Category: MyStrands

Looking for music recommendations? Strands recommends you look somewhere else

It’s official. One of the businesses that helped Strands get started MyStrands music is no longer part of the offering. Strands put the final nail in the MyStrands music service, today.

When the economy gets tough, tough companies know they have to focus to survive. And unfortunately for my music recommendation dreams, Corvallis-based Strands has decided to do just that.

It’s official. One of the businesses that helped Strands get started—MyStrands music—is no longer part of the offering. Strands put the final nail in the MyStrands music service, today. Read More

Strands announces Expensr acquisition, expanded recommending

moneyStrandsCorvallis-based Strands, the service that recommends things you might like based on your behavior, has announced the acquisition of Expensr, a move that takes its recommendation services beyond the realm of entertainment to personal finance.

Expensr will be brought into the Strands fold as moneyStrands, a personal money management solution based on Strands recommendation technology.

moneyStrands is an online money management solution that allows users to aggregate their online financial information in one place, providing them with an instant snapshot of all their finances. With moneyStrands, users can anonymously compare themselves to others with similar traits, such as demographics.

The move also allows Strands to more clearly define the areas into which they’re planning to introduce recommendations, like business recommendation solutions that help people find content on sites, social media recommendation solutions that use online behavior to make recommendations, and personal finance recommendation solutions that helps individuals take more control of personal finance decisions.

Rest assured, there are also some other interesting undercurrents here—that I’m not yet at liberty to disclose—that promise to cause some interesting ripples here in the Silicon Forest startup scene.

To register for an invitation to the private BETA, visit moneyStrands. For more information on the plans for the product, see the Strands blog post on the Expensr acquisition. For more on the company, I’d recommend (get it?) visiting Strands.

Our Strands: MyStrands rebrands as Strands

StrandsOur favorite Corvallis-based recommender solution, MyStrands, is now know as, simply, Strands. And the change carries with it a whole new look and feel.

Why the name change?

The word “strands” has a particular meaning for us: it represents the sequences of digital events that connect our lives. Strands’ mission is to help people discover new things. We do this by analyzing and understanding people’s tastes based on strands of sequences (links between digital items such as the songs found in a playlist, events in an activity stream or transactional data such as monthly purchases).

Silicon Forest claims two of the largest Web 2.0 investments in 2007

Earlier this week, I tried to shoot a hole in news that the “Web 2.0 sky is falling” by highlighting that Web 2.0 investments may be down in the Silicon Valley and Texas—but Web 2.0 venture amounts are up practically everywhere else, including the Silicon Forest.

Today, TechCrunch continued to take a look at the slowing:

In 2007, the median deal size was $5 million, up 22 percent. And the median pre-money valuation was $10 million, up 66 percent (from $6 million in 2006). Both deal size and valuation for Web 2.0 companies remained below the average VC deal across all industries ($7.6 million and $16 million, respectively)

But again, there’s a silver lining to this Silicon-Valley cloud. For us, at least.

Take a look at where the top investments landed. Lo and behold, there are two Silicon Forest companies on the list. Corvallis-based MyStrands appears on the list twice with nearly $50 million combined investment, and Portland-based Jive Software appears courtesy of their $15 million round, last year.

This is the kind of news that begins to put Portland and the entire Silicon Forest on the map. It’s news that, hopefully, makes the venture capital community take notice. And maybe, just maybe, the type of news that motivates those investors to take a second look at the Rose City technology scene.

I can’t wait to see what 2008 holds for our local companies. But the bar has been set. And I hope to see more than two of our companies on the list, next year.

(Hat tip Jeff the Great)

MyStrands wants to invest $100,000 in your startup

Corvallis-based MyStrands has just announced a program designed to find the best early-stage startup focused on “recommendation” technologies. And, once found, to fund that startup to the tune of 6-figures of investment.

The $100,000 investment prize will be awarded to:

[T]he best early-stage project in the area of recommendation technologies, considering the technology, business opportunity and team behind the project (without limitations as to which field the technology is applied).

This is a worldwide competition, but I’m confident that some of you Portland and Silicon Forest types—side project or otherwise—have got some cool technology that has a chance of winning this thing.

Why not give it a shot?

All Proposals will be judged using the following judging criteria: (a) implementation and integration of recommendation technologies, (b) originality and creativity, (c) likelihood of long-term success and scalability, (d) effectiveness in addressing a need in the marketplace, and (e) team bios.

Get into the finals and you’re off to Switzerland to present.

Five Finalists will be invited to present their projects during the ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys08) next October 23rd to 25th, 2008 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Finalists will be announced on October 6th.

So what are you waiting for? I think you can win this. And I’m sure the investment would help make your dream a reality. And if you’re not going to do it, then maybe our idea for Portland Startup Weekend should be based on recommendation technology.

Entries will be accepted until September 15, 2008.

For more information on the contest and requirements, see MyStrands’ post on the contest.

[Update: I just noticed that ReadWrite Web has posted on the contest, as well, encouraging MyStrands to continue its work in implementing open data standards.]

MyStrands joins Data Portability Working Group

Corvallis-based MyStrands, the service that—among other things—lets you share and compare your musical tastes, has announced that they have decided to join the Data Portability Working Group.

A number of folks are putting their hopes in the Data Portability concept. And, to be sure, their recent “skyrocketing into the tech-public consciousness” momentum may have given them the best chance of solving the problems at hand.

As Scott Kveton highlights in the MyStrands post:

We’re really excited about the work that the Data Portability (DP) group is chartered to do. The goal of the group is to build a set of technical and policy blueprints based on existing technologies and concepts that will allow for the free-flow and control of data by users among sites on the web. Taking advantage of the building blocks like OpenID, OAuth and microformats allows the effort to move that much faster….

MyStrands is committed to the Data Portability group because we believe we can really help make things happen and be an integral part of its success.

Coincidentally, another little company you may have heard of—named Microsoft—just announced that they were going to join the Data Portability Working Group, as well. But, I’m not interested in covering that, because a) Last time I checked, they were a bit north of the Silicon Forest, and b) They may have gotten a little bit of press about it already.

In fact, Portland-based blogger Marshall Kirkpatrick has an insightful write-up on the Microsoft news:

Microsoft’s joining the group is an event of sufficiently complex historical meaning that I’m hesitant to try and interpret it here. Microsoft has both been the ultimate example of lock-in and also an important force behind other open standards efforts on the web, including OpenID. Though no fan of Microsoft, I am consistently excited about what the Live team in particular does. I’ll look for analysis of this and future news about implementation at Live from my favorite source on the topic, LiveSide.

Deep breath. Okay, I realize I’ve just thrown around a whole bunch of jibber jabber at you, which probably makes absolutely no sense.

Just what is this “data portability” and why would we want it? Here’s a simple explanation. (Apparently, Vimeo’s embed code doesn’t like WordPress, so I’m linking now instead. Apologies for the extra click.)

For more on MyStrands reasoning behind joining, read Why MyStrands is joining the Data Portability Workgroup. For more on the Data Portability Working Group, visit dataportability.org.

iStrands brings MyStrands to iPhone, iPod Touch

Corvallis-based MyStrands has announced that they are releasing their latest lab creation into the wild: iStrands.

What does iStrands do?

iStrands enables you to build your profile at http://www.mystrands.com in realtime while listening to your music on an iPhone or iPod touch.

If you’re up for jailbreaking your iPhone or iPod Touch (or if you already have), this may be an interesting application to try. If you do, I’d love to hear back about your experience.

MyStrands hits Times Square for New Year’s Eve

Corvallis-based MyStrands, makers of technology for tracking and sharing tastes, will be part of the big New Year’s Eve party in Times Square with a little network called MTV.

And, while that’s not in Oregon, I’m still covering it. Call me fickle. But that’s big news.

MyStrands partyStrands will power the event:

People in Times Square will be able to use their cell phones to send messages, vote to choose music videos and answer trivia questions on MTV’s 44 ½ giant HD screen in front of the MTV Studios.

Not planning to be in Times Square for the festivities? No worries. You can follow along at home, alone, in front of your computer, like me.

(Hat tip to Marshall Kirkpatrick

MyStrands lands $24 million in funding

Yesterday, Corvallis, Oregon, based MyStrands announced that they have secured an additional $24 million in funding, increasing the total capital raised by the company to $55 million. The round, led by Spanish bank Grupo BBVA, is slated primarily for continued research & development and product development.

This round of funding has been covered by TechCrunch and Profy, among others. [Update] And I’ll sheepishly add Portland’s Marshall Kirkpatrick’s coverage of the MyStrands’ funding from Read/Write Web. (I didn’t see it in the trackbacks, I swear! And, seriously, have you ever seen that many possessives in one sentence? I mean, really?)

MyStrands develops technologies to better understand people’s taste and help them discover things they like and didn’t know about. MyStrands has created a social recommender engine that is able to provide real-time recommendations of products and services through computers, mobile phones and other Internet-connected devices. For more information, see MyStrands.

(Hat tip Brooks Jordan)

MyStrands partyStrands: Bringing the backchannel to the forefront

[Editor’s Note: Extending the Silicon Florist urban-growth boundary a touch, I wanted to include Corvallis-based MyStrands in the coverage. They’re doing some cool stuff and some of their folks are very active here in Portland. It’s a stretch, but a reasonable one.]

partyStrands, the newest offering from the MyStrands team, takes the ever-popular backchannel concept and makes it an interactive component of parties, concerts, and other gatherings. It’s a Twitter-on-the-big-screen sort of concept that makes every partygoer with a cell phone part of the action. And I mean, seriously, are you a partygoer without a cell phone? Not likely.

What’s more, partyStrands promises the ability to bring the party to you, whether you are “in the house” or not.

partyStrands allows you to join in on the party where your friends are even though you are somewhere else. Imagine tonight you stay at home, you can partake in the party from your room and interact with your friends at the party, by sending messages and pictures, all from MyStrands.com or m.MyStrands.com. Of course, you can read, see, and “hear” what they are doing and the music that is being played.

(Imagine staying home tonight? Not a huge leap for me.)

To see images of partyStrands in action, check out the recent Paul Van Dyk concert at the Crystal Ballroom.

For more on partyStrands, see the MyStrands blog post. For more information, visit MyStrands.

MyStrands develops technologies to better understand people’s taste and help them discover things they like and didn’t know about. MyStrands has created a social recommender engine that is able to provide real-time recommendations of products and services through computers, mobile phones and other Internet-connected devices.

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