We've done an analysis of the 72 start-ups launching at Demo Fall 08, to categorize them by both location and focus. The location story: 28% from Silicon Valley, but only 3% more than East Coast at 25%. It is still US centric at 40%, with Europe at 10% and Asia at 8%.
The focus: over 50% is broadly in the Business category. Without looking at past Demo years, that looks like a shift: less Valley, more Biz.
Here are the location numbers:
Silicon Valley 20 (28%)
East Coast US 18 (25%)
West Coast US 10 (14%)
Central US 9 (13%)
Europe 7 (10%)
Asia 6 (8%)
Other 2 (3%)
The US focus (79%) is clearly self-selecting. A conference in London or Shanghai would look different. To have nearly the same number from East Coast than from the Valley looks like a shift. The Other West Coast (e.g. Southern California, Seattle) is not surprising as Demo is in San Diego.
The focus categorization was a bit more open to question. This was based on a quick look at the site's front page. Initially we were looking at two categories only - Consumer or Business. Within Business we then saw two interesting sub-categories - Infrastructure (a product that becomes part of another product) and Professional (selling to individuals or very small businesses but with a primary purpose of making money). Lumping both Infrastructure and Professional into Business gives us 54% for Business:
Consumer 32 (44%)
Business 25 (35%)
Professional 7 (10%)
Infrastructure 7 (10%)
As Consumer services are mostly ad funded and advertising gets cut in a recession (and we clearly have a consumer recession in the US) this shift makes sense.
Doing this 30 seconds per site look at 72 brave new start-ups is totally unfair. They each deserve a rigorous analysis. However 30 seconds is often what you get to make an impression. Most sites failed that test. Many had me totally puzzled figuring out what they were offering.
The following got marked as "take another look". This is purely a quirky look based on personal interests:
Usable - really, security that is user friendly? Sounds impossible, but worth a look. Great URL
ffwd. Great URL for video site. But yet another video service?
BeeTV. The only service I have actually used. (I thought Demo was launch only i.e. no existing services?)
BestBuy - what are they doing that hits the innovation radar?
Rudder - personal finance space is ripe for innovation.
What do you think? Is the nexus of innovation shifting from the Valley and from Consumer to Business? And if anyone has done a similar analysis for TC50, please share in the comments.