One of my favorite features of the Web 2.0 Summit is Launch Pad where a few hand-selected startups are allowed to launch / present themselves to audience. Last year, the organization was a little dubious (John Battelle described it as a “goat rodeo”) so this year they took a more organized approach allowing only six finalists to present in pretty tight time windows.
The voting was originally supposed to be done using Mozes, a text messaging platform run by a fellow I recently met, named Dorrian Porter. But — believe it or not — they actually manage to hold the Web 2.0 Summit in a dungeon of a room whose thick walls block all cellphone coverage, so instead of using Mozes, we used audience noise-making for the voting instead.
The six finalists invited to present were:
The audience vote awarded best-in-show to Cleverset, a personalization company. My personal favorite was Spiceworks, a “free,” ad-supported application targeted at IT in small and medium businesses. The company says that half of all IT spending is done by small and medium companies, the challenges these jack-of-all-trades IT managers face are significant, and while they typically don’t have much staff, they do influence quite a bit of purchasing and should be both an attractive and otherwise hard-to-reach target for advertisers.
The service I’m most likely to try personally is Tripit. While I don’t know if I’d invest in Tripit, I do think its a useful little app that helps you integrate your travel agenda.