Once a month (or so), I get up in front of a room of drinking entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and moderate a Bay Area Stirr event. There are a lot of these social/working mixers these days. I'm also going to try to wrangle the SFBeta mixer tomorrow night. Those pitches will be in limerick. Should be fun.
But the Stirr events are really excellent. Great energy in the room. Lots of deals happening. Nice location. And good startups:
Frucall. Nasser Manesh showed us his new price comparison service for mobile phone users, which he calls "the shopping assistant in your pocket." Unlike some very cool services in development (like Scanbuy; see previous column) that let you take a cameraphone picture of a barcode and then give you pricing information on the item in question, Frucall is a voice service. You call the number, type in the barcode, and hear alternate pricing. It's not nearly as cool as being able to zap a product to get pricing info, but it's a user interface everybody understands, and it's the right technology for today. It's going into my speed dial for sure.
Kongregate, presented by Jim Greer as "the bastard child of YouTube and World of Warcraft," is a place to play Flash games. Some of them are entertaining, and some are pretty awful, but that's OK--the point of this site is that it gives developers a place to post and test their games. Advertising revenue is shared with game developers. Many of the games on Kongregate have a lot more personality than what you'll find on other Flash game sites, such as Pogo.
Krugle is "a search engine for software developers," pitched by CEO Steve Larsen. It searches not just code libraries, but articles and papers. Looks like it has some really nice features. There's a nice video demo. Larsen says his service searches for semantics, not just word matches, which is one up on Google's Code Search. The audience really dug this pitch.