Ten Startups Share Their Wares at TechStars Demo Night

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machine, and you continually feed it preferences and you get back a personalized radio stream based on those preferences,” Casci says. “Our machine is full of human DJs and they have built connections with artists, record labels, and listeners. It’s a real-time, shared experience. We are a social radio platform.”

CEO: Ziad Sultan
Seeking: $350,000
Contact: founders@marginize.com

If I had to write a check to just one company from TechStars’ 2010 class based on their presentations last night, this is the one I’d bet on. Marginize locates the social-media conversations going on around specific articles and pages on the Web and presents them right alongside those pages, using a special browser plugin (available so far only for the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers). Social Web annotation schemes have been tried many times before—Third Voice, which had a short run from 1999 to 2001, was probably the first. But these previous attempts failed because they couldn’t solve the chicken-and-egg problem, says Marginize CEO Ziad Sultan, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Longworth Venture Partners (which is already an investor in Marginize). As he puts it, “You need great content to get thousands of users, but you need thousands of users to get great content.” The startup solves that problem by populating the Marginize popup screen associated with any given page with existing comments relating to that page from Facebook, Twitter, and Google Buzz. It then draws more users into those conversations by adding that page’s address to any new comments that users add using the plugin. You sort of have to see this in action to understand it—but trust me, it’s cool, and it’s exciting to me as a Web journalist because it has the potential to reunify social-media conversations with the objects of those conversations, such as news articles.

CEO: Kevin Menard
Seeking: $325,000
Contact: founders@mogotest.com

If you’ve ever spent days slaving to make your website look perfect in the Firefox browser, only to find that it looks completely different in Internet Explorer or Chrome or Safari, you’ll understand the need for Mogotest. It’s a Web-based service for testing the look and functionality of websites across multiple browsers, and even multiple platforms such as PCs and mobile devices, including Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone smartphones. When a user feeds in a site address, the Mogotest software automatically discovers all publicly accessible pages in that site and tests them for inconsistencies. When it finds problems, it can highlight them in side-by-side windows or by overlaying one site on the other, semi-transparently. Not only that, but the software will isolate the portions of the website’s HTML code that seem to be causing the inconsistencies. Priced at $45 per month for individuals, or $200 per month for workgroups, Mogotest’s system will be available to Web developers everywhere starting next month.

Monkey Analytics
CEO: Francesca Moyse
Seeking: Not fundraising yet
Contact: founders@monkeyanalytics.com

Some problems, like analyzing the trail of behavioral data that Internet users leave behind by clicking through the Web, are so data-intensive that they require more computing power or more expensive software than average professionals have on their company servers, let alone their laptops or desktop machines. Monkey Analytics lets users offload their big data-analytics jobs to the cloud. If an engineer needs to run an extensive numerical computation using MathWorks’ MATLAB program, for example, he or she can simply launch an instance of that software on Amazon’s EC2 computing service through … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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4 responses to “Ten Startups Share Their Wares at TechStars Demo Night”

  1. Thanks for the clear write up Wade. I was sorry I could not be there–so this article of yours is the next best thing. It WAS great to be at the MITX Technology Awards and walk away with some award bling. Very exciting.

    Are you guys going to do a round up article on the MITX night?

    I am heading over to speak at the MTLC event at the NERD center now….you are right. You can’t turn a corner this month without walking into a cool event.

  2. Excellent write up one the 2010 TechStars companies Wade. Its been an amazing journey to watch all the entrepreneurs and their companies grow over the last 3 months. All teams did a terrific job last night!