The Launch startup conference in San Francisco ended tonight, and of the 120-plus companies that showed there, these five are getting the most buzz — and funding — as the show closes down.
- Green Goose, which turns your personal health into a game — you can earn points for each time you brush your teeth, exercise, or achieve other goals you’ve set up for yourself. The company was pulled on stage from the Launch Pad (demo pit) on Wednesday and panel members Shervin Pishevar and Jay Levy each offered the company $50,000 on the spot. rumour has it that the company is close to raising $500,000 from other investors in the 24 hours since then.
- Room 77, the grand jury prize winner, lets you choose the perfect hotel room based on its location — such as floor and distance from the elevator — and reconstructs the view from the room using Google Earth. Information about each room is collected by Room 77 inspectors or crowdsourced from guests, who are encouraged to take pictures of the exit maps and post them to the site.
- Volta, which offers A/B testing for phone calls, gave angel investor Dave McClure a “raging boner” and drew praise from the rest of the panel on stage as well. A/B testing is common on Web sites, and involves showing two different versions of a Web page to the audience and measuring which one gets more of the desired behaviour, like clickthroughs on advertisements. Volta applies the same principle to phone calls: companies can test two scripts and see which one results in more conversions.
- Hipmunk, a travel-booking service that shows flight times and layovers on a graphical grid so you don’t have to try and figure out which flight is fastest, and organizes flights in descending order of “agony.” The site just launched an iPhone app which seems to be inspiring the same kind of devotion that Pandora did when it launched for the iPhone back in 2008.
- Pen.io, which gives you a very quick and easy way to create simple text-based Web pages. It’s similar to a blogging service, but is designed for one-time creation rather than periodic updates — “set and forget,” as the site says. It’s perfect for resumes, creative projects like poems, short stories, and screenplays, or respond to tweets using more than 140 characters. The site won best design among startups from the Launch Pad.
Although these companies got the most buzz, the presentation that was talked about most was Takahito Iguchi’s introduction of Domo, a mobile app that lets you find nearby people with the same interests. Nobody quite understood what it was about, but you can’t fault the man’s enthusiasm. Check it out here: