You won’t know what these companies are up to from the names, but soon most of the TechCrunch 50 startups will be online: http://www.techcrunch50.com/2008/conference/presenters.php
Thanks to live streaming of the conference it’s almost like I’m watching / listening right now.
I still think that the startup ecosystem is wildly unpredictable, and more like an evolutionary process where the losers drop out and winners bubble up as a result of processes that effectively swamp out factors under the direct control of the players. Google, Yahoo, Myspace, Facebook and most of the huge success stories with online technologies not at all the product of tight, rational, “follow-your-perfect-biz-models”, instead their success were the product of social forces as much as technological ones or tech implementations at the companies. I think this is even more likely as the number of new internet companies has mushroomed from hundreds per year to tens of thousands.
Of course the TechCrunch 50 is not simply a selection process. By exposing the companies to key players representing billions in prospective venture capital, it is a surprise that virtually all of these companies don’t enjoy at least modest success. This is only year two so it’s not clear how last year’s companies will fare ove time though early indications seem to suggest … not that much better than other startups.
TechCrunch 50 began today. It is the brainchild of Jason Calacanis and Mike Arrington of the TechCrunch blog and is by far the world’s most influential startup conference, effectively eclipsing “Demo” in terms of buzz and influence. Judges include some amazing folks like Marissa Mayer of Google, Mark Cuban, and many more luminaries of the startup world. Unlike Demo where you pay about 18,000 to strut your startup stuff, TechCrunch 50 is free to those startups chosen to participate and offers other “Web 2.0” sensibilities I really like. 52 startups will debut at the conference and in a KUDO MOVE they are live streaming the entire conferece here: TC 50 live stream
Arrington and Calacanis are really exceptional BuzzMeisters. One of the startups they are showcasing was allowed to announce it beforehand, unlike those of the unknowns. Blah Girls, by Ashton Kutcher and his hollywood production partner, promises to be … ?
Note: I can claim the prestige – or lack thereof – as a TechCrunch 50 loser as our Retirement project failed to make the final 50 out of over 1000 applicants for spots at the conference. We could have gone into their demo pit – a discounted version of normal conference attendance where you still get access to the key players and get to show your stuff – but we opted out of that. Retire USA won’t officially launch for several months as we’ve slowed our project development but we still promise a great website, blog, and resource for retirement lifestyle planning at any age.