Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Network2 Mixxer

Last night I attended a mixer sponsored by Jeff Pulver and the guys at Network2.

Jeff graciously poured out the booze and even provided snacks over at Proof Bar & Lounge near Gramercy Park.

I saw a couple NextNY'ers in attendance and spoke with Steve from and Gregory Galant of Venture Voice fame.

Network2 is aggregating video-based RSS feeds into one central location for users to watch their favorite web clips in one place. Speaking with Dave Kowarsky, Creator of Focus (one of the shows on Network2), I was told that the website was centered around episodic content, not one-offs like Youtube.

Partnerships between videoblogs are already in the works and rapidly expanding with some 500 episode-based video blogs already tapped into the "network".

Thanks for the Beefeater Tonics and chicken wings. Oh and the free shirt too!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wesabe Interview: Jason Knight, CEO

The thing that most strikes me about Wesabe is that they care. They care a lot. Its one thing to say that you have great customer service, but its a completely different matter all together when you can actually deliver.

Jason Knight, CEO and Founder, of Wesabe took an hour to sit down with me and explain his ideas, desires and thoughts for the future.

A while back I read about his companies' funding by O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. After uploading my information to his website and navigating through the different steps necessary to automate your financial background I was convinced that Jason was onto something powerful. He is creating a platform for people to clean up their finances, and do this on a social platform.

The concept is fairly simple. You post comments on how to save money on specific issues. That could mean "Whats the cheapest car insurance?" to "I want to lower my cable bill." Users have the capability of commenting on your issues and providing their own solutions.

I wanted to know if there were any plans on integrating people's 401k plans or IRA accounts. Jason wasn't sure if this was something his customers were looking for, but given time, it might become a part of the wesabe tree of services.

He wants people to know that he is available to help users (something reminiscent of Craig Newmark - Chief Customer Service at Craigslist). To this point, Jason is available from 12-4 pm Seven Days a week!!!! Talk about service. He actually picks up the phone too! I call that delivering.

"Every couple of days people just hang up on me" Jason said. " It makes me smile, because these people are calling just to see if I am really there to pick up the phone."

Jason initially did not want any outside funding. His operations were self-funded up until recently, when OATV received around $700k. He chose them based on persistence. "They just wouldn't stop calling me" " I finally had to give in because they really cared about helping my company grow"

Its great to see that for once its the VC's pounding on the door, not the other way around. I wish there was more of this in NYC.

I want to see good things from this company. If they keep delivering on their customer service and can help members save money than they will be providing a service which can easily be monitored by the size of your wallet.

They are not yet profitable and the reason for this is Jason does not want to have ads on his site. That would defeat the purpose of helping people save their money. I am not really sure what he is going to do about monetizing his site, but their might be room for premium accounts and JV's with financial institutions (just my guess).

I expect great things.

Kristian Hansen