New Media BC's, Fusion 09, Western Canada's only financing forum for digital media companies is happening right now at UBC Robson Square. Although most of the people attending are either investors or founders of companies, there are some mere mortals here interested in technology or possibly starting their own .com web idea. It's nice to see.
Stewart Butterfield, Co-Founder of Flickr, gave the keynote and kicked off the morning, while Steve Wandler, Founder of YourTechOnline.com is speaking soon as a guest speaker (I will post both of their interviews shortly).
Already 10 companies pitched and there are 10 more to go. The stage is a fairly fierce space to be display on, if you ask me. A distinguished set of judges, visiting investors and local investors are grilling the CEOs with detailed questions of revenue generation models and usability issues. This panel includes Jeff Clavier, Founder of Soft Tech VC, Bill Maris, Managing Partner of Google Ventures, Neil Martin with British Sky Broadcasting, just to name a few. The companies are broken down into four areas: games, mobile, Web 2.0/social media and new platforms and applications. I had the chance to sit in on the most recent presentation for mobile companies and here is the summary:
Aegis Mobility: Bill Stack, CEO
This mobile developer wants to stop distracted cell phone driving with their solution called DriveAssist. It is a personal assistant to manage cell phones while driving. DriveAssist automatically manages texting,calls and data use and provides a visual deterrent to using your cell phone. Sensors in the phone and a GPS verifier is what detects that someone is in their car and moving. Once you hit a threshold of speed, it notifies the cell phone network that will manage your incoming calls and messages. It gives your callers a message saying they you are driving and prompts them to either call back or it notifies you if the message is urgent so you can pull over and get the message.
Appsocial: Ian Andrew Bell, CEO
This iPhone application is a big reason why you'll want to be single in January 2010. Grabbed my attention. The dating app aimed at women called Tingle will allow online dating to feel safe and controlled. Ian says women will not feel that their privacy is compromised or get too much spam. Essentially it's dating 3.0 or interactive dating with privacy, not a glorified web site app.
Some of the features of Tingle include online profile browsing, a real time element, with live private chat over the phone, passive and active location awareness and real time event streaming and sharing. There is a pay-per-action revenue model (this got a laugh from the audience), which means depending on your choice of communication–an email, text or voice call, the costs are based on how you want to get a hold of the girl you'd like to get to know.
Cell Map: Aaron Hilton, CEO
Cell Map is putting map and directory content together for mobile phones. (They designed the map directory for Canpages.) CellTouch is their new product and it's a mobile content and promotions application. Offering real time, location based search and online management, essentially it's an app that can be launched by anyone, anytime you have something to promote. So if you have an event, you'd sign up, create your content and the event would be displayed on your mobile in 5 minutes with analytics coming back in 10 seconds. Their target market is malls, tourism and events.
Mobify: Igor Flateski, CEO
I've interviewed Igor before for Techvibes and many Vancouverites know Mobify. Mobify targets web designers and publishers so that they can remix their website for mobile customers and optimize revenu generation. From just a few minutes to a few hours to do this, web designers can make a desktop web site mobile friendly. Their IP is being protected right now. Their revenue model is three tiered ranging from free to more packaged deals.
Sound of Motion, Vlad Savchenko, CEO
A mobile application for cyclists and real time applications for sports competitions, the VeloComputer offers one mobile unit for all sports. Some of the features include audible feedback, cadence, trip tracking, mapping and navigation. The company is looking for bluetooth and low energy sensors, porting to other mobile platforms and expanding to other sports.