The first to be called on stage was Pramati Software as they experienced setup glitches, BriteSoft took the stage. To quote from their website:
The BriteWorks platform enables users to create enterprise applications in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of traditional development methods. Applications are not developed from scratch, rather they are initialised with BriteWorks, a fully functional skeletal application out of the box that has all the functions and algorithms for processing transactional, interactive applications. BriteWorks comes with a host of runtime features and all the plumbing and infrastructure for n-tier deployment, thus removing this concern completely so that developers can focus on the business domain. The promise of the long awaited industrialization of software development is here.
They want zero coding application development, and they want to be powerpoint like for application development. BriteWorks can do well than just make lukewarm presentations events. They must evangelize and engage an active developer community. It is not enough to have a nice product, you need community and engaging the community is getting easier by the day.
RS: What is the need for a product like Dekoh in the marketplace today?
Vijay: Dekoh is a Rich Internet Application and Social Media platform on the desktop. Today desktop and web applications work as silos. Look-n-Feel, installation, access and technologies used to develop these applications are very different. Dekoh bridges the gap between desktop and the web. The “Rich” in RIA refers to richness in user interface (Flash and AJAX), richness in functionality (desktop and web) and richness in availability (online and offline). Providing a seamless user experience for applications on desktop and web in both connected and disconnected mode is the goal. This is the next frontier for internet applications.
Again from the same interview…
RS: Life is going on fine without Dekoh or Apollo or Google Gears. Some people may say you have a solution waiting for a problem. Your comments?
Vijay: Think about it, people said the same about telephones! I am not saying Dekoh is comparable in proportions to that, but Dekoh offers some unique features that can dramatically improve web experience of users. Offline is only one part of the story. The bigger thing about Dekoh, is it can change the request-response model of the web. For example, today users have to manually click to go to a website and look at new information or use the service. Dekoh can help users make time on the internet more productive by pulling content on their behalf. For online services, this is a platform to provide valuable user specific information even when the user is not on their site. This is a new paradigm.
I love the open source approach. Pramati must not just participate as a starup. They can play a bigger role in such events so that they can reach out to the developers more effectively. All the above aspects did not come out well in the 6-min presentation. The much talked about tag-cloud widget in action I’m not able to see in action. Its source, documentation and gory details of its inner workings are all available. No working tag cloud in sight. May be I’m too short attention spanned!
On Web2.0 the key frontiers are desktop and API publication(Dekoh.org API, Formats page is empty now!). If it is covered in a neat way with a single opensource tool it will be a winner. When that happens, Dekoh will be an example of the social media induced paradigm shift from making money ‘with’ to ‘Because of’.
Next on stage was InAsra Technologies presented by young and passionate( with ‘will take it to completion’ despite all odds, I love my India’ attitude) Yogendra along with COO Rupal. InAsra offers hotel booking from real lowend( Rs 95/night) to real high end. It takes a lot to get your processes working with low-end hotels. It is a relationship business. With more than 2 years of battle hardening( as Yogendra puts it) they have got the backend and process right. Now it is time for scaling and brand building. From the website:
We are a young and vibrant company motivated by ideals, excellence and perfection, backed by tons of youthful zeal, striving to make traveling as easy as having an ice-cream (and just as delightful). We know that your time is most precious, so we keep things as simple as it can get.
Cheers to them and They Will Be Successful. Period.
Next on stage was TolMolBol presented by Amit and Nitesh. The fine features of TolMolBol are explained through a conversation style dramatization. Earlier they gave an handout to everyone in the auditorium. I couldn’t help asking my designer friend Vasu from Universal Print System( who designed the proto booklet) if the handout was well designed. He suggested couple of quick repositioning to reduce the clutter and bring out the clarity.
TolMolBol is community driven local content that is mobile enabled. I saw a review of CreativeAxes who contacted individuals who participated in the proto.in event. From the review I see that proto.in works and so is TolMolBol! The About page of TolMolBol is interesting and says it all:
Anand Morzaria – The Ringmaster
Anand leads the business development and partner relationship functions for tolmolbol. He completed his masters in finance from BITS, Pilani, where he was also president of the university students’ union. Some of his pastimes include trekking, experimental cooking and amateur bar-tending.
Rithesh Prasad – Ideasmith
Rithesh drives all aspects of tolmolbol’s operations, data management, product design and strategy. He has 3 US patents pending and holds a B.E. (Hons) degree in computer science from BITS, Pilani. Outside of work, Rithesh enjoys spending time teaching computer skills to children and catching up on the latest blockbuster flicks.
Venkat Polana – Wizard of the Dark Arts
Venkat spearheads the technology development team of tolmolbol. An expert on the Java platform, he graduated from BITS, Pilani with a masters in finance. Apart from computers, Venkat is passionate about card games and astronomy.
Anshuman Dimri – Cool Vibes Generator
Anshuman is responsible for building the tolmolbol network of city-zens. He graduated from BITS, Pilani with double masters in general studies and software systems. In his free time, he dreams about sky-diving and that’s probably the closest he would ever get to doing it.
Amit Thakral – Cool Vibes Generator
Amit guides the community as well the business development activities behind tolmolbol. He holds a bachelor in chemical engineering from BITS, Pilani. A keen dramatist and dancer, Amit is also the co-founder of the NGO, Sparsh – A Healing Touch.
So Web2.0ish: design, people focus and differentiation all ingredients of success. How well they scale and how well they engage the community are the deciding factor of their success. I Wish them success!
Next on stage was TyRoo presented by Aditya Khanna. It is an Google AdWords/AdSense like service but more targetted and localized. They used double O in their name for good omen of such successful ventures. While google is a longtail company, TyRoo is targetting the longer end of the longtail too – interesting. Mindshare is what they need and they need to do more than present their case on stage. They have to go all out and make small time bloggers and small business talk loud about their service. Step on the marketing and evangelizing gas!
Next it was Pavan Kachibhatia and Chitra presenting about Cricko – a cricket based legal betting venture. Again mobile enabled to engage the aam admi(common man) in the street. Hey we are getting into really inclusive development here. Once one use case gets established, extending it to other services becomes easy. Cricket being the passion of everyone using it as a bulldozzer to make inroads into the the minds and hearts of the common man makes a lot of sense(both socially and biz wise). Another interesting trend in the Online gaming ( like SecondLife) is creating virtual goods and a virtual currency to facilitate transactions on them. Cricko has a lot of potential to play a role in the virtual goods/virtual currency space. A mobile based micropayment for goodies not linked to Rupee will potentially change the face of economy in India. When it is ubiquitous, beggers in India will get alms in virtual cash! Interesting venture – I wish they get them self a good ethics governance adviser on the C-Suite. Otherwise they falling prey to the criminal/underworld nexus is imminent. If it were to happen it will be a tragedy of a social/inclusive development( masquerading as vice at the first look) opportunity lost.
Next on stage was RouteGuru represented by Avinash Agrawal. Maps available in developing countries is their mission. The general tone of Web2.0 presentations at proto was all about local. And Maps is the basic building block for local services. Having said that, monetizing is maps/GIS information is not obvious. Especially when giants like google can disrupt the landscape at blink. RoutGuru’s approach of driving directions based on landmarks not just solves the India/developing country specific problem. There lies the proprietary component for building a business model. I recommend Amazon Web Services Mturk for sourcing data to power their RouteGuru. In the process they would have bootstrapped work at home/students Mturk workers earning extra cash with their PC and broadband connections. Trouble with Mturk is it is not already populated with workers, I’m doing something to cut the chicken and egg situation. There is literally a world to conquer for RouteGuru, profile of the people behind give me a hunch that they will ravel in the challenges. Wish them Godspeed to emerge successful.
Next on stage was
Delip Andra Gaurav Bhatia of MineKey. MineKey is a content recommendation service that will recommend contextual content and deliver the recommendation through the MineKey widget. It is Silicon Valley based and VC funded and located at IIT Khargpur. It is interesting in the Web2.0 kind of way like yet another social network. Adoption and what they do with the community is the key. I wish them success before the web2.0 bubble busts. What is the exit strategy of MineKey – I am interested.
The last to go on state in the mobile segment was Deepak of Genie Interactive. Their offering is Voiee a voice based platform. He demonstrated the ease of use of the integrated voicemail use case. Simply, it is a gateway from POTS network to web. There are many uses for it. I can think of running commentary like podcasting using the mobile phone. Subscription based and ad based revenue models are possible. Tie-up with telco will be a big advantage – but that is like belling the cat. The voice comment he left in the demo is still there in the Voiee blog( through their widget). They need to go beyond fear of technical murphy and embrace the user base. Step on marketing gas!