“New company meetup” – it was the worst of times and the best of times

The new tech meetup started off tonight in typical enough fashion with 10 or so companies announcing that they’re hiring. If you’re a developer reading this from afar and thinking about coming to Colorado, the opportunities here are still huge. Then PodCamp Colorado was announced for “fall”. Watch the web site for more info.

Tonight, there was literally standing room only in the 300 seat auditorium at CU. You could tell everyone was expecting an April fools joke this late in the day.

Gnip announced that it had funding from Foundry Group and was hiring developers in Colorado. UI people need not apply as there is “no UI” in the product. Cool. The company is founded by MyBlogLog founder Eric Marcoullier.

Sean Loving (founder of Skyetek, which has raised $20 in venture funding) showed off Favorite VRM. Doc Searls came up with the concept of VRM which is the inverse of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The idea is to turn CRM on its head. CRM is not for the consumer, it’s for the vendor. Favorite VRM instead allows consumers to request proposals from vendors, and puts them in control of the conversation. In this model, consumers “acquire” vendors, not the other way around. Seems almost obvious, doesn’t it? My favorite question from an audience member after this five minute powerpoint was “Can you walk me through from start to finish, exactly what it is you’re talking about?“. Awesome.

Jonathan Epstein then talked about Treatment Exchange, which is an application for delivering, monitoring, and managing rehabilitative care online. I first met Jonathan about a year ago when he had this idea. Jonathan said he wanted to talk about “market progress” and not “software” and invited the audience to contact the company to see the software. Oh, and like everyone else, they’re hiring.

Let me pause here for a second. The new tech meetup here in Boulder keeps growing, but I still think Robert needs to insist on tech demos, not company pitches and hiring announcements. Perhaps somebody should start a “new company meetup”. I don’t think many people would attend. I don’t mind hearing pitches, but the new tech meetup is not the place. Show us something cool, or go to the RVC. Know your audience.

Finally we got to something audience appropriate. A joke on April Fools Day.

Jason Mendelson (of Foundry Group) saved the night by lightening it up about 47 notches.

Jason presented the Flatirons United Capital Corporation. It’s a new investment fund here in Colorado, and raised 500 million dollars. The fund plans to buy all Boulder companies to compete with Facebook and Google. The target is to acquire 25 companies within 3 months. David Mandell pointed out that the company name is too long and that the company should consider abbreviating it. The guy next to me asked intelligently “Is this an April fools joke?” – Enough said.

We then heard from OpenVest Research, who presented XBRL, which is “what a corporate financial statement would like if it were created by a mutant, alien accountant bitten by a radioactive XML spider.” Cool. Full presentation here if you care. Bueller?

Thank The Magic Diety in the Sky for SurveyGizmo, who is doing well and is having an open house at their new digs in downtown Boulder later this week. The room erupted with glee when they showed actual technology that was cool, as well as “a demo of Keynote transitions.” SurveyGizmo has a very deep and well established product for creating, managing, and analyzing surveys. If you’ve experienced Survey Monkey, it’s kinda like that but has a more “enterprise” feel and is targeted slightly upmarket. It has nice-to-have features such as two-way Salesforce integration and stuff like scalability (they currently handle 20-40k responses per minute). Pricing ranges from free to $159/month. Go check it out if you need to find out what people think, and you need it to be real.

Earthspace is yet another incredible app from the total badasses at Churchill Navigation. It’s a geobrowser that demos much better than Google earth. This was a truly mindboggling demo of the power of spatial data that I cannot do justice to here in words. They showed a social application coupled with a truly fantastic map based user experience. Super hot.

OK, so I’m less grumpy now. At least it ended well.


file under: Blog, Startups