I'm up at the Venture Capital in the Rockies Conference today taking in this year of companies presenting for new investment rounds of finance. Several interesting companies presented this year but for me the ones that stood out were:
Alliance Health Networks who build social information vertical web sites that allow people with various medical conditions to collaborate about their affliction but also connects companies marketing to these people a vehicle to their audience. Having spent a good deal of time watching readers interact with publisher web sites I know that medical conditions are a high collaborative effort between site visitors to share ideas. Super intent means super engagement.
Iggli is an interesting idea to remove the barriers to facilitating event ticketing for groups of people. People tend to want to attend concerts and other ticketed events in groups but this always leads to the problem where one person has to foot the bill for everyone and then ends up with not enough or too many tickets (the loser friend syndrome). Iggli leverages the social behavior of scheduling these events in common social tools to facilitate a transaction that everyone can buy themselves but are tied to together for seating. It's cool.
Justin's Nut Butter is a natural peanut butter product in an innovating single serving packet. I think based on the niche they found they will be the next Izzy and the team that Justin has put together suggests that's exactly what he intends to do. Distribution deals with health food staples and Starbucks make this investment look awesome. Plus Justin is really fun to watch talk about peanut butter.
Cocona has built a strong brand for an early stage company producing fibers and now cloth that are built from carbon sourced from Coconut fiber. There are a lot of reasons why this is advantageous but what I like is the strong branding they have done to date. They are following the Goretex model where the material brand eclipses the clothing brand and that provides for a strong annuity stream for the future.
Aspen Avionics builds glass cockpit line replaceable units for existing private aircraft. Their stuff is very affordable and provides greater safety for these pilots. Plus if you know a private pilot they like cool stuff they can afford. Their stuff, installed - is less than 50% the cost of the closer competitor and Aspen is seeing growth in the market downturn.
There were a lot of interesting things I saw today but these are the opportunities I would pursue, IF I did that for a living, which I do not. Personally I think the ideas were stronger than last year. Lot's of fun.