A Sneak Peek at SIIA Previews

Jan 18, 2011

On Jan. 25-26, people will gather at the SIIA Information Industry Summit -- as well as the 26th Annual CODiE Awards -- at Cipriani, on New York's City's 42nd Street. For the fifth year in a row, the conference will include presentations from eight "Preview" companies, which include Confab Circuit, Panjiva, RapidBuyr, REonomy, SYNQWARE, Transparensee Systems, Verisma Systems, Inc., and VisibleGains.

According to Larry Schwartz, president of Newstex and creator of the Preview program, companies are mostly lesser-known content-related companies being recognized for innovation and success. After a rigorous application process, approximately 100 applicants were narrowed down to the eight being honored at this year Summit. "You probably haven't heard of them in a million years," says Schwartz. "And that's the point."

This year, though, there is a twist. For the first time, companies are trying to win audience support and votes for "Most Likely to Succeed" Award. Audience members will be able to vote via cell phones for their favorite company and the winner will be announced during the CODiE Awards Dinner.

Though Preview companies are, in essence, explaining what each product does, Schwartz says it is also important to mention what each company is looking for - content buyers, investment money, etc. These five-minute presentations really enable the companies to get focused and hone the pitches. Transparensee Systems and Confab Circuit, as two examples, are proving able to do just that, even without the name recognition of larger companies.

Confab Circuit is a social platform enabling users to locate business conferences, learn about the content, and link to professionals with shared interests. According to David Justus, founder of Confab Circuit, the company was "founded on the idea that conferences provide tremendous value, but their reach is limited." Justus says the company stands out because it does more than provide information about relevant conferences-it caters to those who cannot physically attend as well. "The web is littered with conference directory sites. They cater to conference attendees. This is a very small number compared to the people who don't attend. These people generally recognize the educational and networking value of conferences, but don't have the time or money to attend," says Justus. "Confab Circuit addresses this market in an effort to enable anyone to virtually attend any conference."

Like Confab Circuit, Transparensee Systems is also taking a new approach to an existing market, trying to change the way enterprise searches are conducted online. Transparensee was initially supposed to be a website that would allow users to virtually visualize experiences such as eating at a particular restaurant or working at a certain job, but through the creation of highly advanced search software, the company found a new direction.

"We sell software that enables you to do ‘fuzzy searching' or ‘near matching.' It does it at a high speed for large volumes of data and enables you to produce results that are highly relevant," says Connie Chen, VP of sales for Transparensee.

While internal advanced searches exist on plenty of websites, Transparensee says it is able to stand out because it allows the user to prioritize a search based on individual wants and needs. Chen says, "Most of our customers get a 20% increase in audience members right off the bat when they use our technology." This she credits to its ability to not only provide those exact matches, but also close matches based on criteria the user is allowed to choose. "What are the odds that you're going to look at the close matches and say, ‘I might be interested in that,' as opposed to never knowing they existed unless you started fiddling around with the search parameters yourself, going back and forth?" she says.

Schwartz accredits the success of these two Preview companies to innovative practices and products, but also to the staff. "They both have people on their teams that have come from other successful content companies, which also helps. Management teams are always really important," he says. To find out who wins "Most Likely to Succeed" you'll have to wait until next week.

(http://siia.net/iis/2011/previews.asp, http://transparensee.com, www.confabcircuit.com/home)