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Start-ups at Supernova 2006

Start-ups at Supernova 2006

The panel discussions at the Supernova 2006 conference are interesting and all, but I'm here for the start-ups. Twelve companies did presentations at the end of the conference day on Thursday. Here's the rundown:

Attensa. An RSS reader for Outlook. Competes with NewsGator. More of a business-class RSS product than the browser-based readers. Keeps your subscriptions synchronized between Outlook, your mobile device, and the Web.

Ether. A network that connects people who do phone consulting with the people who want to pay them. See earlier blog post.

LifeIO. This is a hugely ambitious project to build a personal information manager that knows what you do, what you like, where you're going, and so on and recommends events, media, and other items to you. Heavily dependent on making sense of the items you enter into your calendar and to-do list. Should be available in September.

NetVibes. A popular RSS-based customizable portal page, in some ways better than My Yahoo.

PostApp. Still in closed beta, PostApp is a clearinghouse for widgets, small functional blocks of code that people can put into their sites or blogs. TypePad has made some headway with a similar concept, and hundreds of sites make MySpace widgets. A bigger, general-purpose widget marketplace is a good idea.

GearOn. A cell phone application targeted at young people (aren't they all?). Underneath a nice-looking, people-centric interface, it offers chat, photo sharing, and other social functions. Will be available as a download, but really needs a contract with a cellular carrier to get traction.

SharpCast. Very slick tool that synchronizes media between your PCs, mobile devices, and the Web. I covered it last month in a blog post and also in a column this week, where I compare it to Phanfare.

SoonR. Lets you access your files from your cell phone. Also lets you use your PC-based Skype account from your mobile. Very handy. See previous item.

StumbleUpon. A browser extension that takes you to sites you'll probably like. My favorite time-waster. A rich toolkit for video bloggers. Yes, another one. CEO Rodrigo Sepulveda Schultz admitted to me earlier that there are 217 competitors in this space. He may have made that number up. But it's plausible. See also from Tuesday.

Webaroo. Offline search! How do they do it? Caching indexes on your local device. Limited to "Web packs" of info that you update when you are online; then you can search them when you're not. Web packs include World News, Wikipedia, and local (city) packs. Depends on a continued growth of cheap storage (a safe bet) and also the stagnation of wireless growth (not safe).

Zixxo. Online coupon service. A crowded market, but this service is more small-business-friendly than most others. See blog from earlier today.