Reflections on MESH 2007

MESH Logo The MESH gang pulled it off. There were some interesting sessions this year. Jim Buckmeister of Craigslist gave us the inside scoop including the number of pages served per kilowatt hour and why Craigslist will be sticking with their simple design. Austin Hill of Akoha is focusing on social entrepreneurship these days and we are eagerly awaiting Akoha?s launch. Ted Murphy of PayPerPost who Mike Arrington called ?the most evil man in the room? faced off with Mike for the first time in person. Christine Herron of First Round Capital discussed porn affiliate programs and got everyone?s attention. Will Pate our Community Evangelist Extraordinaire shared his Theory of Awesomeness. Rick Segal of JLA Ventures provided an interesting breakdown on the natural evolution of startups. But the best sessions were held in the hallways; next year, rather than pay $400 for a ticket, you might just want to hang in the lobby.

At MESH there were 15 minutes of fame sessions that gave promising startups an opportunity to strut their stuff. We are going to be checking in with the featured startups at 15 days, 15 weeks, and 15 months to monitor their progress ? so stay tuned!

Wild Apricot ? membership management web service.
Contact: Dmitry Buterin, Chief Apricot

SneakerPlay ? invite only social network for urban youth into street culture.
Contact: Robleh Jama, Co-Founder

ConceptShare ? online collaboration for creative professionals.
Contact: Scott Brooks, Co-Founder

Demofuse ? easily create and maintain website tours.
Contact: Greg Thomson, Founder

Octopz ? online collaboration for creative professionals.
Contact: Barry Fogarty, Co-Founder

Five Limes – user submitted eco-friendly products and services.
Contact: Chris Sukornyk, Founder

Throughout the conference a recurring thought went something like this: MESH is a once a year event. Nice as it was, it does not compare to what is really driving Toronto these days: the TorCamp Community. I am not sure what I would do without our DemoCamps, OpenCoffees, Skype Swarm, and OtherCamps. What I do know is that I am thankful, very thankful. We have a great community that is building something week in and week out. So the very first Startup North Golden Compass goes to? drum roll? the TorCamp Community.

Golden Compass

Infonaut – Mapping Healthcare

Infonaut Infonaut is in the bird flu business. The Toronto startup (incubated at MaRS) provides governments with a Health Informatics GIS solution for pandemic preparedness and emergency response planning. Plain English: Healthcare Map Mashup, on which one can layer predictive indicators such as emergency response times, demographic data, hospital service areas, and even poultry density reports (don?t ask).

The Canadian Government knows all too well about dealing with pandemics (remember SARS), but don?t write off Infonaut as just making a quick sale using scare tactics. The web service is employed by a diverse set of clients; health insurance companies are using it to target populations interested in supplemental insurance plans.

I saw a demo of the product and it looks like a full featured web app. While other epidemiology GIS tools are available, few if any have preloaded data sets, map relative rss news feeds, markup tools, multi format import / export, streamlined document sharing, and most impressive – automated information propagation to healthcare providers.

Prevention is the best medicine and Infonaut is on the path to success.

Contact: Niall Wallace, CEO

Skymeter takes on Insurance, Tolls, and Meters

Skymeter Logo Skymeter is set on replacing parking meters, toll booths, and monthly insurance bills. Talk about big aspirations!

A prototype location payment system (think GPS black box) has been developed and the Toronto company is forging development relationships from Holland to Singapore. London?s congestion pricing program has perked the interest of governments around the world. Insurance companies such as Aviva and Progressive are considering implementing pay per mile vehicle insurance. And what city wouldn?t want ticketless parking? Greens are excited about Skymeter, as road use charges have the potential to reduce automobile emissions.

The business model is to capture a percentage of payment just like credit card companies. Sure getting the systems into vehicles is going to be a challenge, but we have high hopes for this MaRS incubated company.

Contact: Kamal Hassan, CEO
Blog: Bern Grush, Founder