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This is the first time since it started that I wasn’t able to attend TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference (formerly TC50). But I’ve been able to watch some of it, as TechCrunch intelligently offers a live stream of all the sessions, powered by uStream.

It’s a top-notch show, not only in the caliber of speakers, but also the main event: a three-day start-up competition featuring 31 companies. Terms of the competition require new company launches, so this is all fresh stuff, taking form in 10-minute judged demos.

Every year the quality escalates and this year is no exception. The other trend I’ve noticed is ramp-up in companies focused on local media. This is simply a cross section of the overall increased investment in the space, but the Disrupt batch is also a barometer of cool things to come.

Many of these weren’t just broadly “local” plays — as in geolocation or LBS — but geared specifically toward SMBs. These included everything from communication to advertising to productivity tools. This stuck out for me as a precursor to next week’s similarly themed DMS show.

In the spirit of that show — which we’re all frantically prepping for — I’ve included the SMB-geared product launches below. Videos are included with each link. Check them out if you’re interested in the space, or if you’ll be at DMS. I’m interested to hear which was your favorite.

My favorite: not necessarily SMB-focused Cake Health (included in the batch below). Some seem very cool but will face scalability and SMB reality checks (like TalkTo), but the ideas are still appreciated. The rest are below, some of which made the final round of competition.

The winners will be announced at 7PM PDT and you can watch the livestream at any point here. Much more on the whole lot as they develop.

Prism Skylabs




Honorable mention: (not SMB focused but awesome) Cake Health

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