Today's Web 2.0 Summit Launch Pad revealed the new trendy areas for Web-based startups: "green" data (Carbonetworks, GoodGuide, and Sungevity) and enhancing visual content (Everyscape and Qik). The audience ranked GoodGuide #1 from the presenters, but I preferred Carbonetworks because of my sneaking sense that commercial emissions management will be strongly encouraged, if not mandated, given the recent changes in political power.
See below for my snapshot reviews, roughly in order of personal preference:
Carbonetworks. The company's software platform helps business to create carbon emissions strategies - even worldwide, as needed. Companies can create an 'emissions inventory' and manage those items as assets and liabilities. The platform replaces expensive energy strategy consultants, and is a good first line of defense against changing government regulation while providing insight into potential business savings. I worry about adoption as well as the size and shape of their target custmer segment, but Carbonetworks is funded and has already started signing up paying clients.
GoodGuide provides comprehensive information on chemical composition and origin of products. It was started by a founder that researched every product in his house to see what chemicals his daughter was being exposed to. Enables consumers to have important information during the purchase process - as a result, they are now delivering this information via SMS and an iPhone application. I like the actionable presentation of data that has been largely inaccessible in the past. It represents a change in behavior for consumers, but if the green wave continues to grow, GoodGuide might be able to ride it.
Qik. Qik has had good buzz this year by enabling live video streaming from cellphones. (As a Seesmic user, I saw Qik get very popular, very quickly with online video users. I didn't test it since I wasn't a Nokia user.) Nokia has announced that Qik will be on-deck in their next device. Video streams can be shared, archived, and searched. Their hardware support now includes Blackberry handsets, so maybe I'll go back and try it again.
Sungevity provides potential solar customers with the education, price quote, and referrals they need to get the right solar energy solution for their home. I've seen a number of companies come to market with a customer interface that recommends solution and provides installer referrals. On track to make their first year's revenue target of $2.5 million. Thousands of consumers educated on how to save money with solar energy. Trying to become the go-to sales force for solar. The public may be ready for this in theory, but can Sungevity do anything to reduce what is still a very large consumer expense?
Everyscape. Amazing rendering that looks like you need Matrix-like computing power in order to present it. Trying to present the real world online. Their '2D-immersive' technology is intriguing, but the application presented didn't excite me. I think there's much more monetization potential than providing restaurants and bars with better event space marketing. (How do you think they should make money?)
Predictify hosts 'prediction challenges' such as these: Will Britney get pregant again this year? Who will be the next NCAA champion? When will the Dow next close above 10,000? The data can be used to 'predict the news' for fun (there is a game aspect) and profit (you can create a prediction markets ffrom some categories of prediction, if you can work within SEC regulations). Panorama Capital's Chris Albinson voiced my key concerns: How big can this get? Why will this stand out among the many 'prediction games' that have recently come online?