LIVE: TechCrunch50 Conference: Meet The Dogs and Ponies

Earlier: Virtual fifth panelist weighs on TC50 finalists:

Company: icharts.  900 billion charts get printed every year, 20,000X as many as are online right now.  No simple service that lets you create online easily.  This is Youtube for intereractive charts. Simple, easy.  Can add audio commentary.  Can download all charts as Flash files, can embed anywhere including PDF, Excel, etc.  Launch customer second-largest publisher of scientific info.  Private and public versions.  Also has icharts portal, with data optimised for search engines (i.e., not images).

Stated use: Easily create and share interactive charts online.

Reaction: Love it.  May not be a huge business (feature vs. company), but damn does the web need one of these.  If as easy as he says, we will be using these on SAI instantly.  We’re a publisher, so different needs set than consumers, but a screaming need for this.  Business model is “pro” version. (Cuban suggests simple business is licensing to web finance companies.). Maybe also a business with portal (advertising).  DING DING DING DING DING

Company: Me-trks.  Google analytics for your body.  Learn about what stresses you out. Pulls in lots of data: Twitter, Facebook, Wasabi, etc.  Need to enter stress and mood manually with mobile app.  Can run correlations and trendlines.

Stated uses: Figure out what stresses you out?

Reaction:  Just doesn’t seem to be that much of a mystery what stresses most people out: not having enough money sucks, job stress sucks, etc.  Huge pain to send in data. (Kevin nails it: Sounds fun, then a chore.) Also trying to be all things to all people.  Kevin suggests tailoring to Wii Fit. Cuban suggests creating way to track data from all devices that output it.  Makes sense.  Current form… GONG

Company: exchangeP.  Virtual fantasy private exchange for trading private company stocks.  List private companies on fantasy exchange with 1 million fantasy shares.  Keep listing until liquidity event (IPO, sale, etc).  Web site looks like Yahoo Finance/Schwab.  Register, get $100,000 virtual dollars, go long/short any company listed.  Digg valued at $257 million.  Encourage rumours, speculation, trading. Monthly cash prizes.  Portfolio tools.  Widget for consensus valuation estimate.  Does it work?  Prices generated by real people, we think will be realistic.  No incentive to bid up or down unrealistically.  What about real money?

Stated use: Fun way to have Valley arrive at consensus valuation for companies we all talk about.

Reaction: Fun.  But for prediction markets to work, people need to have real skin in the game (i.e., real money).  So monthly prizes would have to be pretty significant and would have to be some way for people to actually lose money or you get wacky consensus estimates.  Cuban suggests open up for ANY market, which makes sense.  Good, fun idea, but hard to see really taking off in current form. If add way to trade real contracts–like Intrade–it will work. Until then…GONG

Company: EmergInvest.  “Emerging markets outperforming developed markets. You should be there. But how?”  We provide info on markets around world, we tell you how to invest.  Yahoo Finance for emerging markets.  Deep company coverage. Can tell you what investments your brokerage firm can make and suggest other mutual funds. 120 countries.  Watchlist features, etc.  Tools, indexes all embeddable.

Stated use: Help you find investment and market information outside the US.

Reaction: Won’t help you invest intelligently (this sort of information rarely does), but excellent web-based research/information tool and very much needed.  Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, etc. weak on foreign market coverage. Bloomberg, major brokers, etc., all have info, but not web-based. Probably gets acquired by Yahoo Finance or other at some point. Yahoo could do it, but hasn’t yet.  Could be white-label solution (good idea).  Not a huge business, but overall, definitely a need for this. Good idea!   DING DING DING DING DING

Company: PersonalRIA.  Most people can’t afford investment advice. So now web-based investment advice (personal registered investment advisor). Advisors register, each advisor constructs portfolio, blogs to members, explains why bought/sold each stock. Randomly assigned advisor. (And “advisor” here just recommends a portfolio).  Click “manage my portfolio.” Trades automatically triggered in your account to match advisors’ portfolio.  Afterwards, if advisor changes portfolio, yours automatically updated.  Quarterly web review conference.  Model: 0.5% wrap fee.

Stated uses: Cheap investment advice.

Reaction:  Cool functionality, but will be absolutely awful for investors.  Mutual funds already do a lousy job, as do most investment advisor stock pickers.  Far better advice would just be to help investors buy Vanguard index funds.  Company says it does “heavy due diligence,” but even this doesn’t help: So do mutual funds, so do stockbrokers, so do (some) investors who pick own stocks.  And 50 basis points for this service is actually a lot–and company presumably then has to split with advisors.  Huge compliance, legal risks. (What happens when investor loses shirt because advisor’s portfolio actually more risky than he/she said? Etc.)  GONG

Company: Popego. Content filter and recommendation engine.  Give it passwords to all your Web 2.0 sites, get just the meaningful stuff back.  Filter web, bring you “interest feed.”  Ranks items by % correlating to your interests (57%, etc).  Detects all your friends, connections. Can limit the types of content you see. “Interest slider”–just show me top 10 items today.

Stated uses: bring you a more meaningful web.

Reaction:  A bunch of possibly interesting features, but no clear problem solved. People already pretty good at finding the stuff they like–much more so than algorithms–and already lots of other companies providing automated filters (Digg, Facebook, etc.). No desire to have “the web know me.”  Entrepreneurs insist they are different because they’re “focused on interests.”  Nope. GONG

Company: IMINDI (Eye-mynd-ee).  Some sort of mind-mapping thing.  “Connect everyone’s individual thoughts into one core database.” “Building a collective mind on the web.”  “What we are about is not artificial intelligence. We’re about making us smarter.”

Stated uses: brainstorming, researching, thinking, learning. No specifics.

Reaction: Too vague, conceptual. No business model. No specific problem solved. Wants to be some sort of thought search-engine.  Wants to make money on advertising, of course.  Cuban nails it: “That just sounded like the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life.”  Thank you, Mark.  Entrepreneurs flail, try to un-clang the gong.  Cuban says “make it a corporate application.” Another good idea. Because will never work as consumer advertising business. GONG



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