For the first time in many years, i won't physically get to either the 18th year of DEMOFall or the second year of the TechCrunch50 (it was 40 last year, supposed to be 20). But through the magic of the world wide web, I can see how vibrant the startup and new product economy really is. Demo has videos up of their new products, and TechCrunch has Qik and ustreams which let non-attendees like me see the good stuff in real time.
DemoFall has 72 companies/products being introduced, some from big companies like Best Buy and Real Networks, but most from startups like SpinSpotter that help to find truth in the stuff you're reading, or alerts.com that lets you set up information push on things of interest. And there's the new Plastic Logic Reader, which is exciting to a Kindle user like me. Of course, they've raised $200 million, which is a little more that FirstRound normally does, so we're not investors.
TechCrunch50 has 52 companies (selected from over 1,000), including OtherInBox, which lets you give special emails and keeps most of the marketing junk mail (not spam), out of your normal inbox, and Yammer, which is a secure enterprise usable communications site, with capabilites of Twitter, IM etc. all protected and tracked.
At FirstRound Capital, we normally look at 2,000 deals a year to make 20 investments, and both of these great conferences provide tremendous raw material (although I must admit we prefer to see them before they've gotten the exposure). But it's really great to know that there are thousands of high quality startups still being created in the US and elsewhere, and that even in this tough economy, the new economics of capital efficient startups is thriving.