Archive for the ‘Storage’ Category

Joyent partners with Corel; Newsgator Desktop launched

February 27, 2007

Joyent has partnered with Corel to provide data backup service for Corel WordPerfect Lightning, a note taking software from Corel. Any user backing up his/her notes from Lightning onto Joyent will get 2 complimentary Joyent Connector accounts and 200MB of storage for free. As always, good and bad news accompanies any new partnership. Bad news – Corel Lightning UI totally sucks. At least I can’t see myself using it. If you compare it to Evernote or Microsoft’s OneNote, the software has lot of catching up to do. Good News – You get to try Joyent Connector for free for the first time. If you haven’t already tried Joyent, the product set includes web-based Mail, Calendar, Contact Management, Bookmarks, and obviously file storage applications.

Newsgator: The Colorado’s coolest startup has launched beta of its new product – Newsgator Desktop. As expected, any feed post you read from Desktop gets synced backed to your Newsgator account and will show up read everywhere including FeedDemon, Windows RSS Platform, and Newsgator Online. In my PoV, the application is targeted at users having maybe 20 or fewer feeds otherwise pop-up notifications loose their significance. Newsgator team does provide controls around this by adding support for choosing feeds for which you want the notifications to be displayed. So, in case you are not already using FD, Desktop can be good alternative to get tuned to RSS. Can we expect personalized push as the next move from Newsgator?

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WordPress founder’s post gets things rolling @Sun

January 20, 2007

Couple of months back I had written about a new offer from Sun to startups – Startup Essentials. On 18th January WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg posted on his blog about his time-wasting experience in getting much promised Sun Hardware for cheap from the program. Well by yesterday, January 19th, Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems apologized on his blog for the screw-up. I just love these frank conversations in our new web world that connect the right people faster.

Related:
Sun woos startups with new offer

[Sun response via]

8 startups to watch-out for in 2007

January 8, 2007

                
               

          

                                        

One week into 2007, lets look into some of most exciting startups coming up in the new year. The companies I have chosen to write about are mainly in the enterprise, consumer and productivity software, and media publishing market. There are quite a few other interesting startups coming up in the areas of media(social networking, IPTV, mobile TV, 3D), which I will try covering in another post.

 

1. Coghead(Enterprise): Coghead is set to change the way most common business applications are developed. Working with Coghead, all you need to know is your business and you are ready to rollout applications without even writing a single line of code. Coghead provides a web-based platform with complete drag-n-drop, mapping, workflow, and other development features to enable delivery of applications that require zero infrastructure setup costs on your side.

Founded in May 2003, Coghead had received $3.2 million in first round financing from El Dorado Ventures in March 2006. The Redwood City, CA. based startup has some of the finest industry veterans working for it including Paul McNamara(CEO, Coghead), Greg Olsen(served as co-founded Extricity Inc.), and Brian Reaves(served as Co-Founder and President/CEO of Beyond Software).

I had demo session with Paul, and Greg in where they demonstrated the amazing platform they have built. Companies looking to get started with Coghead will have access to around dozen pre-built applications offered by Coghead covering various business domains including HR, Project Management, Tracking Tools, Marketing, Finance, Sales & Customer Management, and Productivity. Comparing to existing application development and delivery methodology, Coghead platform changes the way in which we look at Application Development/Developers. Actually Application Developer term can easily be replaced by Application Modeler since those are the people you need in Coghead. Once application specifications are agreed upon, Modelers can quickly prototype and build applications using the Coghead’s fully graphical environment with drag-n-drop UI components and forms editor. Modelers can start from scratch or copy an existing application to add more functionality. Prior to deploying a new application or changes to an existing application, prototypes can be created, tested and previewed. Among other features, Coghead maintains complete application version control, and also handles import/export of application definition. Companies using the platform can have team-based access with role-based security model to enhance the data security and restrict access across different applications.

Coghead will launch Q1 of 2007 and will be available at fraction of cost as charged by existing On-Demand platforms like Salesforce. Starting of from the basic set of applications it is left onto business users imagination to churn out applications requiring zero maintenance and backups.

So if you always unsatisfied by one of the monstrous Project Management or CRM tools offered by your company and wanted to drive things your own way, Coghead should serve your needs well.

             

             

 

2. LucidEra(Enterprise): I have written about LucidEra couple of times in the past. LucidEra is led by Ken Rudin who previously worked as VP and General Manager of Siebel CRM OnDemand at Siebel Systems and before that was co-founder and CEO of Emergent Corp which was acquired by Keane in 1999. Given his strong experience in building enterprise class product and recognizing the shortcomings of existing BI offerings, Ken founded LucidEra in 2004 with an aim to deliver an On-Demand BI platform. With handful of really smart people taken from Siebel, Business Objects, Informatica, Apple, and  $7 million funding from Matrix Partners and Benchmark Capital, LucidEra is set to bring a sea change to the Enterprise data computing landscape.

Currently in private beta and going for a public release in Q1 2007, LucidEra’s Business Intelligence is platform will deliver full range of data extraction, transformation, and reporting abilities. From the product standpoint, LucidEra offers connectors to databases, extraction+transformation+refresh tool to load data into LucidDB(optimized for query processing), data cleansing capabilities, OLAP server, and the web-based reporting interface to enable easy creation of business reports. All these high end enterprise data processing  capabilities come at a fraction of cost($3000 or more/month) as compared to existing solutions in the market.

The impact of LucidEra will go beyond pricing, since it will reduce the cost associated with development, maintenance, storage, computing, and upgrading of enterprise software. LucidEra will offer a great opportunity to SMBs to run competitive analysis of their businesses and get to their sales and marketing KPIs quicker. Starting off with Forecast-to-Billing solution that can track a company’s entire sales cycle, I expect LucidEra to open up it’s environment to enable developers to build similar solutions for Marketing, Life Sciences, and other business domains.


3.
BungeeLabs(Enterprise+Mashup): The Orem, UT based Bungeelabs team has been quietly working on building a web application and deployment system for the past 3 years. Till date Bungeelabs has gone through two rounds of funding with the most recent round in November 2006 in which the company secured $7 million from North Bridge Venture Partners, Venrock Associates, and Wasatch Venture Fund.

The startup has been keeping most the details of its offering under tights wraps and even their web site doesn’t help much in this regards. Bungee will offer an On-demand Application System for efficiently creating and instantly delivering next generation web applica
tions. Developers will be able to able build, integrate, and instantly deploy interactive web apps with or without any web service. As part of the deployment Bungee developers will be able to integrate customer tracking, subscription management, licensing and billing options.

Although there might be a learning curve involved to get used to Bungee lingo, objects, logic, adaptors, controls, and deployment methods, I think it would be worth the tiny amount of effort required. Will look forward to try my hands when it officially launches its product sometime this year.

 

4. Sharpcast Hummingbird(Consumer+Enterprise): Earlier at the start of 2006 Sharpcast had launched its amazing photo synchronization software that can sync all your photos located on any of your internet enabled devices. Later at the Web20 conference in November 2006, Sharpcast had announced the launch of their new product Hummingbird in early Q2 of 2007. Hummingbird solves one of the basic problems that each of us face every day – multitude of files created in different formats on different machines owned by the same user. With increasing amount of content getting created through mobile devices, it just adds to the existing issue of getting your content to sync together. Building and running an enterprise class sync server that offers PC-Mac-Web-Mobile real-time synchronization for general users is quite a challenge that not many companies have tried till today.

Hummingbird will work just like Microsoft Exchange server that delivers/updates-status all your messages onto various platforms including web, PC, and Blackberry. Instead of syncing emails, Hummingbird will do that for each of your file formats. Users will neither have to worry about taking backups and spending hours compiling the latest version of their documents nor manually schedule backups since everything gets backed up automatically. Hummingbird will also offer version control  and notifications if any document is accessed by more than 1 person simultaneously. To take care of the offline times, Hummingbird will have workspace cache to enable work in offline mode. Sharpcast will also add sharing aspect to the  software by enabling sharing of files with groups of individuals and creation of group workspaces. Sharpcast will also offer Hummingbird to its partners who can run the software in a p2p mode and also enable companies to store all their data on their own enterprise servers instead of Sharpcast’s servers.

Again Hummingbird falls into the first school of thought which believes in desktop based file creation and sharing. Other school comprises of SaaS proponents who use Writely+Editgrid in their everyday life to get their work done faster without worrying about sync issues. So users looking to go beyond word and spreadsheets and get their videos, photos, PDFs organized, Hummingbird is the best thing that can happen.

                     

 

5. Preezo(Consumer+Office): Startups developing real Office20(Word, Spreadsheet, PPT, Calendar) showed lot of activity with the launch of Writely, iRows, Kiko, EditGrid, Thumbstacks and few more in the end of 2005 and start of 2006. However the office20 landscape at the start of 2007 looks very different as compared before ’cause of – quick and decisive actions from Google resulting in Google Docs&Spreadsheets+Calendar being rolled out, iRows and Writely teams joining Google, Kiko getting sold out on eBay, Thumbstacks team just keeping quite ever since its initial launch activity. Only worthy Office20 player besides Google is EditGrid. But Google and EditGrid don’t complete the office stack with an important presentation software piece missing. In recent times there have been few startups claiming to offer web-Powerpoint solution, but frankly I feel that they are just wasting their time by developing really crappy imitations. Throwing an army of people ain’t going to get you a Powerpoint or Excel or Word replicas. Smalls teams like Writely, EditGrid, and iRows, that understand the specs for office apps and have expertise in javascript as well as server side languages are the ones who can get things done.

However hopes are still on for the web-based office. Preezo, an angel funded company led by by Jason Roberts, is trying to fill that important gap. Based out of Pasadena, CA, Jason has built Preezo from just an idea to a full-featured web-based slideshow/presentation application in just over a year. Preezo offers many of the core and most commonly used features found in Powerpoint. Preezo with its elegant drag & drop and formatting of text and image elements makes editing slides a snap. With support for themes, layouts, and transitions(including control of direction and speed of transition), you can easily create professional looking presentations. Preezo also has an custom built javascript text editor (no design mode!!) takes text editing to a level never before seen on the web and will be practicably indistinguishable from Powerpoint’s text editing experience.

You will realize the real benefits of using Preezo as compared to Microsoft Powerpoint at the time of viewing and sharing the slideshows. Besides being able to access the presentations from any modern browser (FF 1.05, IE 6.0, SF 1.5) anytime, you will be able to embed the slide shows in web pages or blogs, distribute high quality but lightweight html slide shows via email, and give multiple people the ability to access a single presentation.

With the launch of Preezo there wont be a convincing reason for most of office apps users to go for the costly Microsoft Office 2007 upgrade($150-$400 depending on the version).

 

6. Sentinel(Consumer+Media): This month end Sentinel will launch something that should definitely catch on with media companies and blogging community – Detect content piracy and pin-point sploggers. The Orlando, Florida based startup led by Tony Moura and just 2 more people plans to deliver a solution about which most of the search companies don’t even talk about. Any search we run on Technorati or Google Blog Search or Sphere number of results we get back just point to spam blogs. The small guy makes big+quick bucks through his content piracy network spanning thousands of blogs and sites, while we as content creators end up working late nights. And this content piracy is not just limited to blogosphere. Major media companies like Dow Jones, and NYT would just love to try out Sentinel.

Once companies signup, Sentinel service will automatically start comparing your content with the sites all over the world and generate the reports. Initially it will take around 24 hours to compile reports, but over time as Sentinel indexes more content the turn around times would improve drastically. Sentinel plans to work on 3 levels – 1. Bloggers 2. Media companies like Dow Jones, NYT, CNN and 3. Blog network operators and search engines like Blogger/Google, WordPress, and SixApart. Each ca
tegory will differ in terms of licensing costs and turn around times for the reports. However the service will be very reasonably priced for individual bloggers and content creators costing $5/month or more depending on the number of blogs/sites monitored. When I talked with Tony few months back he told me that he best part about Sentinel will be that content creators and site owners will not have to install any software or plugin in order to get monitor their content.

From the technology perspective Sentinel will have to cover a wide range issues that they can potentially come across. False piracy claims, legitimate quoting of text,  pirated  content  hosted on  personal sites instead of blog networks(whom will you send take-down notice to?), rephrased content, and offcourse  spammers trying to trick Sentinel  system everyday. Tony claims that Sentinel has the ground covered in all these aspects. But the system and it’s scalability+safeguards will definitely be tested when it launches this month.

One thing you need to note though is that Sentinel performs checks for only text based content, and not audio or video. Attributor and Youtube have been working on those areas which are obviously very difficult to crack in terms of resources and computing power required to drive such a solution and returns that they will receive from the media companies.

 

7. Clearspring(Consumer+Media): Remember, 2007 is the year of Widgets?! That is great news!!…. But what is the business model? How do you distribute more than just the weather widget? How do you reach your target community? How do you track the usage? Many more questions that no one can answer with clarity. Clearspring is building up to solve just some of these issues. Based out of Arlington, VA, led by Christopher Marentis, and founded by Hooman Radfar and Austin Fath, Clearspring aims to give direction to the rudderless world of widgets.

Clearspring is leading the charge to enable widget creators to quickly publish cross-platform widgets.  Clearspring has worked really hard behind-the-scenes to develop relationships with the leading social networks, startpages, and other websites to enable their widgets to be transported across sites by users, as well as well as to be published to widget galleries by developers. This includes likes of Rockyou and Netvibes.

From the process perspective, developers send in their flash widget code and Clearspring will add the wrapper for automatic posting to gadget platforms on Google, Live.com, Vista, MySpace, WordPress, Netvibes, Rockyou,………For individual developers this service would be free, and larger media companies will chalk out their deals with Clearspring that would include additional control over the environment. Developers and media/content companies also get complete view of the spread and usage of their content. Among others stats, widget impressions, style, location are some of the metrics tracked by Clearspring. This targeted and monitored distribution can result in viral spread of content through the right audience and enable narrowing down on those viral hubs quicker. Having tracked around 100 million widget impressions in its private beta, Clearspring has a scalable backend to take on enormous loads as major media companies start off loading their content through the platform. Clearspring plans to iteratively roll-out more advanced capabilities to expose the rich data collected by their tracking engine such as widget lifetime, click-through, and more during the coming year.

And not to forget- I am pretty sure you will just love the flash interface of the widgets from Clearspring.

    

 

8. Teqlo(Consumer+Mashup): Teqlo aims to bring meaningful mashup capabilities to the general users. Want to hookup you calendar with your expense reporting software to make it easier for you to get done with work quickly? Or automatically pull data from your address book and plot  it onto a map? Well Teqlo can help you  perform those important data mappings that will make your content “modular” without putting in those long-hard hours of manually copy-pasting information. Teqlo users with its drag-n-drop tool can build “Teqlets” that can bring in application components, and put them in the right sequence to establish a data flow cross-applications. Users will be able to public/private/group permission based teqlets, and license these teqlets to other users.

Founded by Dr. Rafael Bracho and Jacoby Thwaites and initially named Abgenial Systems, late last year the startup changed its name to Teqlo. Teqlo is now led by Jeff Nolan, who previously led the Apollo Strategy Group for SAP, and is funded by Leapfrog Ventures.

 

ClearSpace – The unified collaboration platform

January 2, 2007

JiveSoftware, provider of open-architecture based collaboration production, will be launching a new unified collaboration platform, ClearSpace. The product, which officially launches in early February, provides gives the power of Wikis, Blogs, Discussion Boards, and IM, all in one place.

Jive’s existing J2EE based product line includes Jive Forums, RTC server based on XMPP protocol – Wildfire, XMPP instant messaging client- Spark, Customer Chat client – Spark Fastpath, and Integrated Server. After having discussions with number of its existing customers, Jive management realized that companies wanted to implement newer collaboration tools but were more interested in J2EE base. Also implementing point solutions likes Wiki, or Blogs would only drive the maintenance cost up with additional inability to move data across each of these independent applications.

Realizing the opportunity, Jive team went ahead and built ClearSpace as an integrated platform that encompasses the old and new collaboration domains – Wiki, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Document Store, Email notifications, nested chat/IM, User Management, LDAP/AD integration, and tagging. Companies using ClearSpace will easily be able to setup collaboration community for each of their hierarchical departments or cross-team projects. In ClearSpace, each community can have its own discussion board, document store, access control,……. with everything tied together with tags and tag groups.

Jive team has gone a step further to enable reuse of user generated content/data, and faster response+interaction to content changes. ClearSpace users will be able to convert community discussion to a wiki document(instead of regular copy-paste), export group chat to wiki documents, create respond to content via email or IM, get notified about content updates by RSS/email/IM, email or instant messages for document collaborate invites, and participate in real-time multi-people wiki editing and viewing session. Companies will also be able to turn on collaboration with external clients on content located on internal ClearSpace server. Integration with WebDAV is another nice feature that will enable easy browsing, and emailing of docs located in ClearSpace.

Best part I like about ClearSpace is its pricing. ClearSpace is planned to be free for companies with 5 people, priced at high $20 or low $30s/user/monthyear, making it an extremely affordable collaboration platform for small or large teams.

Looking at the existing collaboration solutions, ClearSpace makes it very easy to gauge performance of team members with the ability to pull up all the information and content related to a particular team member. Also the reuse of content makes sure teams don’t end up creating redundant data silos and migration of projects from development to production stage does not result in loss of important lessons learnt on the way. On the whole, ClearSpace does seem to shaping up as the integrated tool that lot of the teams will be looking to get their hands on.

Links:
ClearSpace

Koral launches desktop beta and upgrades

December 26, 2006

Koral, the Enterprise20 Content Management startup about which I had written few months back, has added a bunch of features that makes it one of the best SMB apps along with EchoSign to emerge this year. Besides the new features, Koral has has upgraded its hardware that made the on-Demand application really fast responsive, which is nice change from what I had experienced when I tried it for the first time when it was in the real beta stage.

Koral Desktop, the newly released desktop uploader has the task of uploading files simpler. Once you are done with updating your document, all you need to is drag-drop the updated file into the java desktop app, and Koral automatically updates the file on the server. Koral’s “document identification” alerts the rest of the people with whom the document is shared about the availability of the updated version either through their subscription mechanism or when they try editing the outdated copy.

Other changes at Koral include an upgraded search functionality that enables filtering of results by the document type(Word, ppt,….), tag, authors, wordspace,…… Koral user-administration module also has been upgraded to enable linked-in style of user management and change/modify users and their access to workspaces.

My favorite feature still remains the ability to view powerpoint slideshows on Koral web-app itself instead of downloading them and realizing that you are editing the wrong document. Being able to view word and xls snapshots is also in the works, that should see light of the day pretty soon.

Links:
Koral

Online storage rally continues – Carbonite adds funds to Series A

December 12, 2006

Carbonite, provider of simple and cheap backup solution, has received an additional $3.5 million towards its Series A round of funding from its original investors. Earlier in February, Carbonite had received $2.5M from 3i and angel groups Common Angels and Keiretsu Forum.

Carbonite is one of the cheapest backup solutions around costing $5/month or $4.16/month(1 year plan) or $3.75 / month(2 year plan)  for unlimited data storage. Only limitation is from the side of the data that can be uploaded per day onto your Carbonite account. Currently users can upload at most 2 GBs per day, which can result in few days of backup time before all the data gets backed up on a typical machine for the first time. Carbonite’s desktop client takes the backup of your files when your machine is idle, so that it doesn’t slow down you machine.

It seems Carbonite wants to project itself as more of an backup solution instead of a backup+share+anywhere_file_access solution like BingoDisk or ProtectMyPhotos. Nevertheless a great solution for making unlimited backups.

Links:
Carbonite

 

i-Lighter — marker and annotation makes online research easier

December 6, 2006

i-Lighter is all set to officially launch December 8th. Earlier this year at DEMOfall, i-Lighter had presented its web-tool that enables users to highlight, annotate, and save text, tables, and images on any web page easily and quickly. Since than, i-Lighter has seen very good response from it initial users and provided some very valuable tips. Taking from there, development team at i-Lighter has worked really hard to come up with one of the best FREE collaboration enhancement tools.

At midnight December 7th, you will be able to download the IE version of i-Lighter and the Firefox version will be rolled out the week after. I have tried out current release of i-Lighter which installs an drop-down menu button in your toolbar, and an desktop client through which you can retrieve your marked documents. Before you can start highlighting text, you will need to login to i-Lighter account. After that, just to click on ‘Start i-Lighting’ to start saving selected web content. If you want to add notes to the areas they have highlighted, you can easily do so by adding i-Notes. As soon as you highlight or add any information on a webpage, it gets transmitted to your account located on the i-Lighter server to enable access to the content from any machine having i-Lighter client.

When you want to view any content you have saved you can bring up the i-Lighter desktop client which will quickly retrieve at content associated to your account. Content can be organized in folders that can either be set to be public or private. You can send selected content to Word document or email it to your contacts from the desktop client itself. i-Lighter has also provided various other handy options like the ability to easily add content items to your blog, search through pubic and private folders, and print selected items.

As part of future plans, i-Lighter is looking to launch mac versions of its product, and enable users to generate PDF files from their content items. i-Lighter team is also working on developing an offline version, which will sync back your content once you get online. Next January i-Lighter users will be to view i-Lighted content without installing the i-Lighter client, which will work out well especially with mobile users.

i-Lighter has seen tremendous response from the education area including teachers and researchers who consider i-Lighter as an perfect product for their daily work. These people are able to collaborate efficiently and not end up getting lost in the mountains of information available. i-Lighter is already negotiating with major publication companies to provide a white label i-Lighter client. As part of this offering, all the content generated from the protected books and publications of these companies will get stored onto their own servers.

In some ways i-Lighter is similar to the features provided by Evernote about which i had written earlier. However as compared to i-Lighter which is FREE product, you need to spend $39.95 to get the multiple machine sync at Evernote.

Links:
i-Lighter

 

Sun woos startups with new offer

November 9, 2006

Amazon web-services combo offer of Amazon S3 and EC2 have been making great waves in the startup world. Companies like Webmail.us, Linden Lab, Slideshare.net, and Zettabyte Storage have already been using Amazon web-services in really innovative ways to overcome sudden server spikes and have on-demand access to unlimited storage.

Obviously Sun doesn’t want to sit back and watch the show while Amazon wins all the accolades. As part of a new promotion, Sun today announced the launch of Sun Startup Essentials aiming to lure the startup crowd. Sun is heavily-discounting some of its best production systems, software, and the Operating System to enable startups get up and running quickly.

Juan Carlos Soto, vice president, Technology and Partner Marketing, Sun Microsystems, Inc. said, “Our product and services portfolio, from the Solaris OS to servers to storage, is the best its been in years and we want to extend that power to the next generation of startups.”

Sun will be offering CoolThreads Servers, SunFire x64 servers featuring AMD Opteron processors, and x64 and SPARC workstations. Sun servers combined with the Solaris 10 OS, Java Enterprise System, and other development tools can be the best package any startup can look forward to. Checkout all the product offerings at this link.

Only startups located in United states will be able to participate in this program. Other requirements include – company should be in business for 4 years or less, and have at max 150 employees including affiliates.

According to the press release from Sun, 20 companies have already signed up for the process. If you feel interested click here to go to the signup page.

Links:
Sun Startup Essentials

DropSend on the block

November 4, 2006

Carsonsystems is planning to sell DropSend, which is a webapp that enables users to send large files. Carsonsystems team wants to concentrate on their existing products including Amigo, which they had launched recently.

DropSend is a multi-user application that allows users to send files upto 1 GB in size. You either send files using the online tool, or install DropSend application on your desktop to upload files. DropSend plans are from free to $99/month depending upon the number of files  you can send and the diskspace you need.

For more details checkout DropSend blog.

Other players providing similar services include Pando, and Goowy

Links:
DropSend
Carsonsystems

And now online storage from BT

October 23, 2006

 BT has launched online storage for individual users to store their personal files including photos, emails, music, video files and contact information onto BT servers. BT Digital vault has the usual feature set of being able to upload files online or the ability to use a desktop client to sync files with the BT server. 

Leaving aside the feature set, the issue I see with the BT product is from the pricing perspective- 2GB space is for free , and 20GB space is for $9.4/month(current currency rate). Just for comparison purposes, we have Xdrive from AOL giving 5GB for free, and for the paid we have Bingodisk which costs $49/year for 25GB space or Protectmyphotos which costs $39.95/year for 25GB of space. Why will individual users care to go for the BT option?

Links:
BT Digital vault

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