6 startups trying to change the world

At TechCrunch Disrupt, dozens of new tech ventures battled for a $50,000 prize and killer buzz. Here are our picks for the ones to watch.

1 of 6
BACKNEXT
A visual guide through the Web

Qwiki
Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.
Founded: Oct. 2009
Raised: $1.5 million
TechCrunch Disrupt $50,000 Grand Prize Winner

Qwiki is like Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy come to life: type in a topic -- any topic -- and you'll get a narrated, multimedia tour of the subject. Co-founder Doug Imbruce sums it up well: "We think in the future information becomes an experience that you watch," he says. "Today, everyone is absolutely overwhelmed with information. We need to simplify."

Imbruce uses Qwiki as his alarm clock, waking up each day to a pleasantly intoned run-through of his e-mail inbox, the weather and upcoming events. (One Startup Battlefield judge dubbed the system "your personal HAL.") The site's visual interface is its most obvious breakthrough: "It's amazing to see a product that's in beta have so much attention to the product design," judge and Twitter product head Jason Goldman said. TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington dubbed it "the sexy Ferrari with absolutely no promises of launching."

That sizzle factor was enough to win the judges over -- and the audience. They met the news that Qwiki was the event's grand prize winner with wild cheering and a tweeting frenzy.


NEXT: A filter for Twitter's firehose
Last updated September 30 2010: 2:31 PM ET
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
  • New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
More Galleries
Star Trek technology that we use today With the death of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Star Trek's Spock, we remember his character's legacy: The technology we use every day. More
Zombie brands with a second life Where you can still get an Ionic Breeze air freshener. The Sharper Image and five other bankrupt brands still walk among the living, sort of. More
4 trends popping up in high-end kitchens Here's what luxury homeowners are adding to their kitchens. More

Special Offer