In March, venture firm Kleiner Perkins allocated up to $100m for an iPhone related investment initiative and provided an online form to allow open submissions from prospective entrepreneurs. Thanks to an error, some of these entries were recently exposed to the public. The mistake opened a brief but unintended window into the kinds of proposals that have been submitted.
The cause of the leak was apparently KPCB’s former web hosting company Meteora Technologies Group. At some point in time, an employee accidentally posted a SQL file to the web that contained 588 proposals submitted through KPCB’s online iFund submission form.
According to Tech Crunch, which first got the story, Mac developer Fruxx discovered the error and alerted Kleiner Perkins. The file was removed but not before Google’s ever efficient spiders indexed the page and copied a portion of it into their storage cache.
While it was available, the SQL file, which was readable with any text editor/reader, provided detailed information including applicant names and contact info along with outlines of each software proposal.
Review of the entries showed many of the submissions match the trends shown in Apple’s newly released lists of top “Apps” from the App Store (see below), that is, they were gaming or entertainment focused.
Another recurring concept in the KPCB submissions was an idea to use the phone’s camera to capture and then digitally interpret product bar codes. One hopeful entrepreneur envisioned this as a way for consumers to quickly do price comparisons from inside a brick and mortar retailer. Another saw the prospect of marrying barcode numbers to online information as a way of empowering consumers to make more informed wine purchases.
Clever that these ideas are, variations on the theme are already available.
One company called Bay Brain already has a live beta of barcode reading application called Snappr. It works much as a couple of the proposals imagined. (A video on YouTube available here demonstrates Snappr in use).
Another example from a company called KiGi Software offers a price comparison application called Checkout Smartshop. Unlike Snappr, it isn’t sophisticated enough to capture and interpret barcodes -users have to manually enter barcode UPC numbers – but otherwise it handles the rest of an online price comparison in a similar way.
Joining these and other shopper tools, retail giant Amazon has ventured into the iPhone application market too. Today, the company launched a program called “Amazon Remembers.” Customers using the program can take a picture of a desired product with their phones. The software will automatically upload the image and try to find the matching product in Amazon’s (or its affiliated store’s) inventories.
From iTunes, here are the top lists from the App Store (complete lists here):
|Top Paid Apps (category)|
|Koi Pond (entertainment)||Texs Hold’em (games)|
|Moto Chaser (games)||Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D (games)|
|Super Monkey Ball (games)||Cro-Mag Rally (games)|
|Enigmo (games)||PocketGuitar (music)|
|Recorder (business)||iBeer (entertainment)|
|Top Free Apps (category)|
|Pandora Radio (music)||Facebook (social networking)|
|Tap Tap Revenge (games)||Shazam (music)|
|Labyrinth Lite (games)||Remote (entertainment)|
|Google Earth (travel)||Lightsaber Unleashed (entertainment)|
|AIM (social networking)||Urbanspoon (travel)|
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Prior Metue Coverage of Apple Earnings
•Apple Q4 2008 Earnings
•NG:Moco Gets iFund Funding
•Apple Q3 2008 Earnings
•Apple Q2 2008 Earnings
•Apple Q1 2008 Earnings
•Apple Q4 2007 Earnings
•Apple Q3 2007 Earnings