The much-anticipated Crunchies nominees have been announced – kind of like an early, unexpected Christmas present – and as a proud Canuck, it’s good to see that a Canadian company made the list.
Waterloo, Ont.-based ProductWiki is one of five companies nominated as “best boot-strapped start-up”, which I guess means it’s deemed to be a company with promising prospects that can’t get or doesn’t want venture capital. ProductWiki’s competition includes FriendFeed, PoliticalBase, Techmeme (which has to be seen as the heavy favorite to take home the big prize) and UpNext.
So why is ProductWiki worthy of such attention? The company is carving out a niche by providing a service where consumers can collaborate on product reviews. People who review products have to provide pros and cons, with the community voting on each one until a consensus materializes. At a time when there’s probably too much information to be useful on many sites/services, ProductWiki may well be onto something by consolidating and synthesizing product information.
The company was created by three students at the University of Waterloo, Omar Ismail, Erik Kalviainen and Amanie Ismail. To date, ProductWiki has been self-funded but you can expected that it’s only a matter of time before the venture capitalists start circling – if they haven’t done so already.
You can read a Q&A I did with Ismail earlier this year.