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This morning we noted that DEMO was now offering some amount of money in advertising to the two winners at their startup-infomercial. As I noted in an update on that article, I am no longer sure if the total amount is $1 or $2 million.
TC50 founder Michael Arrington has doubled the amount of advertising. He says whatever DEMO offers, he will double it.
Arrington notes, “Our ads will be on our various TechCrunch networks sites and via our terrific sponsors, who are going to be adding their own inventory as well. We’ll give half to the top two winners, and half to everyone else who launches.”
It seems the silly wars appear to be on yet again this year.
I think it’s great that both DEMO and Techcrunch50 are offering bigger prizes – anything to help the startups that present past the initial buzz is a good thing. Let’s just hope Jason, Heather, Mike and Matt remember the end goal and don’t get back to last years “TC50: 1 – Demo: 1 – Startup: 0“.
Last month I discussed presenting at the DEMO and TC50 conferences later this year. In the comments, Techcrunch50 founder Jason Calacanis noted that one of the big differences between the two startup-infomercial conferences is that his Techcrunch50 offers $50,000 to the winner.
Now it appears DEMO has stepped up the prize pool bigtime by offering two $1 million dollar prizes. The prizes will be awarded to the best enterprise startup and the best consumer startup. The prizes are basically ad buys over the six month period following the conference.
Update 5:30PM: It appears that the total prize is $1 million, not two million as I previously noted. I am not sure if I got it wrong or if they changed it. I thought it read that two winners (one consumer, one enterprise) would each receive $1m.
Conference organizer Matt Marshall notes regarding the prize, “The campaign will include print advertisements, web banner placements, text link promotions, email newsletter promotions, and video ads. The package includes the development of creative content that is to be featured on IDG media properties – another huge value proposition to the winning companies.”
I assume the ads will be priced at the rack rate so the $1m is probably worth less had you bought the ads yourself and negotiated a better rate (probably 30% at best). No matter what, it’s good to see the winners get some publicity past the few posts they will get from the conference buzz.
How many of the companies that presented at either conference last year can you name? Can you name 10 of the 50 that presented at TC50? This huge ad buy should help two companies stay top of mind for at least six months and could give them a lift to build from.
Last night I read a hit-job post like I haven’t seen since my days on the G in Brooklyn during the 70s. The hit-job I am referring to is Erick Schonfeld’s piece about Matt Marshall joining the DEMO conference team. Apparently because one person (Chris Shipley) decides to change her focus after running the conference for 13 years, they must be "desperate". Erick also makes the following observations, "He is going to have to reinvigorate a dying brand." and "It is fine by us if DEMO sticks to its model of extorting startups". I can’t believe we are still talking about this tc50 vs. demo crap.
Erick uses the post to explain that his conference, Techcrunch50, is the much better model and that now he will have to "crush" VentureBeat. He notes that techcrunch50 companies get in on merit (oh is that how they do it!). Erick also displays a chart displaying the very little traffic that demo.com receives but leaves the techcrunch50.com site out of the chart – the comparison chart is available below for reference.
I wrote an in-person review of both Demo and TC50 from last year as I was one of three people to attend both events. It was great to meet so many CN readers at both events. After the unprofessional treatment I received at TC50, I won’t be attending this year. I am not going to go into the behavior here but suffice to say that even the event staffers thought the behavior was unprofessional.
The truth is that the numerous stories I heard from the entrepreneurs of the demo pit startups, the ones that pay $3k/day, were not good. But, as one might guess, no one wants to speak on-the-record because they are afraid.
It’s totally understandable that the Techcrunch team is probably a little upset because Time magazine ranked their top competitor Mashable as a top blog for 2009 while Techcrunch was listed as "overrated". Might these be some additional reasons why Techcrunch might be the desperate one in this conversation?
- They continue to increase the page views required to read the comments – first it was 100 on a page and a link to "view all comments" – now that link is gone and less comments are viewable on each page
- They have decided to break embargoes when it suits them to make sure they appear first
- Even with their reportedly strong-arm tactics, startups are starting to provide news to everyone but Techcrunch and as I’ve said since the early days the best route is to provide the news to all of the sites you trust to honor the posting time and get the most coverage and feedback you can.
Patricio Robles from eConsultancy has a good post reviewing the same post. He talks about why positivity sells; I guess he doesn’t read the aformentioned blog often. Let’s hope that Erick thinks about all the negative feedback on his post and offers up an apology to Matt and Chris, even if it’s handled privately.
I met with WatchMeMelt CEO Brian Kenny last week while I was in San Francisco. The concept of WatchMeMelt is to aggregate videos from across the web around the weight loss and fitness topics. WatchMeMelt also offers the ability for members to blog along with groups to help motivate members to reach their fitness goals.
The service is free and if members interact with the ads, the site could do very well. The weight loss category pays well – my hope is that they won’t display ads for crappy products and services that don’t actually help with reaching your fitness goals.
Check out our comprehensive review of Web 2.0 weight loss tools. Here’s Kenny explaining how WatchMeMelt works:
The DEMOfall08 and Techcrunch50 conferences have concluded. Thanks to everyone who said hello, grabbed a sticker, discussed their startup and just made the week special. Over the coming weeks we will take a detailed look at several of the startups from both events.
A special thanks to Francois Bochatay from Sobees, Adolfo Foronda from Nerdstalker, Stephanie Quilao from Noshtopia and Clay Fisher/Daniel Lee from Briteclick for attending the CN brunch. Briteclick is one of the NY-based companies I met this week and will be conducting interviews with all of the NY-based companies over the next month.
Here’s all of the CN coverage from both DEMO and Techcrunch50:
Video Interviews and Demos
- Video Interview With MixMatchMusic CEO Charles Feinn
- HeyCosmo Blaster – Voice SMS (video)
- SuggestionBox – Community Feedback Management (video)
- Wixi – Online Storage Using a Desktop Interface
- Iterasi Launches Bookmark Importer
- FiveSprockets Helps You Make Better Media – Video Demo
- Kidos – Education and Entertainment Platform for Kids
- 2Pad Creates a Gallery From Photos and Videos in Your Email (video)
- Video Interview with Seesmic CEO Loic LeMeur
- DEMO Welcome Reception Photos
- DEMO Session I – Moving the Chains
- DEMO Session II – Television Meets the Web
- DEMO Session III – Words, Pictures and Music
- DEMO Session IV – Your Mobile, Your Life
- DEMO Session V – Open Studios
- Techcrunch50 – Mobile
- Techcrunch50 – Language and Communication Tools
- Techcrunch50 – Rich Media
- Techcrunch50 – Games
- Techcrunch50 – Social Networking
- Techcrunch50 – Research and Recommendations
- Techcrunch50 – People’s Choice – iamnews
- Kara Swisher on Demo vs. Techcrunch50
- An In-Person DEMO and Techcrunch50 Comparison
- Loic LeMeur Discusses Techcrunch50
- TC50: The Funded Startups
Schwag Bag Videos
Next week is a busy one in NYC – should be exciting!
This morning at the CenterNetworks brunch, we discussed startups and the venture capital business. We also discussed what defines a startup. Back in January I took a look at the specific question, "How do you define ‘startup’?" There seems to be no absolute concrete definition of "startup" — everyone has their own view and definition.
Over my days at the Techcrunch50 conference, several people noted to me that the startups on stage had major funding and the demo pit companies were the real startups. At the brunch I mentioned putting together a chart of the presenting startups and how much funding they have taken. It looks like Jeff Wang heard me as he has created charts and graphs of the presenting companies and their respective funding.
Jeff found 42 companies of the 52 released their funding amounts and he charted the figures.
- 4 companies over $5 million
- 16 companies over $1 million
- 10 companies didn’t report their funding
- Techcrunch50 winner Yammer has funding for parent company Geni over $10 million including $1.5 million from TC50 sponsor Founders Fund (they have spun Yammer into a separate company but it was built under the Geni umbrella)
- the total funding amount of the 42 reporting companies is over $62 million
So nine months after my initial post I will ask again, how do you define "startup"? Here’s the raw data:
2Pad is an Israeli company that is attempting to make finding and sharing photos and videos stuck inside your email easier. 2Pad searches through your email, finds the photos and videos and then adds them to your 2Pad gallery. Inside of the 2Pad gallery, you can share the media with others.
Their business model consists of two pieces. First images can be printed into tshirts, hats, etc. and 2Pad gets a percentage of the sale. Second the larger your gallery, the more you pay for the hosting.
2Pad uses Amazon S3 and EC2 for storage and server processing. Here’s 2Pad cofounder Aaron Boublil explaining how 2Pad works: