I�m at KPMG in Mountain

by francine Hardaway on July 19, 2006

I�m at KPMG in Mountain View, and it�s 8 AM. I�ve been on the road from Half Moon Bay since 6:30 AM, making a commute to the Valley that I always try to avoid. But I thought I might find it worth it to find out what�s new, cool, and trendy. This is the Always On Breakfast.

Always On and KPMG sponsor the Always On 100 every year to find the best emerging companies and the cutting edge technologies. It�s the pre-eminent list that looks across the landscape to find the cool companies. Always On and its partners look for innovation, market potential, commercialization (are the dogs eating the dog food), buzz and coverage (mindshare), and value creation for stakeholders. This year, there were 700 entries. Four of them are here to present to us.

Netli made the list this year. Netli is a managed service for application acceleration and content delivery. It makes web sites deliver local-like performance worldwide with no infrastructure build-out. For example, they handle the Dell store in the Asia-Pacific region.

Companies are being asked to manage global infrastructure, and customers have no tolerance for slow web sites and down time. The AlwaysOn website, for example, downloads about four times faster in San Francisco than in Hong Kong, because its servers are located in Oregon. With Netli, its download times around the world can be equalized. Performance also needs to be consistent under heavy load, like Christmas time for Amazon, and Netlli does this, too.

Because this is a necessary service as the Internet becomes the main way to deliver information, goods and services, Netli is growing quickly with large customers and no churn.

Comergent is a company I�ve heard about before. It was started in 1998, as one of a hundred companies doing sell-side e-commerce. But Comergent developed a solution for for the enterprise ,while everyone else was focused on the consumer. Its first client was Cisco.

However, the tech market collapsed in 2000, and for a couple of years the company didn�t even have a rep in the Bay Area, concentrating instead on manufacturing and aerospace.

For these behemoths, e-business is very complex, because most of them have multiple lines of business, many sales channels, and a diverse customer and prospect base, for which Comergent brings order. The enterprise also has backend systems that may be thirty years old and poorly integrated.

Customers buy Comergent because they need to make it easier for customers to do business with them. People who order highly expensive and complex equipment on their jobs during the day go home at night and buy books on Amazon, and develop the expectation that they ought to be able to buy during the day with the same ease.

To be a successful business, innovation must collaborate with customer needs, says the VP of Software Engineering at AZUL, a company that started during the dot com bust.
Over the past nine years, most software had become web enabled, but data centers were still built on an old paradigm of cost and complexity, using expensive power and real estate. The more you drop those �lights on� costs (the costs of infrastructure), the more you can concentrate on innovation.

AZUL built an interconnected system in which any application running on any server has the same massive compute power that is highly reliable and always available, like electricity is to the homeowner.

Blue Lithium sits at the center of two big trends: the movement of traditional advertising from print to the web; and the ability to target users by their actual behavior. Traditional advertising is becoming far less effective, and customers want relevance.

Sitting between advertiser and publisher, Blue Lithium was founded two years ago. It was profitable within three months and is already one of the largest online ad networks. Its founder had originally founded ClickAgents, which grew to become the largest performance-based ad network, and was sold to ValueClick in 2000 for $70m. It�s the only private company in the online ad network space (Ad.com, 24/7, ValueClick are all public).

With behavioral targeting, it no longer matters where an ad is service; the technology targets what users read and lick on, and serves the most relevant ads no matter what site they are on.

After 24 months in business, Blue Lithium is already working with all the major portals, CNN, Knight Ridder, USA Today, and MySpace. They�re going to launch a new social network site, MingleNow, in the fall, which will be a new source of in-depth user profile data.

You will notice that some of these companies are new, while others have been in business for eight years. Overnight success has many meanings.

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