MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.-It was a nervous time on March 20 for 32 CEOs and their fledgling companies at Under the Radar, an annual new-company showcase for venture capitalists held here at Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus.
This was their big chance to impress a large group of potential new investors and reassure their original financial backers that they, indeed, have the right stuff to succeed in the current IT market.
The companies were grouped in sets of four, for each of eight sessions. Each CEO or president had a mere six minutes to deliver a clear, compelling message about what problem his company's product solves and why that item will have enduring value.
PowerPoint and OpenOffice presentations were the order of the day, followed by a short period of time for questions taken from the floor for each company leader.
Only five of the 32 companies had any connection with social networking via the Internet. Last year and in 2006, there were many more on hand. This might be an indicator as to whether interest has peaked in the venture capital community regarding social networking startups.
Virtualization, in products that work on the desktop for consumers and business people and in products for software developers, seemed to be the hot themes of the day.
Several IT tool companies raised eyebrows and triggered lots of note-taking. One of them is called DeviceVM, whose Splashtop virtual desktop product enables users to instantly turn their computer on and off, using a Linux-powered launchpad in the BIOS that appears only seconds after one powers on.
For example, while Windows is taking its time loading in the background, Splashtop-using Linux-allows for immediate Net surfing via the Firefox browser, writing up a document on OpenOffice.org, and numerous other applications.
Other notable startups pointed out to eWEEK by several venture capitalist attendees at the event, included:
-Blogtronix, an enterprise-ready suite of Web 2.0 tools that include blogs, wikis, document management and RSS, already has some big-time customers, including Reuters, Red Herring and the Netherlands Business Support Office.
-3Tera offers simplified deployment and scaling of grid and utility computing for Web applications. Its operating system converts commodity servers into scalable grids on which users can visually operate and deploy transactional Web apps without any modification of code.
-Nirvanix provides online storage that is optimized for streaming media. It features a global cluster of storage nodes and patent-pending technology called The Storage Delivery Network that empowers any Web-enabled application to scale instantly to meet high demands for hosting and delivering millions of files, such as video, audio, photographs and documents.
-JumpBox offers a virtual appliance platform that enables Linux-based server applications to run as self-contained windows that deploy on an operating system in under one minute. In this way, installation of a separate Linux system isn't necessary on a server or desktop computer.
-HiveLive claims to be the first social-networking platform to deliver a site that integrates social networks with information networks specifically for business-focused communities. The company's new on-demand, Web-based application can support blogs, wikis, forums, chat rooms, polls, FAQs and other services.