March 16, 2012

March New Tech Meet Up

At tonight's NewTech Meetup in the MapQuest Denver office we had 5 very good presentations from up and coming companies in the Front Range area.

According to Jodie Barr, president of OrderStorm, 20% of the entire web is created with WordPress. Her company offers an e-commerce plugin for WordPress sites.  The cost ranges from a free basic option to premium paid products, based on inventory size. The product offers easy editing on the client's own site and good SEO, with valid URLs pointing to every product. Launched last October, they've had 4,600 downloads, and are hoping to raise $600K at the upcoming Angel Capital Summit.

Rebecca Woulfe presented mClk. This is a website that offers to replace the current clickers used in large class rooms or conferences. A teacher can setup multiple choice questions and give students a number to SMS their answers to. mClk tabulates the incoming messages and tracks the phone numbers. There are 10 universities that have already adopted this system. Looking for $250K in Angel funding. Money comes in through licensed seats.

This presentation was the most forward-looking and mathematically interesting, but with phrases like 'a paradigm shift in computer science' and 'modeling all aspects of the world', it's hard not to be weary. Freshman CEO Xander Page presented his vision of the SlipStream, a kind of decision-making iCloud, that can unify all of a user's devices and digital files into one meta computer that is smart enough to troubleshoot all connectivity and storage problems, all on a distributed system with no central servers.

The language behind SlipStream is Proteus, an open source modeling language developed by Bruce Long. Proteus, and other reactive model based languages, are used to describe things like buildings, highways, intelligent networks of robots, autonomous cars, and space exploring robots. All these types of things need to be able to reconfigure their own hardware as a response to internal failures or environmental changes. The model based language gives them autonomy to take actions that were not explicitly programmed ahead of time.

More interesting reading: Model-Based Programming of Intelligent Embedded Systems and Robotic Space Explorers

Shashank Shekhar started out quoting Mark Murphy, saying that "46% of new hires fail within 18 months, and 89% of the times its for attitudinal reasons." His company, Antezen, is like a mix between e-Harmony and LinkedIn. As a member, you get to be friends with other co-workers, and you answer a series of questions about all your connections. As an employer looking for talent, Antezen helps you by computing an attitude match between you and potential employees, favoring recent connections, and positive reviews.  Launched last month.  When a hire is completed, revenue comes to Antezen as a percentage of the annual salary.

With Denver's airport 30 miles outside the city, and no convenient way to get there, RideORama matches people who need rides to the airport with cars going there. Casey George showed a live demo of their site where you can setup a trip and find people going your way, send messages, see how much they charge, send them money if they approve picking you up. Revenue comes from charging 20% of the ride fare. Kudos to them for being the only company tonight that had a good looking website. They launch this weekend!