I just got home from the Intel Capital CEO Summit in Southern California. Intel puts on such a compelling event for its Portfolio Companies.
I met some really interesting CEOs.
Jeff Liesendahl of Accertify, LLC (Accertify.com) in Illinois runs a fascinating company that helps online merchants avoid selling to customers that are using stolen credit card numbers. He has some crazy stories of fraud well beyond anything I have read about. I won’t post the stories here since he might not appreciate my repeating them in a public forum. But one story I can share as he said it hit the newspapers. He said there are criminal gangs that create fake profiles on eHarmony, looking for targets to defraud. One such profile showed a hunk of a man that advertised himself as a widowed engineer. It turns out he was a scammer living in Nigeria. He pursued a woman he met on eHarmony for nine months, and they got engaged without ever having met in person. eHarmony discovered the gang, and their security staff contacted the woman and told her this man was a criminal and that she must break off contact with him. The woman did not take heed, and said they must have made a mistake, as she was planning to marry this man. The man later convinced the woman to sell her house and wire him $160,000.00. Once she did that, she never heard from him again. What a story.
Jeff’s company has an apparently very solid business, as they seek to compile the same type of fraud detection databases the credit card companies maintain. These databases are used to detect fraud in progress by looking for unusual activity. What many people do not know is that the credit card companies don’t share their databases with online merchants, as they have no financial incentive to do so, as the merchants are 100% responsible for fraud. Jeff said online credit card fraud is a $100,000,000,000.00 per year problem, and the card companies want no part of that liability. Merchants have a very strong motivation to buy his company’s products and services.
Gail Kantor of eJamming (eJamming.com) also has a company I think is fascinating. eJamming allows musicians to play music together live over the Internet, no matter the location of each musician. They have spent five years perfecting their peer-to-peer software that, among other things, moderates the effect of different latency values that different Internet connections have.
Jens Nikolaj Aertebjerg, CEO of NeuString (neustring.com), has a company that makes predictive analytics software for the telecommunications industry. They promise to provide customers with a return on investment in just two months, the shortest ROI time frame I’ve ever heard of.
Finally, I got to meet Human Ramezani, in the IT Innovation area at BMW Group. I got to tell him my wish list for car features, and he graciously promised to pass them on to the right people at BMW.
Briefly, I would like to see ‘TiVo for radio’ where the car radio would record my favorite National Public Radio shows so I could listen to them no matter what time of day I am driving.
I would also like to see a system that would phone rescue personnel if a baby is left in a parked car. He said this one should be easy for them to implement since there is already a motion sensor inside the passenger compartment for break in detection. I suggested the car first phone and text message the owner, and if there is no quick response, the car would then call rescue personnel.
Finally, I would like to see motor vehicles cool themselves while parked in hot climates. This could be done with a small solar panel in the sun roof directly connected to a fan. The fan need not be connected to the vehicle battery, to avoid any danger of the fan draining the battery. The fan would only activate when there’s enough sun to power it, so there is no need for a power switch. I suspect a fair amount of oil is used in the world to cool hot car interiors just after starting. If the car interior were close to the outside air temperature, drivers wouldn’t have to run the air conditioner on high for the first minutes, thus saving fuel.