TechRadar

Archive for the ‘Startup’ Category

Face.com lately has been in the news,is a start up that is focussing on a face recognition technology and they think its the best out there.

I have an alpha invite to their fbook app and will be reviewing them soon. So tune in again

They recently announced their Facebook app called Photo Finder to test their technology. However their plan seems to build face.com into a much bigger service and instead of being just a fbook app.

If they can build a scalable backend to support a healthy traffic, they should be in for sometime to come. They are slowly uncovering sheets from their technology and starting to talk more about face.
Their First post on their official blog was on March 24th

They also recently won best show award at Techonomoy. Here’s an excerpt from a post on their blog

“Today we got our first chance to speak in public about face.com. It was at Techonomy, a great event that “delves into the business and economy behind the Web 2.0 technological revolution”. The 6 selected companies were all fresh, innovative, and very cool. Each company had its 7 minutes to speak followed by a round of questions and comments from the on-stage panelists. All the speakers put on a great show, and the tweets in the background kept the crowd engaged. Sarah Lacy wrapped up the event, giving a chance for the crowd to vote for their favorite company. We were very honored to be selected as the best in show by the crowd, for us it was great to get this recognition – thanks to all of those who voted!

For the first time we’ve also demo’d face.com’s face recognition engine in action, processing a staggering 50 photos/sec on my laptop. Check it out in this flixwagon video: ”

http://blog.face.com/2009/03/31/facecom-voted-best-of-show-techonomy/

URL: http://face.com/

Follow them on Twitter @facedotcom

If you any queries about face.com you can drop a line to gil at face dot com

Facebook App Called Photofinder

Well nothing great about this start up. Remember those days when all you really did on your computer was to download a few cool screen savers,wallpapers and just made sure you dont fall asleep while browsing through clicks after clicks of junk…..

Chirp just add’s the facebook and flicker feeds into your screensavers and hence gives you more than just a screen , a dynamic screen….

Hmmm…..i’m sure in this world of desktop web app’s one can think of a better way to source your social feeds than a screen saver ….. Any comments?

chirp-logo.pngToday, Chirp is launching in private beta. Chirp is a screen saver, previously covered here, that lets you bring social feeds from Flickr and Facebook onto your desktop. Other social Websites will be added in the future. “Our purpose is to enable you to stay up to date with your friends without the hassle of logging into multiple websites,” says CEO Eve Phillips.

Chirp will let you subscribe to a friend’s photo feed so that it can decorate your screen. Click on a photo and Chirp will take you to the corresponding Flickr page to find out more. This reminds me of the Slide Desktop application, except that it brings in photos and data from other Websites. It basically brings social widgets outside the browser, something we’ve also seen with desktop applications from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The Sidebar in Windows Vista, for instance, lets you bring all sorts of widgets to the desktop, including online photos albums.

Maybe I’m missing something, though, because there is some smart money in the seed round. Greylock Partners, Jeff Clavier’s SoftTech VC and angel investors Reid Hoffman (Chairman and founder of LinkedIn), Jay Adelson (CEO of Digg), and Dave Samuel (founder of Spinner.com and Grouper). CTO David Bill is formerly of Spinner. I guess Chirp’s focus on turning social feeds into a screen saver might give it more mass appeal than just a bunch of desktop widgets.

Phillips explains the difference between Chirpscreen and widgets in the following way:

We’re designed to take over your screen and turn your
computer into a display of the social content of your choosing,
automatically updated with content from your friends – your friend channel.

Taking a step back, if you separate out what we do into three areas:
content aggregation; filtering; and display, most of those desktop
widgets aggregate and then do a limited display. We’re focused on
having highly relevant filtering and a really engaging, interactive
display of that content, as opposed to a desktop widget which is
designed to be a companion to your desktop activities (browsing,
email, etc.).

What do readers think? Try the beta and tell me in comments.

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source:Techcrunch.com

notchup-logo.png
Here’s a niche but a brilliant idea that in my view will create a whole new layer in the existing Online Jobsearch value chain

Founded by two guys, Notchup is trying to expand the target audience for the Jobsearch market. At present, you only enter the world of jobsearch if your looking to move…. but what about the rest of the professionals

Notchup thus is trying to give a reason for all those professionals who are happy in their roles and may be doing well , to come online and to not only make money by charging for being interviewed but also open themselves to some real good opportunities and serious employers

Please find below a review of the site on Techcrunch

The problem with most job sites is that the people companies really want to hire don’t put their resumes on them because they are happy in their current positions. If you are a star manager, chances are your employer knows it and is treating you well so that you don’t even think about leaving. Who wants to bother looking for a job anyway if you don’t have to? That’s right up there with looking for a new house in terms of time-sinks to avoid.

The folks at NotchUp, a stealth startup based in Los Altos, California launching later this month, have a better idea. Founded by two Peerflix refugees, Jim Ambras and Rob Ellis, NotchUp tries to lure talented-but-complacent workers and managers into its recruitment pool by turning the job search on its head. Instead of desperate out-of-work employees going hat-in-hand to companies begging for a job interview, on NotchUp, the companies have to pay to interview you. This is supposed to bring out those passive job seekers every company really wants to find.

notchup-price.pngThe site lets you set whatever price you like per interview, but also provides a calculator that takes into account your current position, experience, education, and salary to come up with a number. What I like about this approach is that it uses economic incentives to try to bring a better inventory of talent onto the market, just like Zillow does with its “Make Me Move” feature that lets people make unsolicited offers on houses that are not officially on the market. If a company is willing to pay you a few hundred or even a thousand bucks just to interview you, chances are they are pretty serious and it is not going to be a waste of time. It acts as a filter for both the employer and the prospective employee.

According to the site, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Powerset are all corporate beta testers using NotchUp for recruitment (well, maybe not Yahoo). NotchUp is still in stealth. The only way to get into the site right now is to be invited by a current user, which is how I learned about it.

Setting up a profile is easy, especially if you already use LinkedIn. NotchUp just imports your LinkedIn profile, you set your price, and you are ready to go. Any friend you refer to the site who gets an interview earns you a 10 percent referral fee. As employers search the site, they can make offers to interview you, which you see in your inbox. You can choose to only get offers from corporations, or from headhunters as well. And you can block recruiters from any particular company (like the one you currently work for) from seeing your profile. The service is free for job seekers, and companies pay NotchUp a fee for each resulting interview.

NotchUp is a really good idea. It turns job hunting into something more people will want to do in a way that makes them feel good about themselves. Even if you don’t get the job, you get paid for your time.

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They say behind every successful man is a woman, well the woman in this case is definitely making the most of it…….

23andme.jpg23andMe, the consumer genetics testing company founded by Sergey Brin’s wife Anne Wojcicki, is now available in Europe and Canada.

The service, which launched in November enables customers to search and discover whether their genes make them more predisposed to certain outcomes, such as cancer or other illnesses.

Michael signed up for a 23andme kit in December. You can read his experience with the service so far here and here.

No word as yet as to when the service will be available outside of Europe and North America. The full list of countries where 23andMe is now available: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vatican City State.

from Techcrunch

If you sell anything online, whether physical goods or services, you’re probably keenly aware of the 2-3% (plus $0.30) lost through transactional fees every time someone makes a purchase with their credit card. This fee rears its ugly head whether you use PayPal, Google Checkout, or Amazon Flexible Payment Service since those companies are largely just passing on the fees imposed on them by credit card companies.

Noca, a startup founded by ex-Visa employees, is attempting to virtually eliminate transaction feeds by bypassing the credit card companies altogether with its own online payment service. Since $5 billion goes towards online transaction fees every year in the United States alone, and since online vendors have particularly slim profit margins, the company thinks that the near elimination of transaction feeds would be a huge boon for online vendors. Concurrently, Noca seeks to provide consumers with a more rewarding and more secure purchasing experience, thereby making its service appealing to both actors involved in a transaction.

While Noca aims to eventually facilitate online payments for purchases of all sizes, it begins with a focus on micro-payments, and on micro-payments made through Facebook in particular. It has launched two Facebook applications to test its payments system out: OneClick Pay and HelpYourWorld.

The former provides a simple way to send money to friends. As you can see in the screenshot to the left, the idea is to send someone a digital check; you actually enter your routing and account numbers into the application instead of using a credit card. This poses a significant obstacle to adoption (who remembers these numbers or carries around a check in their pocket?). But the company insists that using checking information rather than credit card information increases security and reduces the chances of identity theft. Plus, Noca is working to provide functionality that would allow you to enter your online banking credentials in lieu of your checking information.

The latter Facebook application, HelpYourWorld, provides a good use case for Noca’s micro-payment system. Since the application solicits $1-at-a-time donations for a series of causes, it benefits greatly from Noca’s lack of transaction fees (especially the standard fixed one of $0.30). Noca hopes that many other Facebook applications with similar micro-payment needs will use its APIs to implement its payment service.

As for the benefits to the consumer, Noca promises to provide strong and flexible incentives through cash back schemes, frequent flier miles, and the ability to designate a part of your payment to a charity of choice. The company also insists that its service will be substantially easier to use than others like PayPal, and that consumers will gain access to a much more comprehensive transaction history than they would get elsewhere.

In the longer term, Noca will become much more like a credit card company itself, providing credit to users through direct partnerships with banks. In doing so, it will be able to provide users with the same benefits of buying things on credit without charging vendors standard transaction fees, which it considers mostly oligopolistic fat. To make money, Noca will also attempt to leverage its user data to target them with tailored advertising and product deals.

from Techcrunch 

YouTube may have captured the largest video audience, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of niches to exploit. AniBoom is tapping into an impassioned community of video animators to create content that will, occasionally, capture some of that YouTube-sized audience.

A competitor for the video award at tomorrow’s Crunchies, AniBoom is different from most other video sites in one important respect: Almost all of its content was created by members, whereas video sites like YouTube are famed for having content ripped off from other sources.

AniBoom, by comparison, even has its own software tool, Shapeshifter, that can be used to make professional-quality animations. For fun, it also has the recently created Micro-Smotion tool, which can add simple animated tidbits to regular video. The site says it is growing rapidly in popularity.

Like other sites, most of the existing content is stuff you wouldn’t want to bother watching. However, AniBoom is counting on the star factor — from any large group of people, several exceptional individuals are bound to come forth.

AniBoom’s CEO, Uri Shinar, likes to compare the possibilities of his site by referencing Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who were unknown talents making short clips until a Fox executive groomed them, leading to the hit cartoon South Park. AniBoom attempts to replicate this success in its Creator’s Series, although none that we saw had gotten more than a few thousand views.

However, the South Park comparison is apt in more than one way. The Stone and Parker creation that led Fox to contact them was a quirky student animation of Jesus killing a deranged snowman. Many of the videos on AniBoom are similarly odd. One of my personal favorites: “Rabbit: Terror of the Wood,” a series of very short clips about a desperately horny rabbit.

The site also runs contests offering cash prizes, which seem to attract quite a few submissions, proving that the world’s junior animators are eager for both fame and money.

Although there are other animation sites around, like Crunchyroll (coverage here), AniBoom is one of the only sites encouraging indie content. Another is MyToons, which just launched.

AniBoom is located in Israel. The site took $4.5 million from Evergreen back in the beginning of 2007.

Reported on Venturebeat

Here are a few startups from Israel and a brief introduction to some of them …. clearly video startups are still the hot fav of the VC’s

Participating startups include 5min, Plymedia, AllofMe, Nuconomy, ClickTale, blogTV, Sportingo, PicScout, Qoof, 8hands, Velingo, Innovid, Semingo, PageOnce and Journeys.

Founded: 2006
Total Funding: $3.00M

“Hello, blogTV is here! This is the place where you can show off your talent, build a fan base and share your opinions LIVE! You bring the webcam, we bring the stage. We’re here to help you get your 15 minutes of fame.

Location: Tel Aviv
Founded: 2007
Total Funding: $600,000

Journeys, based in Israel, is a both a virtual world and MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). Journeys is a participant at the 2008 IsraelWebTour.