Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Taking on BIG Challenges - G.ho.st Aims High

We're in conference season here in San Francisco and the Web 2.0 Summit that ended last week was one of the big ones. Thursday concluded with a Launch Pad in which six companies presented their startup to a VC panel. Among the finalists stood up G.ho.st, an ambitious Israeli/Palestinian start up.

G.ho.st stands for Global Hosted Operating System (Web-based OS). The company wants to provide people with what it calls a free “virtual computer,” letting you log onto an account from any browser and perform standard computing tasks including email, online file management (3G of free storage powered by Zimbra) and office applications such as Zoho, meebo and Thinkfree. This virtual computer is also protected from the risks of a desktop computer: no crashes, security threats or storage limitations. See G.ho.st's trailer and video introduction here.

G.ho.st launched back in April 2006 and raised $2M to date from an undisclosed investor. Their business model is risky: G.ho.st wants to get revenue as a mega affiliate, by taking a cut from transactions users make while surfing on G.ho.st. The judges commentary was mixed. On one hand, it's a big idea that solves a real problem, but on the other, it's unlikely that users will abandon their traditional computers and generate enough cash to sustain the company by shopping on a virtual machine.

Either way, G.ho.st aims high - both in the challenge it is trying to solve and in it's unique structure. Based in Jerusalem and Ramallah (west bank), G.ho.st is led by CEO Zvi Schreiber, and COO Tareq Maayah.

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