Since I couldn’t attend TechCrunch Disrupt in person, I did the next best thing -- streamed it to my computer. I didn’t get to watch the entire event, otherwise my productivity really would have suffered this week, but I was able to catch some of the highlights right from the comfort of my desk.
If you missed it, here’s a link to watch the video highlights from the event: http://techcrunch.com/disrupt/video/
Here’s a few cool start-ups that caught my attention – the winner, a finalist and just a cool, fun company with a cute idea.
Getaround -- Winner
Getaround is a new way for people to conveniently share cars and promises to “disrupt car ownership,” according to the company’s founder and CEO, Sam Zaid.
The idea is that you sign up for the service, which is free, and you can rent your own car out to people and earn money or you can rent someone else’s car for a small fee.
At the show, they announced an iphone app for Getaround, a car kit, and a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway to provide insurance coverage for the service.
It is impressive and has potential to have a big environmental impact if it takes off. I can see this being popular in urban areas where it is sometimes cost prohibitive to own a car but at the same time you need a car from time to time to take you to the places that public transportation cannot.
Congrats to Getaround for winning the big prize!
Sonar -- Finalist
Sonar is about making connections. In his own words, the founder Brett Martin describes it as “a mobile app that uncovers the connections that you all share with you all.” Ok, so maybe not the most eloquent way to describe a service, but it does sum it up quite well.
Basically it helps you find people in a social situation who are relevant to you and things such as friends you share on Twitter and Facebook and how you are connected. So, you can quickly track down the people who may be your next business partner, developer or customer.
To do this, it pulls this information from what is already shared about you publicly, so if you are engaged in certain social networks, people can also find you.
What I like about it is that it adds another dimension to the networking scene. In a room full of hundreds of people you can find out who may be relevant to you and worth striking up a conversation with. What I don’t like about it is that it takes away the spontaneity and mystery of meeting someone new and getting to know them more naturally.
Personally, I would have voted for Sonar over Getaround, but I’m glad it at least made it to the finals.
Gnonstop Gnomes -- Cool Idea
This was an idea hatched out of ChurnLabs by AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. The product is build around gnomes and having one in your pocket (via your smartphone) that travels around with you and can then be handed off to a friend on their device.
It reminds me of the Flat Stanley concept popular among elementary schools where a student mails Flat Stanley to a friend or relative in another city and that person carries him around for a few days “showing him around” and than mails him back to the student with a full report on where he’s traveled.
The gnome can provide updates on where he is, what he is doing and who he is with. For example, the one in the demo – Lebowski – visited David Letterman, along with other sites around
. New York City
I see this being one of those addicting apps like Angry Birds or Farmville that spreads like wildfire and captures a lot of buzz.
Overall, there were some very impressive companies and technologies showcased at TechCrunch Disrupt. It will be interesting to see which ones make it big and which ones fade into the sunset.
It was fun to view the event remotely. Maybe next time I’ll have to attend in person and bring my gnome, use Sonar to meet the people I really need to know, and use Getaround to get around while I am there!