By Cliff Reeves
Starhome http://www.starhome.com/… Starhome is a mature (established late 1999) and very-well funded firm with over 120 MNO customers worldwide., and a very close relationship with Vodaphone. They are attempting to bridge the divides between mobile networks and between mobile and fixed-line environments. Starhome allows carriers to “wrap their users in a bubble of value-added services” that remain available to them when they roam. It also allows visitors access to the carrier’s services. In addition to roaming services they provide services across network types. For example, they can provide PBX-like services like videoconferencing (usually available via an enterprise service) that allow the user to continue on a cell network, a videoconference begun on a corporate network.
Olista http://www.olista.com/ … Olista, a three-year old company, targets mobile carriers with a service adoption management (SAM) platform. There is a modest professional services effort to customize the SAM platform to the carrier’s environment, but once in place, the SAM platform monitors the experience (eg data from WAP gateways) of each user. Olista analyses performance issues (multiple duplicate downloads, slow downloads, etc) and alerts the carrier. Over time, the SAM platform can implement rules which will automatically handle (similar to MOMs agents) recognizable situation. In addition, Olista can analyze the usage of the carrier’s portal, identifying areas of low use, and where trials are not pursued. Individual user performance can be analyzed. For example a heavy user whose usage has recently declined can trigger an alert. If a customer downloads content more than once, the carrier can notify the user and void charges, perhaps directing the customer to better training on downloads. Olista can also identify group of users who ccommunicate with each other and use, say, MMS, and can then ensure that they receive promotional material and pricing that encourages and supports their use. Olista can be licensed on a traditional basis or via a shared risk (increase in ARPU) model. Olista has a particularly strong customer base.
Asocs http://www.asocstech.com/ … fab-less semiconductor … software-reconfigurable chip targeting multi-protocol, multi-technology convergence handsets. The chip is re-purposed dynamically to work in the most effective way with different kinds of communication: Cellular and wireless, for example. This dynamic configuration allows the chip to exploit different syles of parallelism for the different kinds of communication, resulting in improved battery life and better performance of tasks such as viewing video.
Nexperience http://www.nexperience.com/… remote access and automatic testing of user experience on handsets. This is targeted at mobile operators, handset vendors, and ISVs who need to test a number of phone types in a number of different networks and countries. Nexperience provodes a cradle and rack system in which multiple phones can be loaded and tested in on one mobile environment, while being monitored centrally. The video and voice interaction with the test script is controlled centrally and all interaction (the image is captured by a camera) is transmitted back to a monitoring server. The test script can evaluate take action based on responses and QoS. Nexperience’s currently targets mobile carriers and the people who build apps for them.
Flash Networks http://www.flashnetworks.com/asp/main.asp .... mobile data quality of experience. Another company (like Amobee) addressing the issue of providing users access to more content across more mobile networks. On handsets, Flash optimizes the viewing experience (ensuring, for example that a YouTube FLV can be viewed on a particular handset, and converting it to another form, if necessary) as well as providing content control. Content can also be customized by the carrier to adapt to the user’s profile. A businessman, for example, may have a BMW ad placed in the stream. Detailed knowledge of the handset (they support about 3,00 user agents today) and the user (inferred from behavioral analysis) is a central element of Flash’s value.
Jajah. http://www.jajah.com/ …. Server-centered VoIP plus PSTN for consumers. You make a phone request from your PC or mobile phone, providing the two endpoint numbers. Jajah makes the call over VoIP and PSTN and handles all billing and payment. Jajah integrates with a number of address books and also Outlook. Jajah has also added convenient buttons that can be added, for example. The recipient clicks the button to call the sender. Jajah is also one of the EBT Acceleratorcompanies.
Amobee http://www.amobee.com/main/hp.htm… Amobee is both a software company and a business development and sales service. They provide a comprehensive set of offerings for mobile operators, application developers and agencies. For mobile operators, Amobee provides a telco-grade ad serving platform. For developers they provide an SDK which allows the application to be subsidized by contextual ads and access to agencies and advertisers who will place them. For agencies, the platform provides campaign management services and a catalog of mobile inventory
Silent Communications. http://www.silentcom.com/ … Silent communications provides features likely to be attractive to carriers who want to increase call completion by providing multiple ways to respond to unanswerable voice calls. For example, if you receive a call while in a meeting you can silently send a voice reply that suggests you begin a SMS session. You can also carry on a silent voice conversation using a set of predefined responses or statements. The opportunities here are endless :-)
While visiting Israel the week of the 15th October, I met with a number of startup companies in meetings set up by their investors.
I was struck by the apparent completeness and no-nonsense business approaches of the companies. They appeared to me as strong as the best I saw at Demo Fall 2007last month.
Mobile platforms and mobility-centric consumer companies dominated. The mobile platforms are targeting download speeds, matching content to devices, and attempting to link the walled gardens between content providers and mobile carriers. The consumer mobile apps exemplify the trend toward “lifestream” applications like Twitter and Jaiku(acquired by Google), in which the mobile phone delivers real-time information as well as a journal between a user and the user’s community.
I'll provide a brief overview of each company, collected in posts organized by the investors who introduced them:
First, Yoss Vardi's companies (all of them on Windows Server, btw)
ATLAS CT http://relive.atlasct.com/ … ATLAS CT provides a vector-based (for speed and readability on different devices) mapping and community platform targeted at mobile users. ReLive is an application built to show off the platform, but it’s extremely slick in its own right. ReLive tracks a user’s travel and associates photos and notes with key locations. Users can share and relive (via browser) the experience with others. The client currently requires a GPS phone, but Atlas CT is working to support other location services (carrier triangulation, WiFi).
FRING http://www.fring.com/ … Voice-enabled Mobile IM (i.e. voice over IM). Fring just got an $11M 2nd round from Northbridge Ventures. Here are Dave Drach’s notes on Fring from the recent Demo in Germany (thanks, Dave): Mobile VOIP – peer to peer. Works with all IM clients. Works with over 400 mobile devices. Works with Windows Mobile. Works without the SIM card. Mobile carriers gotta love that. Ultraroaming – and whisper. Can move between types of wireless networks, i.e. from WIFI to 3G, etc. Presence is constantly updated. Phone used without SIM card – it found the wireless network and dynamically connected and continued the call. Fring won the demo gods award.
Speedbit: http://www.speedbit.com/ … download/upload accelerator. Speedbit analyzes network speed and file availability to improve file up- and download by downloading conent from multiple sources simultaneously rather than one. There are three products, all built around the network optimization core. Top Story ion Businessweek.com: Speedbit claims to be able to download a movie in approximately 20 minutes
Dyuna http://www.dyuna.com/ … a mobile entertainment platform which allows a federation of mobile carriers and content providers. Dyuna has built relationships with content providers and indexed content and facilitates cross-selling and usage analysis. Essentially, Dyuna is addressing the built-in conflict between the carriers (who want exclusive access to content shipped on their networks) and the content owners (who want the broadest possible reach). Dyuna provides a content catalog, carrier provisioning, billing and settlement, and content-relevant advertising. They have agreements with a number of content providers in Israel, including Orange Israel.