By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
Austin TechBreakfast is a little bit of everything. It’s a little “show and tell” as founder Ron Schmelzer describes it, with intervals for “I need a job…a developer….a cofounder….an investor….”
The monthly morning meetup, one of eight founded by Schmelzer in cities from Baltimore to Palo Alto, has a lighthearted format—inspired by Schmelzer’s wit—while companies network and get a chance to display what they do.
There were, alas , no robots Thursday morning at DLA Piper’s offices, but four companies did “show and tell” on their products.
You Are Who You Say You Are
Mary Haskett, CEO and co-founder of BeehiveID talked about her company which verifies IDs largely using biometric facial recognition on social networks. BeehiveID will not only look at the social posts of the person in question but look to see if friends have posted pictures of themselves with the person in question. Haskett and her co-founder have both worked in biometric technology for the U.S. Department of Defense and were deployed in Afghanistan, among other places.
The system rates people in terms of their believable IDs and consumers can go on the site and get their ID “score.” “We’re trying to replicate the way you establish trust in the real world,” she said. “Online,” she said, “every time you post a photo you’re leaving little pieces of data all around. It’s like a tiny claim to your identity….it ends up being a massive amount of data that real people have that fraudulent accounts do not.”
Currently her main clients are dating websites which have a big problem with fraud. But she’s also looking to work with companies in the sharing economy whose customers would like verification of the IDs of their clients and industries like financial services.
It’s not foolproof, Haskett admits. One person seemed legitimate because of the quantity of data about her online. But the dating website Haskett was working for said “That’s a well-known porn star. We get a dozen profiles a day with her picture.”
International Solstice Music FestivalMatt Ford, who worked in business development and marketing Techstars first class, has co-founded Solstice—a platform to help the more than 700 cities around the globe that host music festivals on the Summer Solstice. Solstice, he said, can help cities with these festivals organize by letting musicians and venues enter their information into a website that aggregates all the performances happening during the festival. It also provides for a consumer-facing website cities can use to promote their festivals using 900dpi technology. Solstice is also working on a map of all the world’s festivals and hoping to bring a summer solstice festival to Austin.
Digital Advertising and Metrics for EveryoneLloyd Armbrust of OwnLocal explained how his company works, pulling data from print ads, radio and broadcast ads and using the metadata to create advertising campaigns, SEO and SEM campaigns and offering a syndication platform to sell other companies’ products.
Many of his customers, he said, are companies that know little about marketing. A few don’t even have computers hand rely on him sending information through a fax machine. But OwnLocal provides metrics that not only show how the company is climbing in search results but can quantify the ROI of the service by showing how many leads it brought in and measuring the lifetime value of those new clients.
Musical Collaboration Anywhere
Spout Software allows musicians to record and collaborate with musicians in different cities using a cloud based software that lets them preserve their performances digitally and combine them with other musician’s performances, publishing them to a single recording with no latency.
Founder Bruce Gardner said the company is working on an app that would even allow musicians to listen to and create recordings on their mobile devices. His Platform as a Service could save the music business $25 million a year in production costs. The market, he said, includes not only professional musicians creating recordings for general consumption but also the gaming industry, advertising agencies.
Austin TechBreakfast, which provides not only coffee but breakfast tacos and pastries free to participants, is sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank, ARC, DLA Piper, CBRE Inc. and 9Gauge.