Vuact is a video engagement platform that increases viewer engagement by prompting them to provide easy feedback. Videos are a powerful vehicle for conveying information, but viewers have short attention spans. Vuact’s solution encourages viewers to find the best moments in videos and mark their reactions as the video plays. This increases their engagement while also giving producers a glimpse into what works and what doesn’t. Current customers include the 49ers, 360i, City of Oakland, and Mixergy, and it is also exploring opportunities in online education, enterprise truing, and live-event recordings.
AtContent helps bloggers reach new readership and control content outside of their sites. Founder Alexey Semeney said bloggers often don’t reach the full potential of their posts because they are limited to one site, which also limits distribution. Reposting often means bloggers have to deal with copyright issues, rights for content distribution, monetization, and piracy. AtContent opens up legal channels for reposting so bloggers can expand their audience and still maintain control over their work. The technology allows them to track, update, or block their content when it is reposted and interact with users who view it. So far the startup works with 3,000 connected sites.
Upshift is a car-sharing company that sets up a timeshare-like system for leased cars. Founder Ezra Goldman has a degree in urban planning from MIT and is dedicated to make urban transportation and commuting more efficient. Upshift makes it easy for groups of people to collectively lease a car and split all the costs, including insurance. Companies like Lyft and ZipCar are useful for one-off or infrequent car users, and Upshift is a more cost-effective and convenient solution for people who don’t want to buy or lease their own car but have regular driving needs. This approach reduces the costs of leasing of a car by 50 percent or more.
NoviFlow is building next-generation software-defined networking technology. Software-defined networking makes network architecture more flexible by enabling multiple networks to act as one. Massive amounts of data are generated every day, and with it comes a growing need to manage this data efficiently. Founder Dominique Jodoin said that data centers are pushing the boundaries of legacy networks and that network operates are starting to invest in solutions that can scale. NoviFlow develops Ethernet switches using network processors so it can release new versions of the switches faster than competitors. It is a $2 billion market that is attracting a lot of interest from VCs.
Audience.fm‘s founder Jules Terrien used to play in a popular music group in Paris and then started a music label. He experienced the industry as a performer and a label manager and in neither case knew who his fans were or how to reach them. Fans are fragmented across music and events sites as well as social networks. Audience.fm helps marketers target engaged fans and measure their engagement as well as send out relevant promotions. It helps musicians understand who their most passionate fans are and which markets are untapped. Terrien said this isn’t just a “music play”; it’s also about data. The engine already tracks 70,000 users, 210,00 artists, and 50 million consumer data points and is still growing.
Irisnote is a software-as-a-service provider to manage research. Founder Peter Herz said that research is broken because a large majority of scientists still use paper and routinely have to re-run experiments as a result. Irisnote provides a digital way for researchers to enter, store, add to, and share their data while protecting their intellectual property. In addition to organization, there are search and collaboration tools. Irisnote has partnered with 70 corporate, academic, and government labs including BP, Bausch & Lomb, Smuckers, NIH, CDC, Penn, and Johns Hopkins. Herz said the company already has a “monster annuity stream” and expects to double its revenue in 2013.
Empire Avenue is building an economy around the monetization of social networks. It has formed a community of “social media mavens” who have followings. Brands looking to use influential people as part of their marketing efforts can connect with them through Empire Avenue.
“Our mission is to build a global marketplace where any individual can realize value from their online reputation and network,” said CEO Duleepa Wijayawardhana. “We help brands get more eyes on their content. Your network is your most valuable asset, and everyone else is monetizing your network but you. Anyone with big social media or reach should earn a living by disseminating info through their network.”
The company is working with brands like Nokia and Intel. It applies social media analysis, reputation analysis, and gamification using virtual currency to engage users.
InWebo is a security startup that wants to solve “the password problem.” It is an identity-protection platform that makes two-factor authentication a better experience for users while still secure for providers. Founder Didier Perrot said that password management by users has become ineffective, but strong authentication creates fruition. InWebo’s solution strives to lower the friction for both.
Audiodraft is like 99designs for audio professionals. Founder Teemu Yli-Hollo said $5 billion is spent a year on custom audio in the U.S.. It is expensive and complicated to find right person to work with. There are also complicated licensing issues and a high-risk of ending up with something they did order. Audio draft is a global marketplace for custom audio. Companies describe their needs — what kind of audio they need, how much they are willing to pay, etc. The community has over 20,000 sound designers in 100 countries who do the composing, and then the company chooses best entry and has full license to use that production. The company makes money by taking commission from licensing fees and also keeps all the unchosen entries in an exclusive audio library for repurchase.
Beezy is based in Barcelona and provides a corporate Q&A service. Enterprise social networks like Yammer are commonly used to exchange information, but there is no central repository for this knowledge, so the same questions often get asked over and over. And in a large organization, people sometimes don’t know who to address their questions to.
“Content piles up while relevant knowledge gets buried,” CEO Jordi Plana said. “We extract business value from this social data to help business organizations know what they already know.”
So far the company has 15 clients in the EU and Middle East and is looking to the U.S. for expansion.
Kalibrr provides online learning and assessments to help people get jobs. Founder Paul Rivera used to work at Google and moved back to the Philippines to start an outsourced call center. He saw how difficult it was for big companies to hire entry-level people and for job applicants to identify the skills they needed to get hired. Kalibrr “reverse-engineers” job descriptions to extract what the specific required skills are and offers training for job seekers to qualify themselves. Large companies like Accenture, JP Morgan, IBM, and even startups outsource work to the Philippines, and Kalibrr wants to make the recruiting process easier in Asia.
Capy makes a cuter version of CAPTCHA, or the way websites protect themselves from spam bots. CAPTCHA’s make sure that the site visitor really is a human by prompting them to type in a letter or number sequence. Founder Mituso Okada said that there are three main problems with this approach: Humans have trouble recognizing twisted characters, typing is tedious on smartphones, and these CAPTCHAs can easily be bypassed. Capy’s solution is to provide a game-like verification that uses puzzles or icons that are customizable by image, security level, and algorithm.