DEMO 09 – Emerging Technology Finalists Reviewed

by Ryan Walker on September 11, 2009

in Start Ups, Venture Capital

I spent some time recently reviewing the 40+ emerging technology companies showcased as part of the DEMO 09 alumni. Reviewing the DEMO alumni list from any of the past years is certainly a worth while investment of time as any company on the list has been selected by a panel of industry experts and then invited to showcase their exciting new technologies to an investor audience in the US. From the DEMO 09 alumni I was most impressed with the companies below:


Kutano have developed a browser plugin that creates an additional window within the browser. TheĀ  new window within the browser then becomes a place where people can add comments, essentially creating a new type of public forum to share information related to any website, while still being located beside the website (visually), yet is independent of the website itself. Through a simple additional window within the browser the democratization of information and public opinion of any website is enabled. The Kutano demo is amazing and represents a potentially major shift in how users experience the web.

Kutano is a very cool idea and essentially puts a third party in between viewers and any website for a variety of benefits:

  • Users can place comments without needing to join the site.
  • Advertises can cross advertise, i.e. place ads beside their competitors websites.
  • The user will not need to jump from one website to another. Jumping between review websites and then restaurant websites is a real pain.
  • Creates a stronger context for user comments. For example a user can view a web page and see any tweets referencing that page. Relevant information comes to the user when they need it.


SmartyCard have created a website where children can play educational online games and accumulate points towards rewards such as popular books, toys and dvd’s. Great idea, a child safe website where education, fun and reward are combined is sure to be a winning – both with children and their parents.

Skout Out

Skout Out is a dating tool that helps singles find and flirt with others in their immediate vicinity. “Flirting” is enabled by high tech video screens placed in pubs that link singles to other singles via their mobile phones. On first inspection I thought this idea was absurd, but then considering a recent comment on the StackOverflow podcast that Plenty of Fish (a free online dating site) was a top 20 website in the US and Canada I reconsider just how strong the motivation for single people is to find members of the opposite sex :) Any technology that helps people get a date on Friday night is sure to take off – case in point Facebook.

So thats my top 3 from the DEMO 09 alumni.

P.S. I came across DEMO after recently meeting Chris Shipley at a Sydney OpenCoffee meeting. Chris is one of the DEMO panelists and a well respected authority on technology and technology adoption. Chris was visiting Sydney to be a part of the ANZAtech 2009 Gateway Focus Workshop.

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