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Photos: Start-ups step up at DemoFall

Twice a year at Demo events, well-funded entrepreneurs face off with venture capitalists and the press. Here's the scene.

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Rafe Needleman
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Welcome to DemoFall 2009

Twice a year, well-funded entrepreneurs face off with venture capitalists and the press at Demo events.

DemoFall 2009
is taking place Wednesday and Thursday in San Diego, where 70 companies are pitching their new products or strategies.
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No rest

Reporters and bloggers jostle for scoops and insight from the Demo ballroom. Here, CNET's Daniel Terdiman has begun writing even before the show has officially kicked off.
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Diva of Demo

Chris Shipley has been running the Demo conference for 13 years. This will be her last show; she's opting to leave it to spend more time working with start-ups at her consultancy, the Guidewire Group.
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See hear

Emo Labs showed off its edge-driven transparent speaker panels in one of the best demos of the show so far. Not much to look at, but they sound great.
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Alpha Pitch

Sarithi LocalMart kicked off the Alpha Pitch, a series of 90-second presentations from 14 of the 70 new companies at the conference. These are earlier-stage companies than the rest, which get six minutes to present. Alpha pitchers don't get to set foot on the main stage.
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Swing and a miss

Kevin McCarthy and Greg Gomer (middle and right), of consumer content company Pinyadda, are about to learn that venture capitalist Prashant Shah (left) of Hummer Winblad only invests in enterprise technology.
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The pavilion

After the stage presentations, the conference adjourns to the Demo Pavilion.
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Tight squeeze

In the Pavilion, all the companies get tiny booths--stands, really--that compel conversation between attendees and presenters.
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Reverse ATM

Point of Wealth co-founder David Prehn (left) pitches to USA Today writer Ed Baig. The POW system lets employees who are paid in cash deposit their money, pay bills, and top off pre-paid credit cards.
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Air time

Crowd-sourced navigation company Waze attached some demo phones to its booth's signage above the crowd, hoping for some fly-by visibility.
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Tagged

Each booth, and many of the Demo attendees, are labeled with a Microsoft Tag, a "bar code" that could be read by iPhones and other mobile devices.
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Better than iPhone

CallSpark's iPhone app replaces the dialer in the iPhone with a far superior system that looks up data from multiple online sources. It'll be a miracle if it gets approved by the App Store.
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Protected?

Normally I advise companies to not give out cute swag like condoms, but in the case of DateCheck, which helps you "look up before you hook up" so you can tell if the person you're hitting on in the bar is a deadbeat, it makes sense.
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The new Demo

Matt Marshall (right) is taking over the reigns of Demo from Chris Shipley.

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