echelon

The winner of Echelon’s India satellite, Hoverr, caught my eye.  Their business is about putting ads in front of websites’ images; what they do is analyze what’s in the image and then serve a targeted ad.  For example, if the photo is about a car, why not serve an ad for the latest BMW.  People don’t look at banner ads in the usual places but they do look at a story’s photos, so not only can the ad be more compelling it can also have prominent placement.

It’s an interesting idea.  I wanted to vote for them to win Echelon until they freely admitted they were a copycat, and about the fifth or sixth to the market too.  You can’t win a start-up competition by being a clone, can you?

I recently saw such an ad — I don’t know if it was Hoverr’s or one of their competitors’ — and I almost coughed up my drink when I saw it.

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I’ve been to every Echelon since it began, and the conference has changed a lot over that time. Everything is bigger, slicker, more polished. A reported 1700 attended the conference! There are more interesting people from a wider variety of backgrounds. Ideas are well researched and articulated. Start-ups pitch well and are better funded; you can say almost professional.

The tech scene’s maturation is unbelievable; like watching a child grow up into a young adult.

While so much of this is good, I have noticed two trends that while are not yet concerns, can easily be if we as a community are not careful.

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e27’s Echelon is the TechCrunch Disrupt of South East Asia; it’s the region’s largest and arguably most influential tech conference.

Echelon also has its own start-up battlefield, and in cornerplay tradition, we’re giving our high level assessment on the winner: Taamkru, an iPad educational game for kids five and below (iOS only for now).

In the words of the company:

Taamkru helps your preschooler achieve academic success in both an enjoyable and productive way while allowing parents to monitor achievement with personalized progress reports…Taamkru’s kid-tested inventory of nearly one million creative learning exercises has been developed by trusted child development experts and aligned with Ministry of Education standards. Our productive learning app has been carefully designed for preschoolers to use and help them achieve academic success with fun, interactive and premium quality educational content of increasing difficulty.

Taamkru is a worthy winner, but it wasn’t my first choice for the competition.

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