Archive for the 'startups' Category

Kaitlin Pike

This year for the first time at Web 2.0 Expo SF, we’re hosting Startup Showcase. It was a huge hit at Expo NY 2010 (here’s the video of part of it), and we expect it to explode in SF. Highlighting the startup ecosystem’s creativity and variety, the Showcase gives you a chance to get in front of hundreds of potential users and a couple of high-profile investors. On Tuesday night, March 29th, we’re going to have 30 startups demoing in one large room. We’ll provide you with a small table and two passes to get into the show—you’ll bring a laptop (or two) and a founder (or two).

Expo attendees will have 60 minutes to see your demos. As they walk around, attendees will vote on their favorite demos. At the end of the hour, Tim O’Reilly and Ann Winblad will announce their top four picks and the audience favorite. These five startups will each give a one-minute pitch to the audience and will have a short time onstage to get feedback from Tim and Ann.

How do you qualify? We’re looking for:

  • Relatively young startups that aren’t drowning in investment (yet)
  • Companies in all technology areas: hardware, software, B2B, B2C, mobile (just to name the most obvious categories)

If selected:

  • You’ll supply your own laptop for the demos (we won’t provide power, so we recommend bringing two laptops)
  • You’ll bring a maximum of two people (at least one of whom must be a founder or C-level equivalent; ideally, one of them would also be a woman)
  • The week prior to the event, you’ll supply us with a presentation of 2-4 slides that includes screenshots for your onstage pitch in case you are selected by Tim and Ann

If you’re among the five winners, you’ll give a one-minute pitch onstage and get direct feedback from Tim and Ann.

Apply Now.

Kaitlin Pike

It hurts to think about it, but if you run a startup, you’re likely surrounded by failure. Problems with design, scaling, customer service, team development, money, and competition can be your closest companions.

Do you turn off your servers and go home when this happens? Or do you throw on your work boots/work hat/whatever fashion accessory that says “I’m a winner, and winners don’t quit,” and then maybe watch the opening scene from Patton again?

If you’re the latter, you should check out our workshop How to Fail for Success: The Five Key Startup Mistakes. Run by Cass Phillipps, the creator and executive producer of the day-long FailCon, this three-hour workshop will bring together three influential members of the startup community to speak openly about their own mistakes, what they learned, and how they recovered. Because it’s a workshop, the session will also include round-table discussions and opportunities for Q&A.

cassCass recently spoke with us about her workshop, FailCon, and how startups can learn from failure. Read on to learn more.

Kaitlin: Your three-hour workshop is based on your full day event, FailCon. Can you give me some background as to why you started this conference?

Cass: I’d worked on a half dozen conferences before FailCon, and attended even more.  I noticed that speakers tended to talk about what was going well for them, about what worked in their process.  And that is fine, but something that I personally didn’t learn as well from.  It’s really hard to emulate success; there is a lot of luck and happenstance involved.  I wanted to hear more about what these successful founders, investors, and influencers had done wrong, so I could make sure to avoid that.  So I decided to put together FailCon, a full-day conference focused on stories about just that.

Kaitlin: You usually get a full day of FailCon; how are you packing all this content in three hours? Are you just going to slip caffeine pills to your fellow speakers and talk fast, or are you tightening your focus?

Cass: I’m definitely tightening the focus.  The full-day of FailCon discusses a variety of aspects of entrepreneurship from a variety of stages of development.  For the workshop, I am focusing on the most common mistakes early-stage founders make, and featuring one speaker for each.  Most likely this will be Idea Development & Testing, Team Development, and early UX/UI.  The workshop will also include small round-table talks to give every participant a chance to connect with one of the speakers or mentors and share their struggles with one another.  But those caffeine pills are definitely not a bad idea…

Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

Slowly but certain as death and taxes we’re losing the phrase “In Real Life.” Our online and offline social networks have smoothly blended into an almost distinguishable pattern, and many chores nowadays can be done better digitally. Does anyone keep a physical copy of the Yellow Pages today? When you want to reserve a table, do you call or use OpenTable? How many of your heart-to-heart chats happen via Facebook, gchat or Skype?

Peer sharing businesses such as RelayRides, AirBnB and NeighborGoods have pushed this concept even further by allowing people to offer physical objects and locations via online agreements. Sign up for one of these sites and you’ll have access to a ride, bedroom, or one of your neighbors’ ladders in no time.

micki-krimmel1Micki Krimmel, founder of NeighborGoods and a Web 2.0 Expo speaker, says this trend not only makes life easier (and less expensive), but has the added benefit of building stronger “IRL” communities. In the case of NeighborGoods, people in the same neighborhood can share items they’re not currently using, which results in increased trust among neighbors and saved money all around.

Micki recently spoke with us about her upcoming talk at Web 2.0 Expo, Building Trust Online, Sharing Stuff Offline.

You can listen to the full audio interview here:

In the interview we discussed

  • NeighborGoods’ success so far: $3 million worth of items being shared, more than 20% of its community is active, 98% of transactions have a 100% rating
  • The surprising demographics of who’s sharing
  • Does sharing online lead to increased sharing offline?
  • Why NeighborGoods and other sharing sites work on the assumption that people are good
  • How to rebuild our relationships with our neighbors
  • As the economy recovers, will sharing sites decrease in popularity?


Kaitlin Pike is the Web 2.0 Expo community manager. She can be reached @w2e or @kcpike. To see Micki speak, register for Web 2.0 Expo SF now with  discount code websf11bl20 to save 20%.

Kaitlin Pike

Web 2.0 Expo speaker and serial entrepreneur Hjalmar Gislason today launched an international version of previously Iceland only This means users can now use the service to find, visualize and access data from around the world, including organizations such as the World Bank, UN, Eurostat, and Gapminder.

Quick summary of what they offer: DataMarketing has “15,000 data sets from over 40 providers holding tens of millions of time series of statistics ranging from World population and temperature anomalies to the yield of oranges in Cyprus – to name an example,” Hjalmar said.

HjalmarThis spring at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco, Hjalmar will speak on “The Business of Open Data,” and how businesses can make money by connecting people more easily with Open Data. Previously, he said, the only opportunities businesses saw in Open Data was to provide the public sector with products and services to open up their data.

“This is all good and well, but the real value in Open Data lies in helping people discover all the available data, see its potential and realize how they can make use of it to run their businesses better, make better decisions and identify new opportunities.

“I think that business models that use Open Data today can largely be divided in two categories: Suppliers to government Open Data initiatives and specialized applications that use Open Data to provide highly relevant services to niche audiences. There are great companies, already creating a lot of value in both categories. My favorite examples are Socrata on the supplier end and EveryBlock on the niche audiences side.”

Hjalmar recently spoke to us on his upcoming session and the launch of, the interview of which you can read below. To see him in person, register for Web 2.0 Expo with discount code websf11bl20 and save 20%.

Q&A with Hjalmar Gislason of

Kaitlin: Businesses already use all sorts of data in marketing and business decisions. What is your elevator pitch to someone new to Open Data and how it differs from what we had in the past?

Hjalmar: Most businesses have realized how important good data is to their decisions and planning, and many have gone to great lengths to measure key performance indicators, set up business intelligence systems and thereby be able to make really data driven decisions. What has surprised me is that in most cases, this thinking is limited to internal data; data about sales, customer churn, web traffic, call center activity, employee satisfaction and so on. The fact of the matter is that external data is no less important to a business’ success. You could run a company perfectly based on all the internal indicators and still go belly up because you didn’t account for some externalities. Continue Reading »

This has been cross-posted from the Web 2.0 Summit blog.

Think you’ve got  your company’s elevator pitch nailed down to perfection? Well, let the experts be the judge!

Pitch Web 2.0 Summit your company via Twitter using hashtag #w2sON and be one of eight lucky startups selected to join the Innovators Luncheon, held on-site at the Palace Hotel, a kick-off to Day 1 of this year’s conference.

The Innovators Luncheon is an opportunity for early stage creative startups to present their elevator pitch in person to a panel of established and respected Venture Capitalists; and a gathering of industry decision makers that is comprised of Web 2.0 Summit attendees.

We’re looking for consumer-oriented web or mobile startups with a dedication to peer-to-peer communication, building online communities and if the company proves successful, will likely have a positive social impact.

Startups should be for-profit, and pitches can be up to five minutes. No demos, but interactive media will be allowed.

How To Submit:

Using Twitter hashtag #w2sON pitch us your company for consideration! We’re happy to get links to blog posts or videos about your startup. Tell us why you should be selected to join this very special community lunch, hosted by Omidyar Network and held on-site at Web 2.0 Summit.

Submissions deadline: 9am ET on Tuesday, Nov. 9

And be sure to join the industry conversation on the Points of Control interactive map. If you don’t see your company listed, add it!

Wendy Lea has worked as a bootstrap entrepreneur, corporate executive, and angel investor over the last 25 years. She recently joined as CEO. She shares her advice about when to admit that you don’t understand, raising capital, and how female leaders can authentically manage effectively.

More interviews from Women 2.0 are available on our podcast page.

Community partner of Web 2.0 Expo, Women 2.0 is committed to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs starting high growth ventures by providing the resources, network, and knowledge for the launch and growth of their company.

Suzanne Axtell

Christine Herron is a principal with First Round Capital, a seed-stage venture capital firm focusing on innovative technology companies. Prior to joining First Round, Christine was a director at Omidyar Network, VP for Mission Research, and the founder and CEO of Mercury2. Christine holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA in English from Columbia University. She was ranked one of the Top 20 Women in Technology in 2000 by AltaVista.

We’re very glad to have Christine leading a workshop, VCTips: An Inside Look at Growth and Fundraising Strategy, at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon, March 31.

What would you like attendees get out of your Web 2.0 Expo presentation?
I’d like the attendees at our VCTips workshop to walk away with not only some practical tools for managing the fundraising process, but also with a good understanding of venture capital and the motivations that are driving the conversation from the VC’s side of the table.

The economy is still in a slump. Are you seeing any Web 2.0 or other tech trends bubbling up, particularly in response to where we are in the financial cycle?
We’re seeing that many more companies incorporate business model development into their startup plans from Day One. Even if the business model isn’t fully baked, the entrepreneurs have developed a compelling story of how they’ll test and refine their options in order to get the model nailed down and proven before it’s time to raise Series A funding. This is a significant change resulting from the economy’s impact on the funding community.

As far as specific Web 2.0 trends, folks are adopting their consumer behaviors to their work. I’m seeing large numbers of startups with services for independent contractors and small business, and the services that touch the enterprise have started introducing subscription-based sales models. There is also a fascinating wave of innovation happening around the cloud computing ecosystem.

Do you have any advice for companies looking to gain an edge, or just stay afloat, in the downturn?
Don’t take too long to make decisions. Be fully aware of how many days of cash runway you have in the bank. Put a countdown timer on the wall and race against it to prove your business hypothesis. If what you’re doing isn’t going to help prove out the hypothesis, then perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it.

Any predictions about how the economy will (or won’t) shake out in the coming year?
If I knew, I wouldn’t tell anyone.

How do you think the new political administration will affect the tech industry?
The new political administration is actually *aware* of the tech industry. I believe this will have primarily positive effects as doors become opened, but we should also be aware of the potential downside as previously-ignored issues such as privacy or data ownership to become subject to regulation. Increased government awareness of an industry can easily morph into increased oversight.

What new technologies interest you these days?
Cloud computing, virtualization technologies, and new data architectures are all compelling shiny objects.

Any people you know of who are working on interesting but under-the-radar projects?
Definitely, but I can’t speak about them since those folks are trying to *stay* under the radar. The best way to assure that you hear about interesting projects is to be good at maintaining confidences.

Where and how do you get your news and other information?
Surprisingly, my leading source of news has become Twitter. I follow some incredibly smart and diligent people, and I take full advantage of their tweeting and retweeting news and links in real time. If Twitter is down, I check news feeds such as AP and Reuters through My Yahoo!. I check out the blogosphere separately, using NetVibes.

Do you have favorite communication tools? What makes them work for you?
Email and Twitter on my MacBook Pro. Given the need to weave constant communications and other multitasking through my daily work, I need to take advantage of a full keyboard. Not to mention that asynchronous mechanisms work best on days riddled with meetings.

What was your early career goal? When you were in college, did you think you’d end up doing what you’re doing now?
When I was in college, I thought I’d be a reconstructive surgeon. Somehow this has evolved into becoming a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and sporadic creative. I’ve always been driven by curiosity and a need to Make.

Who are the people who have influenced you and why?
The first few influencers that come to mind are my mother Josie Herron, my dance teacher and choreographer Carol Abizaid, and my first manager, investor Steve Clearman. Mom was fierce and tireless when she became a single mom – she never gave up or put herself in a position where she couldn’t take care of herself and us. You make your own luck. Carol Abizaid was able to teach me and extend my talent in ways that I didn’t think were possible. There’s a key to turn every lock, and you just have to work to find the right one for each person, for each problem. And Steve Clearman? He cuts to the chase in every situation, without editing for political correctness, and I always had the benefit of his blunt feedback. You can be direct without being judgmental. The lessons from these people are with me every day.

You’re involved with a number of non-profits. How did those relationships come about and what do they mean to you?
After I had to wind down my startup in 2001, I spent some time getting to know the emerging arts community in the Bay Area. This included bartering business services (identity development, marketing, business strategy, web site design) on Craigslist in exchange for art. If you’ve never traded services before, it’s an eye-opening exercise in how to assess the value you can bring to someone else. Though I no longer have the time for a barter practice, I’m still very engaged with the local arts community and the people that support it. It keeps me grounded in the wide world that spins outside of our tech community blinders.

I was debating on what personal laptop to get and since I was traveling so much my requirements were small, portable and light. The Netbooks were the perfect answer but I thought they all ran on Linux and I had not yet gone that geek (yet).

During Web 2.0 Expo Europe I was sitting in the greenroom with ex-Netvibes CEO Tariq Krim before his keynote. I complimented his perfectly small, lightweight, inexpensive laptop is laptop which had this great-looking desktop. It was a version of his new project, Jolicloud, a new linux-based OS that was clean, simple and made for Netbooks.


Here’s a sneak peak at what the interface looks like. More to come and larger images can be seen on the Jolicloud Flickr page.

For those of you who are interested in hearing Tariq speak about entrepreneurship, watch this 10-min video clip of his Web 2.0 Expo Europe keynote.

Calling all interested Startups!

Here are opportunities to showcase your company, mingle with your peers and learn from experts.

Submit your company for Launch Pad at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco for a 5-min demo opportunity on the main stage. Launch Pad is like American Idol for startups – get real time feedback from expert judges and the audience. A ‘People’s Choice Winner’ will be announced using a real-time SMS system and winners get featured in our Launch Pad press release. All main stage programs are recorded and shared via our network.

Startups do not have to be looking for funding we do expect you to share a new and exciting product, service or company launch.

DEADLINE: Submissions via this form must be in before Tuesday, February 17.

Launch Pad will take place on Thursday, April 2 from 1:15 – 2:15pm in the Keynote room of Moscone West. Startups who are not selected to present will be eligible for a 30% discount on conference packages.


PITCH 2009: Napkin startup competition for early stage ventures

Do you have the world’s next big idea? Here’s your chance to PITCH. Women 2.0′s third-annual Startup Competition will provide your alpha, beta, or prototype-stage startup with exposure to early stage investors. The judging panel includes investors and experienced startup executives who will provide valuable written feedback on your business.

HUNDREDS of submissions will receive valuable feedback from the judging panel of investors and experienced startup executives. FIVE startups will be chosen to pitch live on Pitch Night: May 7th, 2009. ONE winning startup gets a meeting with legendary investor Michael Moritz from Sequoia Capital in addition to free office space, legal services, marketing support, PR support, and more – everything you need to win with your new idea.

How to submit: See details on the PITCH 2009 web page for details on the 3-step submissions process.

Submissions deadline: April 10, 2009 (firm deadline)

At least ONE of the founding members needs to be female to qualify. Submissions are accepted GLOBALLY but if selected finalists must be present on May 7th in San Francisco.


Showcase Your Company in Web 2.0 Expo’s Long Tail Pavilion

The Long Tail Pavilion at Web 2.0 Expo is a dedicated area on the Expo floor, providing an entry level, low-cost, high visibility option for startups to connect with customers and communities. If your marketing strategy relies heavily on word of mouth, this is your opportunity to meet with the entire Web 2.0 ecosystem, including press, analysts and VCs.

For more information and pricing details please see this link or reach out to Kelly Stewart via kstewart[at]


Funding & Pitching Event (London)

Wednesday February 25, 2009 6.30pm – 9.30pm

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of businesswomen setting up their own internet companies and obtaining prominent positions in the internet industry. This Funding & Pitching event will focus on the financial side of setting up and growing an online business, business models, and preparing and pitching your business for financing.

The event will offer an overview of the financial aspects of internet companies led, founded and funded by businesswomen. This will include presentations on:

  • financial data regarding female leadership in internet businesses, specifically internet entrepreneurs, executives and VCs
  • starting and growing a business, preparing for financing, and getting funding
  • what it takes for getting your story, business plan and presentation right before you go out to seeking finance
  • the various manners of financing for companies, including seed capital, VC capital, debt financing
  • pitching

And there will also be a wealth of opportunities for discussion, to put your questions to the speakers and to network and with like-minded individuals.

Click here for registration details. This event is presented by

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