Earlier this month Vancouver startup Kutano presented their new app at DEMO 2009 and it looks pretty cool. Kutano’s browser add-on lives on the parallel web – on top of any existing website – and generates a panel on the side of a webpage where users can leave comments.
Venture Beat’s Dean Takahashi sums up Kutano well:
Since you’re leaving the comment on Kutano’s software, you’re not actually changing the web site in any way. That means the company that owns the web site can’t take the comment down. Sure, this will result in a lot of spam and inappropriate comments. But Kutano will rely on its users to flag such stuff, and the company will ban abusive users. You can effectively mute people (so you don’t see their comments) you don’t want to hear from. Once you log into Kutano, you can pretty much use it on any web site.
While other web services have tried to create similar commenting tools, they were always tied to the actual URLs of the websites being reviewed. As a differentiator, Kutano has patent-pending “page subject recognition technology” that insures that comments persist online and remain product or service relevant.
The app appears to be easily monetizable with an obvious opportunity for advertisers to essentially advertise on competitiors websites. One screenshot example has Kutano users commenting on Maytag applications on the Lowe’s website site while HomeDepot ads for the same appliances appear in the footer. Sneaky and smart.
Based in Burnaby, Kutano has an impressive pedigree which includes Creo bloodlines. Amos Michelson is the Chairman of the Board and Kevin Ishiguro is the Chief Executive Officer. Michelson served as the CEO of Creo Inc. from 1995 until Kodak purchased Creo in 2005. Ishiguro was most recently an Engineering Manager in Eastman Kodak’s Graphics Communication Group and responsible for the 200+ person R&D team which annually generated $150 million in product and service revenue.
To date Kutano has raised two rounds of funding from one angel investor.