Sunday, May 11, 2008; 1:09 AM
Women 2.0 held its second pitch event today on the kempt grounds of the Stanford Golf Course Grill. It was a chance for five private tech companies with at least 50% female ownership to compete for a prize suite of business services collectively worth $15,000, plus a chance to meet with Esther Dyson.
The five finalists - Koollage, Gaiagy, Skillshop, Webvet, and Passive Devices - were chosen by 20 professional investors out of a pool of over 125 submissions. They each had 10 minutes to pitch their companies to attendees and a panel of 9 judges, after which the judges picked an overall winner and the crowd voted for a People's Choice winner.
Koollage took home the main prize with its mashup service that focuses on delivering content to mobile devices, and the iPhone in particular. Users can create widgets called "pods" that mix different types of digital media such as video, images, and search results. These pods will be marketed primarily to bloggers who want to get their content and related media onto mobile devices. A freemium pricing scheme will provide two options: a free version with a revenue split on ads, and a paid version with no imposed advertising. Tumblr is said to be the closest non-mobile competitor.
People's Choice winner Gaiagy will give building owners (both individuals and businesses) personal recommendations for how they can most economically make their operations more "green". The site will focus on three primary areas: space heating and cooling, water heating, and lighting, with a beta version of the lighting tool slated for launch at the end of the summer. Gaiagy will not only recommend building products that can be bought directly online, but it will also rate and refer the installers who are needed for many eco-friendly upgrades. A second version of the service with recommendation tools for 6 products will be launched by 2009.
Of the three other presenting companies, WebVet was the most promising web service. The site aims to be " WebMD for pets" - a place where people can find professionally produced and organized information about animal health issues. The company will license content from industry experts as well as employ 25 writers. While people often use WebMD for self-diagnosis, Webvet wants to avoid the fate of attracting visitors only when their pets are sick, so it will provide additional content relevant to pet ownership such as human interest stories and breaking news.