Yesterday I attended the SIIA Previews event in NYC. This is a forum for larger information companies and the VC community to have a chance to hear from a dozen or so new and interesting information and technology companies.
Ed Keating, who along with Larry Schwartz, President of Newstex produced the event, said he expects to do the event every year. "I like the notion that we have companies representing all parts of the value chain: Content creators, content distributors, & content protectors," Ed told me. Barry Graubart and John Blossom also blogged the event.
Joel Dreyfuss, Editor-in-Chief of Red Herring kicked off the event by describing the VC world now. "The mood is upbeat," Dreyfuss said. "Deals are happening. Money and ideas are flowing again. Now VC firms and other investors are investing at one third of the rate of 2000." According to Dreyfuss, the total VC investment (not just technology) was $25.75 billion in 2006 up 12% from 2005. "Where there’s money, there’s hope," he said.
Here are some of the more interesting companies (in my opinion) that presented at the event:
Decision Tree Media creates private-label web guides that drive qualified leads to sales channels. The service provides online education to teach people how to use complex products and is used by companies for lead generation. Create interactive guides for products like life insurance or long-term care insurance that then delivers an online offer that leads to an offline sales process. They say that leads close at twice the average of clients’ other lead sources. Traffic comes from Google search. Can plug in video testimonials too.
Generate, Inc. delivers real-time company intelligence with integrated social networking tools to deliver personalized information to business professionals. Generate G2 stands out as a tool for sales professionals and others who need to cultivate high level contacts. With an innovative combination of users’ own personal network of contacts, publicly available information, and premium news, the platform delivers the connections that drive business.
Eurekster empowers communities to own and refine site-based web search. The search and monetization platform enables the passion of community for customers in the social search and collaboration space.
Near-Time integrates a group weblog with wiki pages, team events and shared files in a hosted and secure collaborative environment. It helps people to collaborate and publish on the web and brings together web, intranet and extranet.
Pando Networks offers a free, simple to use application with an unprecedented underlying network architecture for rich-media content delivery. Growing by 30,000 installs a day this is a P2P network for transport of large (and huge) files.
RealTimeMatrix has pioneered break-through technology that enables anyone to get relevant content from the Web the instant it is published.
Attributor is creating a platform that provides transparency and accountability in online content use and licensing for the rapidly growing content economy.
In his keynote presentation, Fred Wilson, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures talked about Does Information Want to be Free? Wilson says that people and companies need to empower the advertising world about what we are interested in so we can receive targeted advertisements. When he said, "What is advertising?" Wilson answered his own question in exactly the way that I would: "The interruption model of advertising doesn't work."
It is interesting that many of the most interesting new companies (in my opinion) that are getting funded today are technologies for delivering marketing related content in welcome, non-interruption-based ways.