I have my own special category of companies that appear at Demo and leave lasting impression. For want of a better word, I call my own unique category “Plucky Companies.”
Plucky companies have the technological wherewithal to find one or more niches that are underserved by market leaders and then dig in and build.
InfoVell Goes Against Stiff Competition With Better technology
And at the top of my “Plucky Companies” list from DemoFall08 is Infovell, whose deep web search engine can be found at www.Infovell.com.
I had two lengthy conversations with the company and experienced one of the best overviews of a new technology I’ve ever had from a Demo presenter.
Infovell’s technological proposition is very straightforward: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other search engine sites deliver topical results quickly, but most often fail to rapidly deliver information on a subject that hidden in the “deep web.” Infovell discovers and delivers information from the “deep web” and provides its users with a good basic set of software tools for organizing retrieved data or conducting searches using more than limited combinations of words or superficial phrases.
Infovell has several other features that demonstrate the plucky vision of its founders: first it’s initially being marketed to specific categories of academic and life sciences researchers; Secondly, its founders recognize that there are huge opportunities with organizations such as HMO’s and business media for specialized search that yields results that are easily assembled, categorized and shared.
Every time I saw a demonstration of Infovell’s search I immediately pictured it being offered on my HMO’s site (Kaiser Permanente) as a tool to better understand my specific health issues. I also thought it was a natural product that could be used on sites such as those run by Forbes Media or other investment related properties.
In the long run, Infovell will face competition from Microsoft and Google, both of which are working on deep web search. That competition will help this Menlo Park,CA, Startup, since it creates an early acquisition path. My one suggestion for improving this product would be to add an Ajax-based set of publishing tools.
Menlo Park,CA, Startup, since it creates an early acquisition path. My one suggestion for improving this product would be to add an Ajax-based set of publishing tools.
HeyCosmo—Making Event Planning and Personal Concierge Easier and More powerful
Also on my list of DemoFall08 Plucky companies was HeyCosmo.com, from Arsenal Interactive Inc. of Sunnyvale , CA
Hey Cosmo incorporates several services on one site and the sum of its parts—event planning and personal concierge services redefine several categories of services.
As an event planner for small groups, HeyCosmo lets users, organize and create meet-ups easily with an email, server-based VOIP component called “Blast.” This feature turns my text-based invitations into VOIP-queries delivered in a friendly voice.
Key-pad based responses then show up on my event-related screen. The ability to delegate tasks associated with the event is well supported in HeyCosmo’s Blast module. It also creates real-time event reports showing the status of invitations, and what tasks people have agreed to perform.
The Personal Concierge module uses some of the same technology as Blast but adds the ability to create task related, follow-on queries. For example, let’s say you wanted to have dinner with a few friends at a Brazilian-style restaurant in a holiday destination site. HeyCosmo’s personal concierge module would call restaurants that met your particular culinary tastes and ask their host or hostess if they could accommodate a reservation for x-number of people at various times. The restaurant host, or hostess then pushes a telephone key corresponding to availability and the results woare returned to the requesting person. I also like a feature that generates a confirmation phone call to the restaurant after the person who requested the reservation approves the transaction.
Arsenal Interactive’s HeyCosmo.com integrates enough features to make it a stand out among numerous larger competitors. Moreover, its interface ands the underlying power of its combined applications makes short shrift of complex, often vexing, tasks.
Looking out, I think HeyCosmo has tremendous potential, providing Arsenal interactive catches the attention of Google, whose mobile information service cold benefit from this application. ‘There are several other regional licensing plays for HeyCosmo, including licensing by chambers of commerce for Seasonal or other holiday destination sites, or resort timeshare management organizations.
Talk about Pluck, HeyCosmo and Infovell have it to spare.—Jim Forbes 09/26/2008.
(Mandatory disclosure: before retiring I was the founding producer of Demo Mobile