Seven startups compete in MobileBeat contest

Ronny Kerr · July 16, 2009 · Short URL:

Two minutes to pitch your company: Ready? Go!

VentureBeat held an interesting startups contest at its 2009 MobileBeat Conference this morning, where two “Tesla” awards were granted to the two winning startups.

Seven startups no older than three years sent their representatives up stage, one at a time, to deliver their two-minute long pitches to a panel of judges. The judges: Stephan Noll of T-Mobile Ventures, Greg Tarr of Cross Pacific Capital, Anand Iyer of Microsoft Bizspark, Bob Borchers of Opus Captital, and Nagraj Kashyap of Qualcomm Ventures.

Here’s a roundup of what each mobile services startup has to offer:

AppVoyage is a platform that provides users with a set of tools for using web content to quickly and easily make new mobile phone apps. Currently targeting both the Android Market and the Apple App Store, founder and CEO Sagar Golla believes his startup can bridge the gap between developer and user.
Touchnote, bringing together a team of printing experts, mobile developers, and business partners, is a new service that can be directly integrated into any iPhone app, enabling users to order prints of photos to be mailed anywhere in the world. CEO Raam Thakrar believes his company can help app developers monetize their product by tapping into a $500 million photo printing market.

Busted Loop, launched this past May, is aiming to be the number one App Store aggregator of every statistical detail for every app in every country with data compiled everyday. Asked by a judge how the young startup will draw in revenue from a store where 90% of the apps are free, co-founder Josh Kastelein replied, “I don’t know. Next question?”

is responding to the “brokenness” in the regular Apple App Store with a full-fledged independent web-based service with developer and app profiles. Co-founder Chris DeVore said today that the company plans to expand into other mobile markets.

Boku is a payment service attempting to tap into, according to co-founder Ron Hirson, a perceived $8 billion market with a frictionless payment system. Once publishers integrate the system into their applications, customers need only input their mobile number; they immediately receive a text message, accept the charges, and are charged through their carrier.

Urban Airship is developing services that streamline push notifications (a feature recently extended to third-party iPhone apps) and in-app purchases. CEO Scott Kveton says revenue will be collected per push message.

ZOS Communications, taking advantage of the explosion in location-based services, seeks to create a mobile location standard that can be utilized by users of iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian devices. CEO and co-founder Jon Ziskind believes standardizing location-based communications has a big future.

After each company had pitched, moderator Natali Del Conte of CNet instructed attendees on how to text-vote for their favorite startup, while the judges decided on their own favorite. The judges sided with my lonely vote, picking AppStoreHQ as the best new startup. The popular vote went to Touchnote by a 30% margin.

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AppStoreHQ ( is a new way to discover mobile web applications. We’ve hand-picked a set of the most authoritative blogs on the topic and present what they discuss in a format that makes it easy to browse and discover the best of the mobile web.

We built AppStoreHQ because we love trying out new mobile web apps (not just on the iPhone, but on Android and Blackberry too) but found the “official” store experience hard to navigate. With over 40,000 iPhone apps (and counting) we figured it was time there was a real shopping experience for mobile apps, and since we didn’t see one out there we decided to build it ourselves.