More than forty companies demoed their product at Thursday’s Plug and Play Expo in Sunnyvale, CA. Given two minutes each in front of an audience of investors, each company hoped to be one of three chosen winners. The prize: a ten minute presentation at the day’s end, directly after keynote speaker Tim Draper. Out of the usual crowd of leveragers, aggregators, neologizers and enablers, three companies stood out as the best to the VC judges: Apprema, Paxterra, and Travelfli.

target="_blank">Apprema, is a micro-gifting service. You can send small gifts like a Starbucks coffee or iTunes album via Facebook, mypace or email.

It’s a really good idea: only a few dollars more than gifting or superpoking, we can see the gift of an actual thing catching on (hint to those who superpoke me).

Paxterra: $415 billion dollars was spent last year on electricity and equipment costs for hardware and software, data centers, servers, and labs. Paxterra optimizes these, offering electricity savings of up to 50%, reducing a hefty portion of budget waste.

Travelfli allows you to manage all of your frequent flyer miles from one site. “Our recommendation engine will also show you other ways to use miles, such as transferring between programs or taking advantage of program miles and points you don't use. It will also tell you whether or not redeeming miles for a specific fare is a good deal or if you would be better off using cash. ”

One thing Expo organizers might want to consider in the future is making the announcement that cocktails are being served outside after the winners do their demos. The presence of food and booze definitely encouraged many people to skip these presentations.

By Mark Alvarez