Start-up Competition



At the 2012 SemTechBiz San Francisco Conference, and WebMediaBrands will award one company the prize as "Top Semantic Technology Start-Up." From 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm on Tuesday, June 5th, companies will have the opportunity to compete on stage as they deliver their pitches before a panel of expert judges! The companies competing have met the following conditions:

  1. have a demonstrable product (at least in "beta" stage) in the SemTech and or SemWeb space
  2. have received no more than a Series A round of financing

Competition Finalists

"Using 6Builder For Content Based Marketing Automation On Twitter" George Ludwig, CEO,

"Presenting 'BigData.ProjectWare'" Sesh Raj, President, DSAPPS INC

"BrainSpace: The Dawn of the The Post-Search Era" Dave Copps, CEO, PureDiscovery Corporation

"Callimachus Enterprise: Web-scale Data Integration" David Wood, CTO, 3 Round Stones Inc

"DishTip - What To Eat and Where" David Schorr, Founder, DishTip

"FlatWorld: Your 'Glu' in the Global, Digital Economy" Michael McDonald, President and CTO, KimmiC Kim McDonald, Exec. V.P., Flat World Navigator, KimmiC

"Solving the Problem of Engineering Data Complexity" Oleg Shilovitsky, Co-founder and CEO, INFORBIX

"Enterprise Linked Data Clouds: a third dimension in data integration" Giovanni Tummarello, CEO, SindiceTech

" : YouTube music, one level up" Alexandre Passant, CEO, seevl

"Vital.AI Presents Thrive.AI, an Personal eCommerce Agent" Marc Hadfield, CTO, Vital AI

"Ultrawrap by Capsenta: semantically enabling your relational database assets" Juan Sequeda, Founder, Capsenta

"Saplo Predictive Text Analytics" Mattias Tyrberg, Founder & CEO, Saplo


We have assembled a panel of expert judges for the pitch contest, ensuring careful evaluation and a lively afternoon.


                    MODERATOR: Eric Franzon, Vice President of Community, Prior to that he was VP of Wilshire Conferences/Semantic Universe, where he led educational and community efforts for professionals working with enterprise data and Semantic Technologies. Since 2004, he has worked to raise awareness and explain the usage of semantic technologies in business and consumer settings. A lifelong learner and teacher, Eric is frequently called on as a consultant, coach, and trainer around complex technical topics. He is an Advisory Committee representative with the World Wide Web Consortium ( and is an advisor to Chris Shipley's Guidewire Group ( 


                     Phil Aucutt, CEO, TeamPatent, the patent platform that enables intellectual property professionals, enterprises, and governments to unlock innovation by reducing the complexity of creating and prosecuting patents through the use of semantic technologies and innovative collaboration services. Phil was an advisor and board member to TeamPatent prior to assuming the CEO role, and leading the pivot to focusing on the enterprise and government organizations. Bringing a background in private equity and venture capital Phil advises other startups in the Bay area such as quantiFind and First Retail.    


                       Mike Dunn, CTO, Hearst Interactive directs all of Hearst’s enterprise technology initiatives, manages the enterprise Program Management Office, performs venture related technology due diligence and coordinates all strategic technology relationships. He is also the go to person for exposing Hearst’s traditional media businesses to emerging media technology trends and capabilities. Finally he oversees and coordinates Hearst’s sponsorship of the MIT Media LAB and the partnership Hearst has with Northerwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, related to technology initiatives. Dunn joined Hearst Interactive Media in July 2003. He had been chief technology officer at Encoda Systems, a global supplier of sales, traffic, programming and financial systems for the broadcast industry. Before Encoda, Dunn spent much of the last decade in CTO roles including Time Warner, where he was the Corporate CTO and also lead technologist for the Time Warner Digital Media Investment Fund, and was the founding CTO of Dell’s online division. Earlier in his career, Dunn held senior technology-related posts at True North Communications, a global ad agency; Turner Broadcasting; Hanna-Barbera Studios; and Americast, a joint venture of Walt Disney Co. and four telephone companies.                       


                         James Hendler, Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Hendler has authored over 200 technical papers in the areas of Semantic Web, artificial intelligence, agent-based computing and high performance processing. One of the inventors of the “Semantic Web,” Hendler was the recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, is a former member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, the IEEE and the AAAS. He is also the former Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was awarded a US Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002. He is the Editor-in-Chief emeritus of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is the first computer scientist to serve on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. In 2010, Hendler was named one of the 20 most innovative professors in America by Playboy magazine and was selected as an “Internet Web Expert” by the US government.


                       Mark Johnson, CEO, Zite, the personalized magazine app for iPad, iPhone and TouchPad, recently acquired by CNN. Mark was an advisor to Zite for almost two years prior to taking the CEO role and was instrumental in the pivot from Worio to Zite. He brings a strong product and technology background with experience at several successful search startups: Powerset (natural language search, acquired by Microsoft), Kosmix (categorized search, acquired by Walmart), and SideStep (travel search, acquired by Kayak). Most recently, he led product at Bing in San Francisco. Mark’s passion and mission at Zite is to change the way people discover and browse content.   


                       Chris Shipley, CEO, Guidewire Group (former Executive Director, DEMO Conference) drives the company’s strategic vision and business operations. A leading technology analyst for more than 25 years, Chris is passionate about entrepreneurship as the driver of economic growth and job creation. She has built a career on identifying emerging market opportunities and the innovative startups poised to capitalize on them, and as executive producer of the DEMO conference from 1996 to 2009, helped companies including WebEx, VMWare,, TiVo, Xfire, Ribbit, and Ironport make their market debut. In June 2010, SD Forum presented Chris with its prestigious Visionary Award for her work with young companies. She sits on the board of CSR-management software company Versaic, and is an advisor to a number of early stage companies.


The winning company will win the opportunity to give a half-hour presentation at the official SemTechBiz conference program on June 6 at noon and will receive an award on stage at the final keynote. Additionally, the winning company will be featured in an article at, to include interviews with key company officers and/or investors.

Venue: SemTechBiz at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Key Dates:

  • Application Deadline - April 23 (Deadline Passed)
  • Notification Date for Finalist Companies - May 1
  • Five Minute Pitch Presentation Slides Due - May 26
  • Start-Up Competition at SemTechBiz - June 5, 12:30pm - 3:00pm
  • Winning Company gives 30-minute presentation at SemTechBiz - June 6, 12:00pm
  • Winning Company receives award at Final Keynote - June 7, 8:30am



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