DEMO 2009 Wraps Up

Another DEMO conference has come and gone, and I just wanted to go over the coveted DEMOgod awards, given to the companies who have given outstanding presentations. They’re chosen for their style, passion and clarity in giving a six-minute pitch to describe their ideas for products or services before a tough crowd of tech journalists and venture capitalists.

Coveroo, the company I blogged about yesterday which makes the custom laser-engraved covers for wireless phones took home one DEMOgod award. This company turned out to be a popular one on the show floor, and I expect it to have a bright future.

Ontier, another which I featured in a video I uploaded late last night to YouTube which you can find here also took home a DEMOgod. This firm’s product, Pixetell, creates a way to seriously improve communications via email or pretty much any other medium. If you ever had a hard time collaborating on a document or project with a another person via email because you couldn’t get across exactly what you wanted to say,you’ll find Pixetell a useful addition to your productivity tools, that is if you’re a Windows user. Watch the video and I think you’ll see what I mean, or you can watch Ontier’s DEMO presentation here.

Skout, a late entry who I didn’t get a chance to cover in the curtain-raising slide show was a shoo-in for a DEMOgod award if only for the fact that its presentations were the first on Day 1 to bring some levity to the proceedings, which were, given the economic environment, unusually dour. Skout is basically a wireless flirting application for singles that runs on the iPhone, but the two guys who demonstrated it also unveiled a wireless kiosk/jukebox that was the hit of the show, which will go in singles bars and other places where 20somethings go to meet up these days. From your iPhone you’ll be able to dedicate a song to a girl or a guy across the room and have their picture attached to it. It looks like a lot of fun. Check out the presentation video here.

Gwabbit, a simple little plugin for Microsoft Outlook that automatically grabs contact information from an email and imports it in about two seconds also won DEMOgod. Precisely why Microsoft hasn’t added this very feature on its own is beyond me, but I’m delighted that Technocopia, the company that makes it, has brought this product to market. Outlook users the world over will be delighted to pay $20 for this head-slappingly simple solution to a grating problem. Its presentation is here.

Purewire, a reputation research company also won a DEMOgod award. Its presentation was incredibly smooth, and its product is, I think, badly needed in a world where people can so easily pretend to be someone else, and misrepresent themselves online. Its demonstration video isn’t yet on the DEMO Web site.

Avaak, the maker of the Vue camera also will be taking home a DEMOgod award. Its presentation was creative and fun, and its product appears to be one that I’m actually eager to try out. See its presentation here.

Also a DEMOgod, Silverstone Solutions: This is the firm that uses software to match people who need kidney transplants with suitable donors. Here’s another case where I wonder why something like this hasn’t been done already. I remember when my barber Tony needed a kidney and waited an agonizingly long period before one came available. It’s a great idea and I hope that the right party comes along to help this outfit scale up. See its presentation here.

Finally, Smartycard, the kid’s educational game site that gives prizes for points earned in the games won the people’s choice award. Someone I chatted with today told me that her parents used to pay her for good grades. It never occurred to me when I was a kid in school that I could be motivated by material or financial rewards to get good grades, and so I often didn’t, but whatever works to get kids to pay attention and fill their heads with useful information sounds to me like something that should succeed. The video of its presentation isn’t yet live, but I’ll update this post when it does become available.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.