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Startup Row Winners for PyCon 2012

Part of the fun of PyCon is Startup Row, where we highlight the most promising Python-using startups and give them time and space at PyCon to show their stuff. After a massive response last year, we decided to bring back Startup Row and make it a tradition.

Well, like everything else this year at PyCon, Startup Row was packed. We received several times as many applicants as we had slots - and all were strong contenders. It was hard to pick, but our panel was able to winnow the field down to just twelve winners - and two of these stood out to become the judge's picks for 2012. The winners for PyCon 2012 Startup Row are:

Exhibiting Friday

GetCloak (Judge's Pick - Friday): We were immediately impressed with Cloak. Security is hard because it involves tradeoffs; making things more secure frequently makes them less convenient. Cloak is the Dropbox of VPNs: it just works. It installs on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad and keeps you safe from prying eyes on public wi-fi. Cloak raced up the charts to become our Judge's pick for Friday.

lets anyone with a browser create, test, and execute quantitative trading algorithms. You don't have to be a professional quant to get started. They provide the platform and connect you to a community of quants. Quantopian is in stealth mode, but they are accepting early alpha registrations - ask at PyCon. Oh, and they're hiring.

SwiftStack makes it easy to build an extremly durable storage system for serving web content or archiving large amounts of data. SwiftStack is built on OpenStack Swift - the same code that powers Rackspace Cloud Files - to provide an easy-to-deploy, scalable object store that looks and feels like it is provided by one of the big providers.

StrongSteam uses AI and vision tools to find things in images - providing the computing heft to make your searches smart. StrongSteam can extract text and objects and can match them to a database of items. Stop by and watch them match Latin plant labels from the Royal Botanical Gardens in London to Wikipedia results - on your phone.

BugSense is a real-time bug tracking service for Android, iOS, and WP7. When you get a crash on your mobile phone, BugSense swings into action, giving you a context-sensitive error report and real-time stats. BugSense uses Google App Engine to power its backend, processing more than 1.6 million daily errors, generated by more than 45 million devices around the world.

WeddingLovely is a different kind of wedding startup. It is dedicated to the experience - wedding planning - rather than just the end of the experience (the wedding). They are out to change the idea of weddings from being simple (and de-humanizing) consumer-fests into a more personal - and personalized - experience.

Exhibiting Saturday

Transifex (Judge's Pick - Saturday): Localization is hard - one of the classic "schleps" that developers avoid. Transifex allows you to crowdsource your product's language translation to your own enthusiast community and professional translators. It makes it dead-simple to have an agile, continuous localization workflow and launch your product to an international audience. Transifex has already seen massive uptake by companies and communities around the globe, making it our judge's pick for Saturday's Startup Row.

Consumer Notebook:
Have you tried researching products online recently? It's awful. Search engines are gamed by scammy marketers. Product review sites overwhelm you with ads, have unreliable reviews, or dryly compare raw product specs. Consumer Notebook is working to solve this problem. It is like Yelp for products, with product comparison grids inspired by the founders' open-source work on Django Packages and OpenComparison. began in October 2011 as a fun way to provide useful information to the Python community. Since then hundreds of folks have visited the site to feature their favorite Python packages, for a total of over 10K packages featured. New features have come regularly, and some new features are waiting in the wings, about to be launched.

Qwikon: The current daily deals systems are over-complicated and over-sold, with long lead times and difficult accounting. Qwikon changes all that by allowing small business owners to create and send special offers in under a minute from any web capable device, making it possible to provide special deals on expiring inventory. Qwikon is currently in private beta.

brings lightweight access to big data analytics by allowing users to compare their time series trends across different domains and different data sets. Sometimes the most important insight comes from comparing different perspectives. Trendulate was designed to allow people to share trends and time series datasets, enabling everyone to make smart data-driven decisions.

Lambda Foundry was launched to drive the adoption of Python in data science. The toolset for data science is still evolving, and existing tools for analyzing data are not good enough. Lambda Foundry is fixing the situation by building new tools for the Python ecosystem, including the acclaimed "pandas" library. They want to make Python the language of choice for data analysis, starting in quantitative finance. Their flagship product RapidQuant is for the building, testing and trading of data-driven financial models.

We encourage you to come by Friday and Saturday to the Startup Row booths, meet the founders, and learn how Python is being used to build companies that change the world.


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This was an interesting talk by Michelle Levesque. She wanted to write a Python webapp and went to get one for her project. Surely, there is one available.

Actually... there isn't one. Kinda too bad. There are about 40 instead. Then she faced the dilemma of "which to choose?" And that's when she started the "web-off". Have a big comparison among some of the big players to see what works best.

The talk briefly described four of the seven approaches that she is looking at. She has more details on the results so far, along with a blog of results as she goes.

Very interesting talk. Personally, I don't use any of those as they generally mix the HTML output and the Python code too much.