Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Startupalooza Continued

Sorry for taking so long to continue my write-up on Startupalooza. Anyway...

Bill Lynch and Matt Tucker, the co-founders of Jive Software spoke next. Their goal is to enable organizations to store their knowledge in Jive's collaboration environment, Clearspace, rather than in emails.

Jive was founded in 2001. They now have 2000 customers. They built the open source Jive Forums in college in Iowa, and subsequently moved to San Francisco. In late 2000 Sun Microsystems approached them (how nice!) and asked them to enhance the software; and pushed them to incorporate. They moved to New York with their business, but found it was too expensive to do business there. In 2004 they moved to Portland, and started over at staffing. Clearspace came out in 2004, at which time they had 35 employees. They now have 140.

They were funded by Sequoia Capital; and, surprisingly, they say Sequoia has never pushed them to outsource their development or move their development staff to a low-cost country (e.g., India or China). Hard to believe, given what I have heard in the past few years about VC's and boards of directors.

When asked, they said they don't see any competition coming from open source - their customers are looking at Microsoft and IBM as their competitors. They showed a surprising lack of concern for open source. With their short track record of quick success and growth, their attitude is understandable. But I think unrealistic. There are plenty of good, viable open source wiki and collaboration projects; and if they continue to maintain developer interest, they can only become more formidable.

I'm also surprised they didn't mention Atlassian's Confluence as a competitor. It's a good product, and it is actively maintained and enhanced. I know less about MindTouch, but I wonder if it will gain traction.

Following this presentation was a panel discussion about working independently. Sarah Gilbert, Justin Kistner, and Rick Turoczy were the panelists, and Adam Duvander moderated.

Following this, there were presentations of OpenId, ExpressionEngine (very pretty CMS - I'd like to research it further to see how deep the functionality is), Unthirsty (funny guys, and I'm impressed with the number of bars they've been able to compile), Earth Class Mail (they handle your mail for you - could be valuable to large organizations), Lunarr (web app that let's you add notes to the "back side" of web pages - interesting concept, slick interface, but I don't know how valuable it is), Sidecar (a gadget you add to your site to enable IM with visitors, provide them with information, and allow them to provide you with feedback - definitely valuable), MyStrands, Fyreball (allows you to post content on their site and share with your friends - I'd love to hear what new value this provides), Toonlet (enables you to become a creator and publisher of online comic strips - what a great way to waste time - seriously!), and I Want Sandy (an innovative devleopment of an automated assistant, though I'm nagged enough by my mobile phone, email, desktop gadgets, RSS feeds...).

All in all, it was a great day - I'm glad I went, and I look forward to the next one.

No comments: