Do you remember the days when the start-up scene was seriously shaken – and with it all its players? Ryze had started their meetings to bring people who look for jobs together with people who offer jobs – with the result that 95% of the attendants of these gatherings were looking for jobs and the remaining 5% looking for a partner. The unemployed crowd was clinging to the few events that happened to get out of the house. You remember? Good. You have good memory as this is way out of sight.
Now there are way more events than someone with a full agenda can juggle. I missed today’s Lunch 2.0 but managed to briefly attend the STIRR Mixer at Blue Chalk in Palo Alto. The event was RSVP only and the wait in line for the processing of the credentials to get the name tag took longer than immigration at SFO. Everything well organized and thorough – the event was sponsored by Commerce Net (thank you) and is one of the hottest gatherings in town.
Once inside I find myself in a time warp. Almost everybody is a Founder&CEO and with a few VP Business, Marketing and Sales in one person in between. Yes – it’s back – with a vengance – and you can hear the roar as everybody is assembled at the starting line, kickstarting their companies. I briefly talked to the “PM Dude” of Mintpages, a Web site where women can review beauty products and create their beauty profile. Isn’t this Epinions all over again? My inquiry about their USP (after explaining what USP is) was met with a “it’s targeted at women”. (I checked the sign-up process and the basic demographic question about gender is conspicuously missing – so no place for metrosexuals. Me: “How do you guys make money?” – “We don’t make money” – which settled the basic question of Start-Up 2.0 (To his defense I must add that it was noisy and he probably meant – we don’t make money – yet the comoany exists a fews months). 3jam exists just one (1) month but has raised – the small amount according to their VP BizDev of – $1m from NEA for a solution that allows groups to communicate via SMS (SMS is by definition a point-to-point communication) – the Founder and CEO was busy so I talked to the VP BizDev who tried to explain to me how you sign up and then get a code and with this code you can access the server and initiate the session. He agrees that this is complicated and a barrier to acceptance by consumers but is confident that all providers will adopt this product. A brief how-to is on the back of his business card – which may be helpful if you are willing to add your friends to 3jam.
I met the CTO of Fonav near the food (chicken wings, chips, salsa, fries and catchup) – they develop software for mobile WiFi devices as “the device producers have no idea about software”. They are already around several months.
I left the mixer somewhat shaken and definitely stirred.
P.S.: more on shaken not stirred is here.