by Dave Michels

StartupCamp5 will be taking place at ITExpo Feb 1-3 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. I’ve attended the past four ITExpo’s and StartupCamps, but won’t be at this one. Feeling a bit wistful as so many people I know are heading that way. ITExpo is a good show – particularly strong for hosted service providers and VoIP heads. Lots of really technical people roaming the halls too.

But every year, the most excitement at ITExpo is around Startup Camp. Embrase puts on this event every year -and unlike all the other co-located events that take place there – StartupCamp doesn’t compete for the same audience. StartupCamp is the one event that runs in the early evening – after the exhibits and before dinner. As a result, it is one of the most packed events there – more so than the keynote presentations (although that be because of the free drinks).

StartupCamp runs in a launch-pad format – but it is telecom focused. It starts with a keynote presentation. Bob Metcalfe did an excellent keynote at StartupCamp4 in Austin, listen to it below. This year, the keynote is Sir Terry Matthews – cofounder of Mitel, and about 30 other telecom companies. After the keynote, each entrepreneur makes a short pitch and then gets torn to shreds by a panel of esteemed judges. This year, the judges include  PhoneTag founder Jamie Siminoff and Cbeyond co-founder Brooks Robinson. At the end, the audience also gets to pick a favorite. The presenting companies this year are:

  • Townhall 140 was founded with the singular goal of harnessing technology to promote civic engagement. Launched out of the Harvard Innovation Lab in November 2011, the Townhall 140 virtual platform integrates video technology with real-time voting to bring constituents face-to-face with political influencers on the issues that matter.
  • CallTrunk sees the spoken word as the ‘left-behind’ in the march of technology. While searchable records of written conversations are standard, talking — our most natural form of communicating albeit one that allows room for error, uncertainty and dispute — has fallen between the cracks. Based in London, CallTrunk’s mission is to make the spoken word accountable and verifiable, capturing spoken conversations by automatically recording phone calls, securely storing them on the web and openly integrating with leading productivity applications.
  • Vernoa, based in Israel, believes that the Internet is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. And therefore should be compared to usage base utility services such as Electricity, Gas and Water. Yet unlike other utilities, the demand for capacity will always exceed availability, making it a must for service providers to manage user expectation and their networks. Vernoa will provide the only service to offer smart-meter like functionality for telecommunications carriers.
  • revolutionizes legal enterprise software by fully integrating the next generation of front and back-office software, in the cloud, through an online business-networking platform. allows legal professionals to communicate and share documents seamlessly and securely and to more efficiently manage billable time-keeping, bank accounts, and client invoices.

StartupCamp is a fun event – electric really. I’ve written about it before here.

Larry Lisser, a senior partner at Embrase, brought some expertise to the Innovation Showcase. Larry keeps a close ear to the tele-startup community. The Innovation Showcase won’t be taking place until late March, but the deadline to apply is Feb 1.


Dr. Bob Metcalfe Keynote (Metcalfe is commonly spelled without an “e”, but if you invent Ethernet, you get one on the end of your name.)

Dr. Bob Metcalfe (Video)