Monday, November 5, 2007

Wireless Seed Stage Forum—Using Wireless technology to Enable Startups

The ATI and CTAN held a Wireless Seed Stage Forum today at the UT Club. It was the first time I’ve been to the UT club, and I must say it was a nice venue. We had 16 wireless entrepreneurs from across the country including California, Chicago, Huntsville, Pennsylvania in addition to Texas-based companies.

The most inventive presentation goes to Agilemesh which makes mesh-based surveillance equipment targeted at military and law enforcement units. Instead of the standard 15 slide presentation, the entrepreneur built a wireless system for us demonstrating the ease of setup and use. I could have used a little more information about their business plan as I now know how to setup their system, but I have no idea how they make money, what their business model is, or who is their competition.

A common theme throughout the day was traditional businesses seeking an outlet on the mobile phone but not quite knowing how to make money out of it. Entrepreneurs showed off solutions. One example of this is Advanced Mobile Solutions which pushes newspaper content to the mobile phone.

Zibadoo won the greatest interest from CTAN members. Zibadoo generated point of sale coupons for mobile phone users who request information about a particular service/product. During the presentation the entrepreneur gave the audience a code to text message and in return the user received a coupon for a free pizza.

RFMicron another Austin-based company, makes RFID tags that work in any geography and on in surface. By using a signal processing algorithm they are able to tune the RF frequency to the range mandated by each region of the world and also correct for the surface on which the tag is placed – whether it be metal, insulation or liquid. This is useful since RFID tags operate differently based on the material to which they are attached.

Syner Ip combined VOIP and WiMAX to provide telephone service to Hispanics living in the US.

Benesec is a 4 month old startup from California that performs mutual authentication for credit card purchases to prevent fraud.

HEMS technology makes wireless network devices for homeowners who want to monitor and control their electricity consumption in the home.
Q-track used an interesting technology called Near Field Electromagnetic Range to perform real-time tracking of a subject or device.

Yuvee showed off an advanced user interface on the PC that could download to the mobile device a new definition of the keys. One could turn a key into a speed dial for a particular website such as CNN, to get that content on the mobile phone. The interface was quite slick as it look like a virtual phone keypad that hovered over the tablet PC screen. By pressing on the touch-sensitive screen, the entrepreneur was able to adjust what the keys on the phone would do. It was like having a virtual mobile phone that you could reprogram by just touching the keys (and in some cases entering web-link information).

The event generated buzz among the investors in the room. Now let’s see if it generates some checks.

Best regards,
Hall T.

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