Last week I was delighted to be involved in The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam, where I met with a very influential audience from all over Europe….startups, vendors, investors, press, bloggers, analysts….you name it, and they were there. As well as sponsoring the event, we also organized a pitch prep day with our partner Rockstart for the startups presenting at the event, to help them make the most of this exciting opportunity.
And it certainly made a difference – all the startups who took part in the prep day worked very hard and I could see the results when they went on stage! It was a good reminder that while a lot of startups don’t prepare properly, the ones that do will see the benefit.
But, back to the main event. I missed most of the keynote presentations because I was so busy judging and mentoring startups, so I’m going to focus on them (and for me, they are always the most interesting aspect of these events anyway).
Tawkon, SnowCiety, ZapStreak, PlayerDuel and AppMotion made up the First Round on Day One and what a diverse range of ideas they presented! Twakon helps people minimize exposure to radiation, while Snowcity connects ski-ing and snowboarding friends on the slopes. ZapStreak offers a mobile SDK for pushing content to Web-connected TVs(no extra hardware needed) and Playerduel can turn any single-player game into a multi-user game, with minimal effort. Last but not least, Appmotion builds a framework that streams motion-based content to your smartphone, effectively turning into a games controller. How cool is that! SnowCity took winning position (the giant video screen showing ski-ing and snowboarding was definitely a crowd-pleaser).
Round two brought BellaDati, Tripl, Waytag, Babelverse and Shelby.tv on stage. There’s not enough room here to describe everyone, so I’m going to call out just two Shelby.tvand Waytag. I admit that Shelby.tv is BizSpark member but I can’t be accused of bias, because my fellow judges also agreed they were the winner of this session. Shelby is your place for video. It’s all the video your friends share, in one place… then Shelby gets smart, to give you personalized video on web, mobile, and smart TV. Clever stuff.
My other favourite startup from day one was Waytag is to GPS coordinates what DNS to IP addresses. It is so much easier to share your waytag than trying to share a street address or GPS co-ordinate. You name it, your control it and you choose who to share it with. I love it!
First up on day two was Robin, also a BizSpark member. Consumers are looking for trust when shopping online and Robin is today’s retailer’s sidekick for delivering that trust, helping to ensure great service, both online and offline. Other startups who presented on day two included Between, Six3, Hojoki and Nuji. Again, what a diversity of ideas! In brief: Between provides a secret online service for lovers to communicate intimately. Six3 makes it incredibly easy & fun to create and reply to video messages on any device. I liked the idea behind Hojoki, which is to make all cloud apps work as one, by building one newsfeed that basically creates a productivity dashboard. Nuji is doing well for itself: with over 250,000 stores and 300,000 products, it is creating a new type of social retail platform/
So much choice, so who were the ultimate winners?
- Overall winner (jury) – Shelby.tv
- Best Mobile Startup – Between
- Best Web app – Nuji
- Most remarkable pitch – Frommees
- Best B2C – snowciety
- Best B2B & Public choice – Babelverse
I’m happy to have been involved in an event that shows what a great collection of startups there are in Europe today. I’m looking forward to “The Next Web – The Next Year”.