While everyone is swarming around the Web 2.0 conference today, yesterday’s Mobile 2.0 conference was a more calm event that showed off some interesting mobile startups and examined trends like mobile-created content, access to the web via cell phones and mobile browsers. Maybe it was the lack of WiFi in the main conference room that shut down most of the blogging noise, or the cave that is the basement of the San Francisco Grand Hyatt that sobered a lot of buzz.
Regardless, while “Web 2.0” companies are getting a rush of funding, mobile content companies are starting to following the same path. I was chatting with Anurag Nigam, the CEO behind the mobile search service 411Sync, about if there would ever be a day where the idea of Mobile 2.0 is as big as Web 2.0. ‘”It’s getting there,” he says. Vodafone’s Dan Appelquist, who helped organize the event says on his blog that the conference helped him realize that “we are at a turning point for the mobile Web.” But he also adds while he’s live-blogging from Web 2.0 that the message of Mobile 2.0 isn’t being heard at Web 2.0. (For his definition of the term check here.)
SoonR’s CEO Martin Frid-Nielsen had an apt comment about the rush of mobile companies on a morning panel at the conference: “One thing that is sad about mobile is that so many startups go under. People just underestimate the costs involved.” (We’re assuming he doesn’t mean his own startup.) There might be lots of losers, but there’s no end to the mobile companies going for it — the conference’s “mobile launch pad,” which showed off a few mobile startups that were worth nothing, was the most interesting of part of the day:
1). MCN: (Mobile Content Networks) The Palo Alto-based startup white-labels mobile search products for carriers, and recently raised $6 million from Meritage Funds, Frontera Group LLC and The Angels’ Forum. MCN CEO Marc Bookman said that mobile search has to be 2 or 3 clicks only, to keep the interest of the user, and that his company has a mobile music search product for NTT DoCoMo that should be live this month.
2). 3JAM: We never thought 3JAM’s reply-all text-messaging was that compelling — it always seemed more like a kindof cool feature than a stand alone company that should raise funding. Though, at the conference 3JAM was emphasizing opening up its API as a way to bring in more content providers and users. Maybe this will help build out the offering.
3). Funambol: The Redwood City-based startup, which sells open source mobile server software, has been around since 2001. But this is the first time we’ve heard them referring to themselves as “the largest mobile open source project on the planet.” The company says it’s had more downloads of its software in the last 5 months, than its had in the combined previous few years. At the conference Funambol was showing off its Phonesniper community program which pays developers and community members to test devices by syncing with the company’s portal.
4). Mojeo: The company execs talked way too fast for us to figure out the ins and outs of Mojeo, but the startup called its service “location-based bookmarking,” and says it launched in the past few weeks. The purpose is to make accessing location-aware web sites like Yahoo, Google and Upcoming, from both your desktop and your mobile that much easier.