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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 9, 2008 at 3:33 PM

A grab bag of tech tidbits

A bunch of stuff that I didn’t get to last week but want to mention, in digest form:

— Wetpaint’s Ben Elowitz appeared on the Startup Whisperer blog of Mpire’s Matt Hulett Friday, writing a fun primer on getting funding from venture capitalists. Elowitz answers questions such as, “How on earth do you make them get that goose-bumpy feeling that this is ‘the one’?”

ForWord Input won first place in the MIT Venture Lab’s Startup Demo contest Thursday night in Seattle. The company, with Tegic pedigree, has a nifty text-input system called “Swype” that lets you quickly “type” on touchscreens using a finger or stylus. Basically you move around from letter to letter, spelling words, without having to lift your finger or stylus off the surface. Other presenters were DiagnosisPlus, which is developing a health-screening application; Hydrovolts, a maker of small in-stream turbine generators; InterviewStudio.com, a video resume and job screening platform; Ameritocracy, a social networking site for gauging, rating and discussing the “factualness” of statements by politicians, the media and others; and Snowflake, a hosted task management system for enterprises. (I was among the judges).

— Bellevue knowledge management system provider AskMe began discussing its sale to Japan’s Realcom for $7 million, a highlight of Realcom’s efforts to become a global company. The deal was initially disclosed by Realcom in February.

AskMe Chief Executive Udai Shekawat, who co-founded the company in 1999, told me the company reached a turning point where it was looking for ways to expand and decided the best route was selling.

Realcom plans to turn the Bellevue office into its U.S. headquarters and expand headcount here, particularly in sales and marketing. The combined company now employs 8 people here, about 40 in India and more than 70 in Japan.

Shekawat said they’re considering a name change to reflect the merger, but it may take six months to decide and they’ll probably end up keeping the AskMe name.

(Realcom stock was up 8 percent today, by the way.)

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