Archive for the ‘Launch’ Category

Wiki leader Confluence finally gets hosted version

February 28, 2007

All along I had hoped that Atlassian will one day offer hosted version of Confluence, one of the best and most popular Wiki based collaboration platform. Given the fact that Google has been making aggressive moves in the hosted space with the recent Premier version release and buyout of JotSpot earlier last year, Atlassian has more than 1 reason to go online. Well today Atlassian announced that it has launched hosted version of Confluence. As expected Atlassian has not included a free plan in its offering although you are free to try out with a DEMO account for 30 days. Plans are priced from $49/month or $490/year for 15 users and go upto $449/month or $4,490/year for 500 users. Users get host of features along with the service including ability to create unlimited spaces and pages, upload files, create blogs, content and attachment search, robust ACL, and backups. Some important features that have been missed out in this release include Plugin support and LDAP integration. I am trying to get more details from the Atlassian team about the possibility of future addition of these features.

However the service is in DoA state right now. I think Atlassian didn’t plan for the rush it was going to get hit with. Once the site gets stable, I will try taking a deeper dive. As per Atlassian, only the hosted demo had issues due to application updates. The production paid version hosted on different set of servers is running fine.

Update: I finally got response from Atlassian team informing me that they do have plugin support some of the most request ones including IM Presence Plugin, Blogging RPC Plugin, Vote Macro, Google Calendar, RSVP Plugin, Excel Macro, Word macro, Chart macro, and will be adding the webdav plugin soon. Its just that they won’t allow users to be installing plugins themselves. They are also including SOAP / XML-RPC interfaces, and planning to add API access soon. Sounds great to me.

Links:
Confluence Hosted

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Thinkpassenger gets $2.5 million; More branded communities

February 26, 2007

ThinkPassenger is the latest startup to  the growing list of companies looking to provide platform establishing insightful customer and brand relationship. ThinkPassenger based out of Lost Angeles was founded in 2005 by Andrew Leary . The startup has till date raised $2.5 million in funding from Shelter Capital Partners.

ThinkPassenger offers an on-demand software platform to create private branded communities that incorporate customers as an integral part of the business process, while empowering customers through ownership of ideas. Thinkpassenger has already signed up some of the top brands to takes its product forward. This includes as Coca-Cola, ABC Television and Sara Lee. ThinkPassenger passenger product will have the typical feature set including realtime hosted sessions, polls, discussion boards, messaging, and analytics. The value addition occurring with this kind of setup is ’cause of the fact that most of the communication can be initiated by the brand manager that leads to direct interaction with the most valued customers.

Other companies operating in the branded communities domain that I have written about includes Eluma, Newsgator, Skinkers, ViTrue , and also heard of LiveJournal and Yahoo planning significant moves.

Links:
ThinkPassenger

Scouta launches personalized media; Mumspace – yet another socialnet…….

February 21, 2007


Mumspace:
Another mommy oriented social network that launched last week. Seems to be using WordPress to drive its backend. Offers ability to choose from alternative themes, adding people to your network,  creating photo albums, and more of the expected  features from a socialnet. I see tough road for the startup ahead since number of players have already entered this space last year including MomJunction, CafeMom, Maya’s Mom, Famster, and MothersClick. 


Scouta:
The Australia based startup launched its recommendation system yesterday that generates personally relevant suggestions of online audio and video, like podcasts, videocasts, online TV, video, etc. Users bookmark favorite online audio and video and Scouta aggregates these to make personalized recommendations. Basically a Last.fm for everything to anything. CozmoTV is working in similar direction on the video side. Scouta will also be releasing an iTunes plugin that will automatically bookmarks content consumed on a member’s computer, iPod, or Apple TV, and their API to extend the platform to other applications and devices. Sounds like a plan to me, but lot of work is required in terms of UI, user experience, and building a dynamic community.

 

Mojopages local search goes alpha

February 21, 2007

Mojopages, the local search engine that I had written about in the past, finally launched alpha version of the site over the past weekend. From the initial view, the site looks pretty comprehensive that adds a very strong social networking angle to plain old local search.

Backed by commercial local listings data, Mojopages enables users to rate and write reviews of businesses. Number of interaction points build into the platform gives the site a dynamic feel. Mojopages enables uploading of photos, videos, sending IMs, retrieve coupons, and many more related options. You can easily create social networking site worthy profile, add people to your network, join discussions in the community via QAs and SmallTalk. Best part I like about Mojopages is the emphasis on tracking user activity and contributions to the community. Typical problem reading reviews on a regular site is that you are not really sure whether the review is genuine and trustworthy. At Mojopages you can quickly view all the reviews and ratings given by a particular user besides their activity in community QAs, and Small Talk.

Having said that, I think trying to marry off local search with social networking is tough task. Quite a few have tried the marriage, some have changed directions after not being able to make headway(read Judysbook), some are going down slowly(read CitySearch), and some gaining ground albeit slowly(read Yelp). Would be interesting to see how Mojo plays the game differently and manages to win.

Links:
Mojopages

reQall launches Voice-Text notes

February 16, 2007

     

The number of ways you can create, save, and retrieve your to-do lists just keep expanding. reQall is the latest variation. People at QTech, the company behind reQall, want to call this as memory aid – record your thoughts before your forget them. With reQall all you need to do is call the reQall’s phone number and add your voice notes. reQall quickly saves these voice notes to your account, converts them into text, and emails you the text and voice .wav file. If you want access to these notes from your PC, just install the reQall software to access all your notes. And if you are away from your PC, you can always call the reQall number for a total recall. Can’t have been more simpler than this.

Actually reQall goes a step further than just simply recording and converting of voice to text. The system smartly interprets your voice commands to save meeting, and tasks. So, you can create a voice note and in the end add “Save as Meeting for tomorrow 8 AM”, and you will find the meeting added to your reQall calendar. Now the only thing I would like get access to is reQall API to fetch my meetings schedule and feed it into Google Calendar using Teqlo. Yahoo/Goolge gadget/widget like Callwave would also help.

Jott is another startup, that launched its public beta in December last year, enabling voice-text notes taking.

Links:
reQall

 

Teqlo Launches; Widget world transforms

February 15, 2007

Teqlo has opened its platform for users to signup and tryout the extensible and interactive mashup canvas. Teqlo was part of my list of 8 startups to watch-out for in 2007. After trying out the application for the past hour, I very definite I was right on that. Netvibes, Pageflakes, Google IG have put in lot of hard work in the last couple of years and got the well deserved attention by enabling users to bring in content and services from anywhere into one single location. Only problem with is that services on those platforms can’t talk with each other, which in my opinion is a very big limitation in terms of how a user gathers and consumes data.

Teqlo offers similar experience but which is far-far more extensible. Teqlo can make these same services talk and interact with each other to move data across them so seamlessly that makes the end user think as if they are from the same provider. Take the case of Leads and Calls, one of the default applications added to each new account created at Teqlo. You can interact with LinkedIn, DabbleDB, Google Maps, Google Calendar, and Teqlo lists all in one place. These are 5 entirely different apps from 4 service providers that you might use everyday. The biggest pain is to get them to work together. Lead search results going your address list or spreadsheet, call scheduling ending up in your Google Calendar, addresses getting mapped on to Google Maps, and many more of these banal tasks that require whole deal of copy/pasting. Teqlo’s mashup canvas brings the search, mapping, save part all to one place. And this is just the start of a new way of work management. Give Teqlo Builder a try and you can find yourself building something interesting and useful.

Links:
Teqlo

 

Mixpo: Another day, another media mashup launch

February 13, 2007

Seattle based Mixpo, which had started off as PiXPO, today announced that it has officially launched its Mixcard service. Simply put, you can add your video, photos and audio to create a Mixcard, which can than be embedded into your blog or MySplace et al profiles. Once created and uploaded, all your Mixcards are available online from where they can be easily updated.

One very big issue with Mixpo is that you need to download the Mixpo client to create your Mixcards, which is similar to the way Smilebox operates. I ain’t  big fan of downloading and installing apps, so had to skip this part.

Looking at the feature set, one thing the Mixpo offers better is the ability to annotate videos. This is not possible in Splashcast with whom Mixpo directly competes with in terms of the target market. However this feature is not that difficult to get done with and has already been implemented by number of other startups including Viddler. Mixpo has time and money to fine tune its offering and possibly move over to a web version, which I feel is the right direction. Mixpo had received $6.5M Series A round of funding in May 2006 led by Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group, and including Canadian investors Working Opportunity Fund (managed by GrowthWorks Capital Ltd.), Yaletown Venture Partners, Springbank TechVentures and private investors.

Links:
Mixpo

BrowseGoods launches: zoom, pan, and click to Shop

February 12, 2007

Dotted Pair Inc today launched its visual shopping engine BrowseGoods, which I think is a great way to find new products. All shopping is always visual, but in the end it boils down to how many items your need to scan through before you find something that interests you. BrowseGoods addresses this exact part very nicely. With its Google Maps like interface, you can zoom into your product category to browse over available items at a really fast pace. BrowseGoods currently lists products from 4 broad categories- Shoes, Toys, Sports, and Watches. Consider the case of shoes. With just 3 clicks you are taken from Men’s to Boots to Casual & Comfort and ready to look at images of thousands of shoes from all the major brands. A click on any item gives you a pop-up with a zoomed-in image, pricing information, and options to save, email, and buy the item which takes you to Amazon.

BrowseGoods is currently working with Amazon Affiliate program to generate revenues from click-throughs. Possibilities for BrowseGoods are endless as it can easily expand its product categories and work with other major retailers in form of a white-label solution or working with their API to broaden its product reach. The site does have few missing features, and issues with the zoom and pan controls, which I think the Browsegoods team will definitely fix in the next few releases.

Visual search idea is definitely interesting and application in number of places. BrowseGoods seems to get it right. Last year I had written about Quintura’s visual search engine, which discovers lot more relations in context to your keyword than you might ordinarily think about. The tiny problem for Quintura is it is competing with Google.

Links:
BrowseGoods

Smilebox launches- Personalized greetings with videos

February 12, 2007

Since multi-format media mashup is the buzzword, we should see more number of startups graduating to that than doing just photos. Last month, Splashcast had launched its syndication player that gets audio, video, photo, and text all in one place. Today Smilebox launched a similar product that making media sharing easier through personalized greetings. With $5 million in venture funding from Frazier Technology Ventures and angel investors, Smilebox wants to run things from your PC. Unlike Splashcast, you need to download and install Smilebox PC software. Advantage of desktop app is that you get to zoom, pan, rotate, and upload your clips at a much faster speed. Smilebox provides number of professionally designed slideshows, over which users can drag and drop videos, photos, add music, and text. It took less than couple of minutes for me to create a very professional looking greeting, upload photos, and send it out. Any greeting you email can be accessed from your Smilebox account online. As for pricing, basic version is free which comes with Google ad-blocks, and premium version comes for a one-time fee of $1.99(no-ads+can print+full-screen view mode). You can also subscribe to Smilebox for $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year to unlimited use of all premium designs. OutStory is another startup enabling video embedding, while another similar product Picaboo is still sticking with photos since their end product is a printed photo book.

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Links:
Smilebox

Yuuguu: yet another desktop sharing app

February 12, 2007

I don’t think we needed another desktop sharing application. I had previously written about the overheated web-conferencing market and later about at least 1 startup looking to quit. Nevertheless, UK based Yuuguu thinks there is still space. Yuuguu offers one-click screen and application sharing with cross-platform support. Multi-people chat, conversation history, and SSL encryption, all included. I think that Yuuguu has taken care of from the very start is to support both Windows and Macs machines, unlike other companies taking a long time to realize the need for cross-platform support. I don’t know about Yuuguu’s business plan, but maybe they think there is still space in the EMEA market.

Updated list of companies operating in more or less similar area includes: WebEx, GotoMeeting, LiveMeeting, Adobe Connect, WebDialogs, Central Desktop, DimDim, LiveLook, CrossLoop, InstaColl, Yugma(from comments), CoPilot(from comments), and now Yuuguu.

Links:
Yuuguu