Blog

We’re proud to see them off but as a part of Mozilla, it’s just a transition, not a goodbye. You can watch the presentations here, and see some highlights from the Twittersphere care of Storify are below. Enjoy!

Our 8 teams enter the world of AlumniDom this week and we hope you get a chance to watch them graduate on Wednesday! We have a feeling our PredictionIO team won’t be sharing this at graduation:

Frog power.

  • At one point, the PredictionIO founding team was simultaneously based in London, Hong Kong, Macau and California, making it the startup on which the sun never set.
  • Following in the animal theme of other popular open source projects PredictionIO’s logo is a frog. If you can’t guess why, it’s because frogs can predict the weather and earthquakes. Now they’ll be predicting a lot more :).

As our fourth cohort of WebFWD teams hone in on their pitches for you all next week (reminder this is happening live and via stream on Wednesday, October 30; details here), we are divulging some fun facts about them that may not come out in their pitches. If you enjoy any of the political theater in US presidential elections, you will certainly love this from our Hyperaudio team. Enjoy and see you next week!

"About a year ago when I was trying out Hyperaudio technology with Al Jazeera, I built in an “easter egg" into one of our interactive pieces where you could make subjects (in this case, US Presidential candidates) repeat the same word or phrase repeatedly as it appeared in the discussion. Unfortunately it didn’t go as viral as planned and so I chalked it up as a failed experiment.

Then early this year I spoke about Hyperaudio at Scotland.js and decided to demo the aforementioned easter egg. Much to my surprise, the audience thought it was quite entertaining. It certainly got the biggest laugh of the whole talk (check out ~24:00).”

Which goes to show that sometimes virality has a lag. :)

In two weeks, our current cohort will become alumni. We’re sharing a few fun facts on some of our teams in case they don’t have time divulge this in their pitches on October 30. Enjoy today’s from ViziCities!

  • When our ViziCities team announced its ambitions to make SimCity real, they reached the #1 slot on HackerNews within minutes. The world clearly seems to want more City with their Sims.
  • Just as fun, if you haven’t figured it out yet, co-founder Robin Hawkes has two birds in his name. You can get the unique backstory here.

Hope you meet the team in 2 weeks! Details at http://webfwdivgraduation.eventbrite.com.

When he isn’t looking at birds, Rob likes to talk HTML and the future of the web.

Until we all gather in San Francisco or on the live stream for our graduation on October 30, we thought it’d be fun to share some little-known facts about our teams that you may (or likely may not) hear from them at Graduation. Enjoy!

From our founder at clay.io (who attended University of Texas ;):

"Shortly after launching, we built a game about another U-Texas student who was hit by a bus (he walked away without any serious injuries). UT (until this incident) would have a foam sword battle in an intersection on campus during the crosswalk period the last day of school before finals every semester. In May of last year, they did it and this guy Nick ran into the intersection prematurely and was hit by the bus with another student recording the video. After I saw the video and found out he wasn’t hurt, I had a feeling it would quickly become viral so I started working on a quick game about the incident. Less than 24 hours later the game was done and it too became pretty viral on Twitter and was on some news sites like http://news.com.au, Kotaku and our local news stations. Link to the game is: http://nickvsbus.clay.io/, the video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o8oJDVfvTM

Our teams have traveled from as close as SOMA in San Francisco to as far as Bucharest, Romania to immerse themselves in the capstone of our program: graduation! You can still catch them in San Francisco at a mixer tonight, as well as pitching tomorrow from Mountain View (and live stream) at noon and 6:30pm PST.

A few highlights so far:

Bill Walker shares the latest greatest about the Firefox Apps ecosystem.

If we don’t see you at our next 2 events (see top of this post), we hope you can tune in on AirMozilla tomorrow at noon or 6:30pm PST to hear our teams directly!

image

Dia Bondi holds our teams in rapt attention as she takes them from presenting stale, flat facts to building compelling stories.

We did it! We graduated our 2nd batch of _amazing_ WebFWD teams this week!

We started with a pre-graduation pitch panel, putting our teams in front of some of the sharpest minds in investment, pitching and public speaking there are. On Tuesday, our teams got grilled by:

  • David Ascher, who heads up various innovation initiatives at Mozilla and has led messaging organizations in the past.
  • Dia Bondi, who coaches the Brazilian Olympic Committee on their winning pitch and speakers at the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative.
  • Marco DeMiroz, our Mentor and CEO of Playfirst with lots of previous experience as a VC.
  • Naval Ravikant, founder of AngelList, investor and co-founder of ePinions.
  • Tom Rikert, partner at Andreessen Horowitz; and
  • Kevin Webb, associate at the angel Webb Investment Network.
  • The feedback was intense, which was the point. Our teams recovered at La Mar before heading home to watch themselves (and the feedback) on video before the Big Day.

    image

    How would you feel if this group was staring like this at YOU while you pitched?

    Then Wednesday happened. They practiced. They shared with Mozillians. And then they presented to the world! About 80 people turned out at our Mountain View HQ + others tuned into the live stream, tweeted and then mixed with the teams afterwards.

    In addition to the pitches, attendees at graduation learned that one of our teams raised a round of funding and another one was acquired.

    Overall a super successful event (we haven’t even mentioned the food and booze ;). You can check out some of our photos here.

    Our success, of course, owes largely to everyone else who supports us! Here’s how you can help:

  • Get involved. WebFWD is truly a community-driven program. Our Partners, Mentors, Scouts and friends are the fuel who help make our teams succeed. Many of you are those people, and we thank you! For those of you wishing to get more involved, please send us a note at webfwd@mozilla.com.
  • Encourage others to apply. We are taking applications for our next class of web-changing startups. The deadline to apply is January 31st. Details are on our website at http://webfwd.org
  • Stay in touch. Keep up to date on future events, teams, graduations and news on Twitter (@MozWebFWD) and Facebook. We also post updates regularly on our blog.
  • Stay tuned for more news from our alums and our new batch of teams, to be announced in the next few weeks!

    Warm regards,

    Diane & Didem

    Tomorrow — Wednesday, Jan 23rd — our 2nd WebFWD cohort will graduate and we want YOU there - in person or via live stream. Details and RSVP at this link > http://webfwd2graduation.eventbrite.com

    Why should you go? In the spirit of David Letterman, here are the Top 5 reasons, in ascending order of importance:

    (5) Half of our teams use the metric system. Amsterdam, Canada, France Greece and Sweden will be In the House. Since we’re in the U.S., we’re not sure if that constitutes a “half” — you tell us.

    (4) Eats and Booze. We’ll have plenty of good stuff for you to nibble on and slurp when the pitching’s done and you start schmoozing with our teams and the other great investors, service providers, entrepreneurs, engineers and other cool people who will be there.

    (3) Pitch pitch pitch. They’ve been pitching to one another, to us, and to some super cool mentors, and will continue doing so right up until next Wednesday.

    (2) Our teams are simply awesome. They’ve won industry awards, acquired customers, done deals, gotten 2M+ YouTube views (yes, just one team) and more; you can read the details here.

    …and the kicker:

    (1) Special announcements will be made *at* graduation! In addition to all the great work they’ve done in our program, our teams will be sharing some special news at the event that your ears will hear first.

    We hope to see you there!

    — The WebFWD Team

    p.s. we are also still accepting applications for our February class through January 31 > http://webfwd.org/apply

    Not expected to attend, but certainly welcome.

    Over the past 3.5 months, our teams have poured hours of work into their strategies, user research, marketing and positioning tactics and more. They’ve spent lots of time on BigBlueButton coaching one another and sharing best practices, victories and challenges. They’ve met with our mentors, acquired customers, and pitched pitched pitched.

    Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Each team has done some super cool things during their time in WebFWD. Below is our chance to brag about them. If you want to hear from them directly, please be sure to check them out next Wednesday, January 23rd as they graduate (RSVP here — live stream available). There will be a few more announcements then ;)

    — The WebFWD Team

    During the WebFWD II Program, our teams have accomplished a lot! Some highlights:

    codebender
  • Completed major product redesign and update.
  • Transitioned from closed beta to open beta in time for demoing at MozFest, Mozilla’s annual hands-on gathering for artists, designers, creatives and hackers to gather and meet.
  • Conducted 4 successful workshops in Hackerspaces located in London, Berlin, Athens and Patras.
  • Acquired 1,000 new users (out of 2,400 total as of this publishing
  • Harp Platform

  • Completed MVP and defined initial target audience.
  • Acquired 2,000 registered users.
  • Spoke at CascadiaJS on scalable distributed systems.
  • Built distributed source control management system on top of Dropbox.
  • Open sourced harp (SSG), thug (orm replacement) and continued to develop node-dbox.
  • Launcher.io
  • Acquired 300+ new customers.
  • Launched 1,000+ app instances
  • Exciting announcement at WebFWD Graduation ;)
  • Linklib

  • Completed prototype.
  • Commenced private beta at MozFest.
  • Linklibbed 200 videos.
  • Acquired 70 beta testers as of January 2013.
  • Launched first Linklib film project, partnering with 6 television networks, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
  • Integrated Linklib into the VHX video player (check out this link!)
  • Reached 2 million views for trailer to the linklibbed film in first week (!)
  • Sketchfab
  • Selected from among 850 teams as one of the “glorious top 8” at Pioneers Festival in Vienna.
  • Tripled user base, growing from 6K to 18K.
  • Doubled traffic from 50K to 100K unique visitors per month.
  • Received favorable coverage by various publications including TechCrunch, Wired and Smashing Magazine.
  • Close to finalizing 1st seed round
  • Shortlisted in 2 categories for the Europas (leading European tech event)
  • Named 29th top site by 3D professional publication 3ders
  • triv.io

  • Completed prototype to construct a 237GB Serverless Database for Common Crawl using 300+ Ec2 Instances
  • More announcements planned :)
  • Wercker
  • Completely bootstrapped and expanded the team to 5
  • Entered private beta.
  • Won both People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice for best startup at the GigaOM Launchpad Competition at Structure Europe.
  • Announcing more exciting news imminently!
  • Update 9/20/12: you can see the photos from our very successful graduation here

    In the spirit of innovation that marks Mozilla, we launched WebFWD last year as an experiment. The main question we needed to answer was whether we can offer help to open companies that want to grow. Real, valuable help.

    To answer that, we lean heavily on the success of our teams as one of our most important metrics; without them, we’re nothing. Below is a summary of some stellar things our teams have done over the past several months working with us (and others). We hope you can hear them elaborate on these accomplishments at their graduation this Wednesday, September 19th either live or via live stream!

    BigBlueButton

  • Shipped built-in Record and Playback features
  • Localized in over 35 languages
  • Reached 61,000 installs over the past 12 months
  • Increased developer activity: Over 500 forks of our project on GitHub
  • Shipped updated integrations of BigBlueButton with latest versions of Moodle and Sakai for universities and colleges
  • buddycloud

  • Ran on 48 different domains
  • Supported 55 developers contributing to the project
  • Attracted 1,200 highly motivated beta testers and advocates
  • Initiated trials with BMW, BrightRoll and Mozilla
  • CASH Music

  • Released four versions of the distributed version of their platform, and made significant headway into hosted version (target release date end of October 2012)
  • Raised $60,000+ via Kickstarter (over twice the initial goal)
  • Featured in many publications including the NY Times, MTV, Performer Magazine, Hypebot and Digital Trends.
  • Spoke on industry panels at SF Music Tech Summit, Bandwidth 2x, XOXO, Portland Digital eXp/MFNW, and South by Southwest.
  • Built up a membership of nearly 200 artists, independent labels, managers, and publicists to help guide platform development and new educational component of the organization.
  • Entropy Wave

  • Developed broadcast-quality hardware and cloud-based encoder systems which fully support open source as well as proprietary video codecs and transmit HD-quality video to mobile, tablet, and desktop viewers.
  • Became the first company to provide consumer device-level live streaming in WebM, an open-source video codec sponsored by Google and supported by a large developer community.
  • Fully integrated product line with the Matterhorn/Opencast project, an entirely open-source lecture capture application currently in use by top universities around the world including Harvard, UC Berkeley, and the University of Manchester.
  • Created and maintain an entirely open-source cloud-based Streaming Server application which allows users to scale video to a limitless number of viewers on the web, tablet, and mobile device. This application is currently being tested by several universities.
  • IHeartCode

  • Hosted a Hackathon at IIT Delhi attracting over 280 people, where we shared about Mozilla Persona and Open Badges. A few interesting hacks also emerged, including a PHP-based app to build and host online quizzes; and Twt, a hashtag generator.
  • Completed a code base rewrite in coffee script.
  • Attained 230 signups to preview IHeartCode.
  • Began building university contributor community at 3 different schools.
  • Open Photo

  • Raised $25,000 on Kickstarter
  • Launched a hosted version
  • Launched iPhone app
  • Attracted 50+ contributors, 1000+ watchers, 200+ feature requests on Github.
  • Received $362,000 in funding from the Shuttleworth Foundation
  • Obtained press coverage from TechCrunch, The Next Web, ReadWriteWeb, The Atlantic, The Verge, Tech Cocktail and more.
  • Synbiota

  • Shipped GENtle Beta, an Open-Source, web-based DNA design app already used by iGEM teams, DIYBio groups and some of the world’s biggest DNA Synthesis companies.
  • Acquired over 100 users on its biotech crowd innovation platform, of which 40% have submitted credit card information.
  • Launched SPrize competition, a contest similar to XPrize, to accelerate the development of Open Source plug-ins for GENtle.
  • Invited to special meetings with DARPA, FBI & DOD.
  • Accepted to Impact Engine social enterprise incubator.
  • Partnered with Genomikon to host/sell DNA kits (think “Arduino for Biology”).
  • Garnered interest from outside the Biotech realm - including School of Design at UPenn.
  • Incorporated in Delaware.
  • Tomahawk

  • Attained over 300,000 downloads to date (nearly double from beginning WebFWD program).
  • Heralded as “a force to be reckoned with" (The Next Web), "incredibly revolutionary" (MakeUseOf), "mind-blowing" (Wired) and "the most important music app no one is talking about" (evolver.fm).
  • Began active development of web app (http://toma.hk) user community and mobile apps.
  • Gained support by over 40 technical contributors globally.