services in the hopes of convincing some users to pay for more.

Nyoombl pivots from video chat to broadcasting

Nyoombl, which launched at the Spring 2010 DEMO conference, is making a pivot. Founded by Oladayo Olagunju to be the first company to offer a dead-simple solution for video conferencing on your television, the company is now moving to become a broadcasting service that will allow users to bring their conversations to the rest of the web.

DEMO: ShowUhow's video guides promise to reduce product returns

In 2007, $13.8 billion worth of products sold in the United States were returned. According to Accenture, 68 percent of these products were returned because they were not meeting customer expectations or were simply too confusing to use. ShowUhow, a startup presenting at DEMO, has developed a solution for the latter problem and has guaranteed to retailers and manufacturers that its service will decrease product returns and increase sales conversions.

DEMO: Guardly alerts your "safety network" in emergencies

A middle-aged man walking down the stairs in his apartment has a heart-attack. Alone and gasping for air, he pulls out his mobile phone and with one button is able to notify friends and family in a predefined “safety network” to receive help. This is the vision of Guardly, a startup launching at DEMO that wants to decrease the amount of time it takes for responders to arrive at an emergency.