I made it to the TechCrunch Meetup in Boston on Friday night, and it was a lot of fun. I appreciate the hospitality from the folks at TechCrunch (there was open bar for the duration of the event) as well as the sponsors. I managed to talk about half of the vendors who were there, as well as a lot of random folks who, like me, just wanted to network and see what was going on with start-ups in Boston. Personally, I got a lot more from the people who I talked to than from the exhibitors (and I think that they had better products and projects in the works). But here’s my take on the exhibitors that I chatted with:
Mzinga – B2B social networking, is how they explained it to me. What I don’t get about this service is that they launched at the event, but they already have 2.7 million registered users, according to TechCrunch. That’s a pretty solid user base for a newly launching product. Where did those users come from?
CoreBlox – The president & CEO did a very brief demo but had a hard time because his co-worker nearly spilled water on his laptop before someone else tripped on the wire and unplugged it, but my takeaway is that they are offering a free customer support tool that can be used by businesses. I didn’t get a good sense of the quality of the tool.
Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment – The people at this “booth” (I am not sure that it could be called a booth – cocktail table is more like it) were really knowledgeable and kind, especially since I don’t know much about online gaming, specifically MMORPGs (massive multiplayer online role playing games). The thing that really shocked me, though, was that this company is two years, $40 million dollars in, and has 100 employees and a solid management team (from the looks of its Web site), but it doesn’t yet have a live game. My conversation with them went like this:
Me: What’s your biggest game?
Them: Stargate Worlds.
Me: How many people are playing it?
Them: Oh, it’s not live yet.
Wow. $40 million in, they must be sweating it a bit.
NowHound.com – Live Webcast search is all I got from the demo before Erick Schonfeld (from TechCrunch) came over and the folks there spun around in a neat little circle to talk to him.
A personal note, my favorite part of the event was that I managed to drag along my good friend Denise Dubie. Denise and I worked together years back, but I haven’t attended a work event with her in years. It was so fun for me to see what a celebrity she has become in the IT world (she is a senior editor at Network World). For example, we walked by the Perkett PR booth and a couple of her story headlines were flashing on their screen, and at one point, I noticed some other people ducking and whispering about her before they came over to introduce themselves and shake her hand.
One of the guys in that group was Ross Levanto from Schwartz Communications, who was chatting with us for awhile. Our conversation was interrupted by some announcements by TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington and Schonfeld. One of the things that they did during that set of announcements was draw a winner to play in an online game by Moola for a chance to win $5,000. Ross’ name was picked. He went, played and ended up winning the cash. He celebrates in the picture below (sorry for the bad photo, I was using my iPhone in a dark and crowded room):