I'm heading to the Launch Silicon Valley 2008 conference later this morning, where 30 new (or newish) companies will be doing the usual pitch to investors, analysts, and jaded journalists like me. But I did pick out seven new-to-Webware companies from the lineup that I want to learn more about. These are the most interesting ideas from my Web 2.0 perspective.
Cognisign does image matching. It can tell if two images are related by content, or pick out from a pool of images one that matches an input picture. Could be useful for organizing photos or enforcing copyrights.
Dayak is a service that helps employers find not people to employ, but rather recruiters to work with, who then find people to employ. In other words, it's a middleman site for middlemen. Wins my Chutzpah 2.0 award for the month. And it's probably a great business.
Emphasis Search helps medical professionals generate appropriate referrals for their patients. Need a good podiatrist? Instead of relying on internist to hook you up with his squash buddy, this system will match your medical needs with a provider's expertise, location, availability, and so on. Smart.
Modiface will make you look better. It's a tool that takes your pictures, and then smooths your wrinkles, slims you down, adds body to your hair, etc. It is being marketed as a tool for medical professionals and stylists, and will likely also be used successfully by all manner of snake oil salesmen. Somewhat related: Big Stage.
Previmed is being built to coordinate information about overseas medical care for people considering "medical tourism" to address their needs. Booming business. Very smart. However, barriers to entry for Previmed are not very high.
uTest collects the crashes of the crowds. It's a service that software developers can use to get just the beta testers they need to pound on their products. uTest coordinates all the bug reports and helps developers track them.
Vault Street helps users store their financial documents. You contract with it and then it acts as your proxy to collect bank and other financial statements for you. Better than having all those statements go to your e-mail, and much better than trying to keep them all in boxes in your basement. I don't know what it can do about the documents you already have, though.