The Mobile Web is alive and well in Startup Land

dotMobi was at CrunchLudd last night and we got to talk to plenty of cool web startups from Dublin.

I'm imagining there might have a similar event 12 years ago for print, media, graphic design and CD-ROM startups. And a ranting sponsor (who perhaps looked a bit like me) from the fledgling Internet industry kept telling them that the web would soon change their world. "So, how are you planning to evolve your traditional media business to embrace the web?".

"Well, we're a bit busy to look at it right now. We'll probably make our brochures look really good first, then just scan them and make a web page out of them".

Needless to say, this would have been a bad answer.

Similarly I've always worried that today's web startups are too busy trying to build web-only businesses to have the time or energy to devote to making the most of the opportunities that mobile brings.

"Well, we're a bit busy to look at it right now. We'll make our web site look really good first, then just cut it up into little pieces and put it onto mobile".

Hmm. That won't survive the hindsight of the future either.

So what I wanted to know how much today's web start-ups think about mobile from the start. How encumbered are they with the assumptions that today's web will remain the primary medium and that mobile is just a poor cousin?

Well, the news, from Dublin at least, is good. Today's clutch of start-ups seem to know very clearly that mobile needs to be a core part of what they do.

Take Locle for example, who are living the location-based social network dream, RateMyArea, who provide ratings and local information service, or Muzu.tv, providing music and band content. Just 3 of the companies on show at the event.

Whether the services are launched or not, they all seem to know that providing a desktop service only won't cut it. Even Toddle, the email newsletter design service, provides renderings of how newsletters will look on a range mobile email clients.

So good luck to them…

At the end of the 1980s IBM seemed to have the mini-computer industry pretty sussed out. But the desktop PC was different enough to herald a new revolution – one in which they were challenged by an start-up who spotted new opportunites and wasn't held back by any legacy business.

A decade later, that company, Microsoft, seemed to have the desktop PC industry pretty sussed out. But the web was different enough to herald a new revolution – one in which they were challenged by a start-up who spotted new opportunites and wasn't held back by any legacy business.

A decade later, that company, Google, seems to have the web industry pretty sussed out. But maybe the mobile web is different enough to … Wait! See what I'm doing there? History repeats itself, eh?

Anyway, who are the start-ups who can spot the new opportunites of the mobile web and aren't held back by any legacy business? And who aren't afraid to push out into a brave new mobile web world? (And more to the point last night, are they in Dublin? And can I have some equity? 🙂 )

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