We have a happy announcement to make from our US portfolio today. Kapow Technologies has closed a round of financing with Steamboat Ventures (the VC arm of Walt Disney!) and Morgan Stanley's Strategic Investments Group. See more detail here.
The fact that two corporate venture firms led this financing is significant, because it proves that application mashups are now relevant to the enterprise. What started out as a consumer Web 2.0 concept akin to a DJ mixing tunes into a new hit, has now become strategic. Companies are using mashup technology to create new applications from data and features available on the wider Web.
I've commented a lot in this blog on the gradual adoption by enterprises of Web 2.0 technologies (Don Hinchcliffe's Enterprise 2.0, etc), but so far most publicized uses have been experimental. In the meantime, some 300 companies have adopted Kapow's Mashup Server, either to integrate legacy applications through their web interfaces, or to mash up internal and online data sources into new, useful applications. Those companies that tend to be on the cutting edge of new technologies, such as banks (like Morgan Stanley) and the Department of Homeland Security, have been using mashups for some time.
Kapow's online mashup server remains available to anyone on its open community site, openkapow. It's so easy to program Kapow robots that one of my colleagues is going to make one that pulls portfolio company newsfeeds into our revamped website, due out soon. [There's not getting out of it now Mike :-)]
In the same way that blog, wiki and social network features are finding their way into enterprise applications, mashups are now becoming mainstream. The ability to pull together all data and the many little applications found on the Web in a standard way effectively turns the Internet into a huge database and a flexible programming platform. It's not quite the Semantic Web Tim Berners-Lee dreams of because it still relies on humans to decide which sources to mash up, but it takes us one step closer by eliminating the technical barrier to web integration.