Start-Ups Target Kids
New York Times
September 8, 2008
Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial energy is being served
up in highly concentrated form this week, at a San
Francisco conference called the TechCrunch50, sponsored
by the technology blog TechCrunch. Over the next three
days, the bright-eyed founders of some four dozen brand
new start-ups will take the stage to describe how they
plan to make money from a connective, online future.
We previewed the event and some of the confrontational
promotional tactics of its creators last month. And now
Bits is here to watch and blog, at least until our
allergy to unrestrained, bubbly optimism begins to flare
Things started off here at 9:30 a.m. with the singing of
the national anthem. Is this a sporting event?
Conference organizer Jason Calacanis then explained that
over the next three days, 51 companies, out of 1038
applicants, will present on stage for eight minutes
First up: four new Internet start-ups targeting kids.
One is a virtual world called Hangout.net (hangout.net).
Another is a portal for tweens called Tweegee.com The
third is Blah Girls from Ashton Kutcher — more on that
The fourth kid start-up is online banking site for kids,
iThryv.com, which is the brainchild of Shryk, a
vowel-challenged company based in Oklahoma City. It lets
young wealth managers who still live with their parents
organize their bank accounts and get advice on credit
management and budget planning. The site appears easy
enough for the piggy-bank set to use.
Wisely, instead of offering the tool right to kids and
soliciting advertising, the company plans to sell its
software to banks so they can forge lifelong connections
with young customers. It will also give the tool away to
schools. “We want to help cure the epidemic of financial
ignorance in our country,” said Shryk’s Shane Kempton.
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