Five startup companies were selected for top honors yesterday at the DEMO Fall 2014 Conference held in San Jose, California. The honors, known as "The DEMO Gods," recognize companies who successfully communicated the power and value of their emerging technologies before a high-level panel of investor judges in a pressure-packed four minute presentation during the two-day gathering.
Produced by IDG, the DEMO conferences are highly regarded for their ability to identify cutting-edge products and often serve as a crucial launch pad for small companies seeking to break away from a crowded field of tech entrepreneurs. Companies who got their start at DEMO over the years include E*Trade, Salesforce, Tivo, VMware, and TrendMicro.
The DEMO Gods this year come from a diverse set of fields covering the work cloud, mobile, smart data, wearables, and hardware.
Ghostery showcased a new app for businesses that can track delays and security vulnerabilities in vendor websites. The highly visual display makes it easier to see where the blocks are occurring and fix them quickly.
During his DEMO presentation, Ghostery CEO Scott Meyer mentioned one of the most infamous users of his products: Edward Snowden. The NSA whistleblower disclosed that he used Ghostery while addressing a tech conference in Austin, Texas via video feed from Russia earlier this year.
Another DEMO God winner was PathSense who introduced technology that promises to deliver precise GPS location data without draining a smartphone battery. It can be integrated into iOS or Android and claims a significant 90% reduction in battery drain.
In the wearable and hardware category, Curb was recognized for its sensors that provide alerts to users over home energy use. Their product analyzes every electric device in the home and can send a mobile notification if you leave the lights on or forget to turn down the heat while you are gone.
Celect presented a new predictive analytics platform designed for use by retailers to make smarter decisions about which products to sell in a particular location. The technology for their tool was developed by MIT researchers.
In the area of personal finance, Student Loan Benefits invented an Internet-based 401k for student loans. Their website, which is being marketed to employers as a workforce benefit, collects student loan details and determines the best options for easiest repayment.
One of the previous DEMO God award recipients also made an appearance during the conference and talked about the impact of the award. Marcus Weller, CEO of Skully Systems, introduced a product at last year's DEMO Fall gathering that was essentially a fighter pilot-grade helmet for motorcyclists, with a heads-up display and rear view camera.
Before his appearance at last year's DEMO, Weller said his company had barely logged 500 pre-orders. After winning the DEMO God award, Skully received 20,000 orders in two days.
"DEMO allowed us to build a community quite rapidly," said Weller.
At the start of their presentation before the judges this week, the founders of Student Loan Benefits tossed a stack of dollar bills in the air which floated over the stage and into the audience, reinforcing their company motto to "make it rain financial wellness." For them and the other four DEMO winners this week, money might begin raining on their startup companies for real.