Democamp Toronto 28

Last night was Democamp 28 at Ryerson University.  It was my first time attending a Democamp there and the venue was a theater format with the crowd very separate from the presenter.  This is great for viewing the presentation but it made for a less interactive Democamp.  As a result there was very little heckling or crowd interaction…

 

The evening opened with a presentation by Mark Ruddock, which seemed to be a bit of a rehash of his StartupWeekend presentation last year.  You can get the idea here if you do a search/replace of “VC” with “Startup” from his presentation here.  The most insightful content was during the QA afterward, that’s really where you got the impression that Mark has a lot of experience developing startups.   I particularly liked hearing how he grew Viigo using co-branded partnerships.

After a short pause the first demo was Kipu, which I think I first saw about a year ago.  Kipu provides the ability to track time in an interface very similar to Google Calendar.   Activities are very well tracked and totaled with nice colour codes.  I couldn’t help feel that this product should really be a feature of a product like Freshbooks.  Freshbooks already has a basic time tracking capability which can be directly connected with invoicing.

Rocketr was the next demo which provides the ability to aggregate short notes together among group members.   It felt a lot like Google Wave with a much simpler interface and Twitter integration.  The iPhone app looked interesting but I couldn’t see a firm advantage over just using Twitter with hash tags.

Attachments.me provides the ability to organize all your email attachments and as a long time Gmail user I think it addresses a definite need.  I’m often searching through my Gmail looking for a particular file attachment and I think email has been the default archive for many users ( YPG and its 150MB mailbox limit aside ).  I do think they will have serious scalability issues and ultimately this product should really be a feature of your mail client.  Gmail or even Outlook would be well served by providing a better attachment view.

Green Owl Mobile seems to provide mobile traffic reporting but the demo was a little disjointed.  I couldn’t see a definite advantage over Google Maps with the Traffic analysis feature.  When asked the only answer offered was that the Green Owl Mobile provides the ability for users to call-in traffic conditions via voicemail.  This seems largely irrelevant with aggregated traffic information coming from the speed of people traveling with cellular phones.

Trendspottr provides the ability to search and detect trends across Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.  This seemed to be an expanded version of the Twitter “Now Trending” functionality across multiple services.   Seems like an interesting idea and by aggregating content from multiple sites they should be in a good position to catch trends quickly.

TubeMote was the last demo and maybe the most confusing.  From what I understood it provides the ability to view synchronized videos from Youtube across multiple sources.  You can control what is played and hence the “remote” aspect of the product.  Videos can then be embedded inside websites,or viewed on mobile devices and kept in sync while multiple people watch.  I’m not certain the utility of this as I think the advantage of digital media for most users is the ability to watch on demand on your own time.

Overall a pretty good line-up of demos and apparently there were 22 applicants to demo this time.  Its awesome to see so much activity in the start up scene.  David Crow has issued the challenge for the next Democamp to feature all female presenters/founders.   The other common theme was that most companies are hiring and very few developers are looking for work.  If your thinking about learning to code it seems like a great time…

4 comments on “Democamp Toronto 28

  1. -

    Awesome review Colin! I missed DemoCamp this time around and so was happy to find this very detailed post that captured both the essence of the demoed products as well as the audience’s/ your unique perspective.

    Agree about Rocketr and TubeMote. I think theres some work to be done. Somethings missing… and the value prop isn’t as strong as it could be either. However, I have high hopes for Trendspottr and Kipu.

    Happy to know of the female presenters/ founders challenge, I can already think of a couple that would make for good candidates. Maybe I should go up next! I am hoping we’d have something ready to “demo” by then 🙂

    Cheers,
    Am

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  3. -

    Amrita, you should definitely consider presenting. Its a great venue to promote your products and get feedback from alot of people familar with the tech/startup industry.

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