Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Three finalists named in News Related Technologies track of SXSW Accelerator Competition

March 12, 2012, 7:09 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

SXSW Accelerator Judges for News Related Technologies Track (l to r): Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger Network, Tony Conrad, co-founder about.me and partner, True Ventures and Adam Ostrow, SVP content & executive editor Mashable.

Today, three innovative, news-related technologies were selected as finalists in the SXSW Accelerator Competition.

Of the eight startups vying, three - Ad Glue, the Funf Project and Umbel - were selected to move on to the second and final round of judging, scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.

Here’s a bit more about each of them, from their morning pitches and materials:

  • Ad Glue is an advertising platform that allows publishers to instantly “glue” or place advertisements next to content they like.  It allows users to reach customers  in three steps - by creating an ad, choosing when it gets seen and seeing it stay put for a full 30 days. There are no dashboards, no need for graphic designers and publishers can change their messaging and artwork as often as they need. 
  • Funf Project is a social and behavioral sensing framework for Android devices. It provides an open source, reusable set of functionalities, enabling the grassroots collection, dissemination, and sense-making of rich data about individuals, their devices and their environment. It can be used by researchers, self-trackers or anyone interested in collecting and exploring information related to mobile device, its environment, and its user’s behavior. The project was developed at the MIT Media Lab.
  • Umbel empowers publishers, advertisers and agencies with a deeper understanding of audience engagement, by using large amounts of aggregated, real-time social data. The knowledge and insights it provides to clients helps them research and plan their media placements more effectively. The company says that selling inventory with Umbel data yields eight times more return when compared to ad network revenue.

More than 650 companies entered this year's competition. The other semi-finalists focused on projects that allow users to share and collaborate on spreadsheets and other datasets publicly, develop free and open source software for information collection, enable the filtering and verification of real-time data, and more.

A complete list of this year’s News Related Technologies finalists is available online. 

Today, all of the semi-finalists presented their projects to a panel of judges, a live audience and for the first-time ever, via livestream to the public.

After tomorrow’s final round of judging, a winning project will be announced at 6 p.m CST. Stay tuned to KnightBlog@knightfdn and #SXaccel to find out who will win.

This year marks the fourth year of the SXSW Accelerator Competition, which seeks to discover the most innovative online technologies in the categories of news, health, social media, entertainment and more.

It is the second year Knight has sponsored the News Related Technologies track, as part of its ongoing effort to support emerging technologies that are essential to delivering news and information to communities. Last year, Storify, which allows users to create stories using a variety of social media, won the category.

If you have a great idea to speed media innovation and inform and engage communities, visit www.knightfoundation.org to learn about funding opportunities.  One of them is the Knight News Challenge, accepting applications through March 17 at newschallenge.org.

Today’s judges were Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger Network, Tony Conrad, co-founder about.me and partner, True Ventures and Adam Ostrow, SVP content & executive editor Mashable.