Startups to make big pitch at Demo
Seattle Times technology reporter
In the time it takes to microwave two bags of popcorn, Clay Loges will have demonstrated how his company Yodio will become the next YouTube or Wikipedia.
The six-minute pitch by the Bellevue executive is part of Demo, an annual industry show where companies pay thousands of dollars for a moment to unveil products to an influential crowd investors and journalists.
Yodio is one of four local startups making presentations this week at the Palm Desert, Calif., event, which is dominated this year by companies developing Internet and so-called user-generated content applications. The other Puget Sound-area companies, all based in Seattle, are Trailfire, EyeJot and Mixpo.
Yodio is expected to present Wednesday, unveiling a Web site that allows people to package audio and pictures together to create postcards and slideshows that can be sent to friends or sold online.
Loges said the service can be used for sharing a photo free, or it could be used by, say, a fly fisherman who wants to sell a lesson on casting. Sharing a postcard with up to two minutes of audio is free. For anything longer, or for a slideshow, Yodio will ask that the content be sold on its site, with the company retaining a portion of the sale.
The four-person company has raised less than $1 million since being founded in 2005. Loges' background includes starting Speedi-Lube, a Seattle-based oil change business, about 30 years ago. Yodio co-founder David Jennings is from Microsoft, where he worked on speech technology and Microsoft Office.
Loges said he hopes Demo will provide a good introduction to investors that they will be able to turn to in case the company really takes off and they need capital to expand rapidly.
EyeJot: EyeJot was co-founded last year by David Geller, who was looking for a new way to communicate outside of e-mail or video-conferencing.
"EyeJot was started because there needed to be an intersection between traditional e-mail and chat," he said.
At Demo, he will be showing how users can upload short videos to its Web site and send them via e-mail to a user. The recipient can then view the video online without having to install software.
Geller started the company while also running WhatCounts, a Seattle company he co-founded that distributes permission-based e-mails. He is chief executive of both companies but is focusing most of his time on EyeJot, he said.
WhatCounts is profitable, while EyeJot is privately funded and has about five employees.
At Demo, Geller said he is mostly looking for publicity.
"Buzz is the most important," he said. "We think the product is well tuned for a viral growth event because it does appeal to a wide group of users."
Mixpo: On Wednesday, Mixpo will be lifting the curtain on its new media publishing service, which lets users easily put videos, audio and photos online, a process that could be considered difficult or require hiring a Web developer to accomplish, the company said.
Glenn Pingul, the company's vice president of marketing, said the service will appeal to a wide range of people, including models, graphic designers and photographers who may want to continually update their portfolios.
Anupam Gupta, Mixpo's chief operating officer, said multimedia experiences online are gathering more interest, but for it to take off, there has to be a simpler way for everyone to publish content.
The company was started in Victoria, B.C., by John Harley, currently vice president of research and development. It has raised about $6.5 million from investors, including Madrona Venture Group. It has about 20 employees and for now is based out of Madrona's offices.
Trailfire: At Demo, Trailfire plans to announce a new service that allows people to create and share a path on the Web by using annotations, or marks, that make up a "trail."
Going forward, the trails will be found not only on TrailFire's Web site, but also through other resources, such as a search engine or through ranking tools, such as Digg or del.icio.us. To do so, the trails will have a unique Web address, or URL.
The company was founded in 2005 by John O'Halloran and Pat Ferrel, who worked at Aldus, the Seattle desktop-publishing company sold to Adobe.
Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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