Web 2.0 start-up pitches to Silicon Valley innovators


9 Jun 2008

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An Irish start-up that has identified the pain point of managing consumers’ increasingly expanding digital content online, last week pitched at the prestigious ‘Under the Radar’ event in San Francisco, where some of the hottest web start-ups in the world were also presenting.

PutPlace, founded by Joe Drumgoole (pictured), had its beginning in an initiative by Dublin Institute of Technology called the Project Development Centre (PDC), before it moved on to its present headquarters in the Digital Hub in Dublin.

The company’s platform effectively allows consumers to make use of Amazon’s S3 storage platform. PutPlace will be rolling out a ‘bring your own storage’ model in the future where the user can choose their own favourite storage provide, for example Skydrive from Microsoft, XDrive from AOL or GDrive from Google.

The opportunity to speak at the prestigious Under the Radar event came about when PutPlace was one of 10 young start-ups funded by the Digital Media Forum to attend a Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco in April.

The Under the Radar event was held last week at Microsoft’s Mountain View complex in San Francisco. According to PutPlace founder Joe Drumgoole, the opportunity to present there arose through a casual conversation at a drinks reception with Debbie Landa of Dealmaker Media, one of the organisers of Under the Radar.

“I met Debbie Landa at the excellent drinks reception,” Drumgoole recalls. “I was somewhat casually pitching her the PutPlace idea when she totally blew me away by announcing that this would be a good candidate for Under the Radar.

“One thing led to another and bingo, there we were presenting at Under The Radar.”

Drumgoole presented alongside some top-quality companies and in front of some very high-quality judges from major web players like Google, as well as a multitude of venture capitalists.

The All Island Digital Media Network Project is a collaboration between the Digital Media Forum in the Republic of Ireland and the Digital Content Panel in Northern Ireland, which aims to pull together a network of digital media companies across the whole island.

It is facilitated and sponsored by InterTrade Ireland and it kicked off in April with the appointment of Anton Mannering as project manager. The first initiative was the Web 2.0 Expo tour of 10 companies going to the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

During the tour, Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI jointly funded an ‘Ireland Connects’ evening that turned into a successful Silicon Valley networking event.

The Under the Radar event has been described thus by its organisers: “If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em. No longer is big media trying to compete with the content companies that were stealing the show – instead, they’re offering them a premium channel. From YouTube to Bebo and MySpace to Club Penguin, every media mogul, Hollywood tycoon and Silicon Valley innovator wants a piece of this pie.

“But even Toto knows we’re not in Kansas anymore – technology has changed, business models and ad metrics are being reinvented, and the pressure to turn millions of eyeballs into billions of cash is on. Blink once and they just might get side-swiped by a start-up with a better product, a smarter model and, even worse, nothing to lose.”

By John Kennedy

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