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Nov 21 2010

Meetup wrap-up: Startup Rockstars #10

The Startup Rockstars meetup on 11/17/10 featured six DC-area entrepreneurs pitching their web apps. It was hosted by the startup incubator Affinity Lab in Washington DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, and organized by the DC VA MD New Media Tech - Video - Social Web meetup group. The audience seemed to be entrepreneurs, software developers, and investors. Here are my impressions of the companies that presented:

Rock concert

1. GroupDock

GroupDock uses an iPad-like interface for business apps: the web site hosts single-purpose apps represented by icons arrayed across the screen. Users can easily add apps for functions like calendars, contacts, and documents. By building the platform, then making it easy for developers, including hobbyists, to write apps, GroupDock hopes to create a thriving ecosystem.

2. Innoengineer (beta)

The “engineer” in the name refers to classical engineering disciplines, such as mechanical and agricultural, rather than software. The idea is to help match up firms that need help, and engineers with available time, on an elance-style contract board. Firms can also put up a challenge and award a prize to someone who successfully completes it; this aspect reminded me of Innocentive, which offers prizes for solving scientific problems.

3. Soundtrckr

Soundtrckr is like Pandora where the channels are social: you and your friends can simultaneously listen to, say, a Beatles channel. You can also chat about the music. It’s location-aware, so a listener could hear what’s popular in their neighborhood, or a store could have its own soundtrack.

4. Podcast Recycler

Podcast Recycler is a white-label product that lets anyone mix existing podcasts together into thematic channels. So instead of 15 podcasts to listen to, you might have one for entrepreneurship, one for entertainment, and one for news. Stores could create such channels and put a QR code on a sign in their store that lets shoppers listen to their channel.

5. BigUniverse

BigUniverse is a children’s reading, writing, and sharing site. Kids can read over 2,500 books, many beautifully illustrated, in digital format. They can also write their own books with text and clip art or family photos for illustrations. Over 45,000 such books have been shared by their members. BigUniverse has a tiered subscription model with different price levels for homes, classrooms, and schools.

6. FreeWorldPulse

Their site Cont3nt.com is a clearinghouse for journalists to sell stories to major media outlets. Major media often can’t get crew to stories quickly enough to meet the instant news cycle facilitated by Twitter. The journalists that do get there and report the story have a hard time getting through to editors at big media companies to get their work sold. This site’s goal is to facilitate rapid connections so timely stories can be run in major media.

Law for people who can’t be bothered

Finally, Sue Wang of Clarity Law Group gave her presentation on law for startups, “Law for people who can’t be bothered” (available online). I first saw it at Startup Weekend and it’s a great introduction to business law for entrepreneurs!

Image credit: Rock concert: Flickr user Delgoff.

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