And so it began. The Startup Showcase –
This year we have 15 finalists. Here’s the first 5:
1. First up, Laurent from Fishing Cactus. I love these guys. Five minutes of passion! How big is Serious Gaming? “Well, two years ago 500 games were being made. Now it’s over 3,000”. Total revenue in the market according to Laurent is $1.6bn and Europe is heating up, while US is leading. Fishing Cactus are one of a select crew of official Xbox developers using Kinect. Theirs is a Mojito engine! A 3D/2D real-time engine that is. They use it to scale quickly. Questions from Sherry Coutu, one of the judges, revealed some of the revenue models. I know from hearing them in yesterday’s rehearsal that they have a huge amount of business from social games in market. But they’re really focused on making the Serious Games opportunity a success. From a funding perspective: they raised $150k seed cap already and now they’re looking for a new round of investment to help them grow.
2. Actio.tv from Moscow reckon current online video advertising sucks: “lots of clicks, lots of money”. When describing how good Actio.tv is in comparison, Alex Babin did a little cha-cha-cha dancing on stage to relate how clients were delighted with better results. Good slide on competition (and why they are better). Sherry Coutu asked “how long does it take?” and Alex’s answer – “It’s as easy as using Google Adwords”. Then added “Using MSFT Azure allows us tag items and find them quickly”. He used an Adidas example; how the engagement rate increases radically as people get used to clicking in a video. Another Q: What about competition from big guys like YouTube? Alex said they “have something similar but we’ve much more competitive technology, according to our customers. They can white label. Everyone can use”. Q: What about the team? “Oh, they are really smart. We have over 20 people”. Short and sweet, and to the point.
3. I-dispo from Paris presenter Ismael Nzouetom said they’re taking the concept of pay-per-click and turning it into “pay-per-booking”. They’re “bringing online customers to offline businesses” by putting a Book Now button into search results. 30% of search is local. It’s a great solution. In three months they’ve gone from having 1k restaurants and 1k visitors/month in April to 200k+ local businesses and over 10m visitors projected in June, due primarily to a partnership with Microsoft Bing. They’ll soon be one of the top local sites in FR. Ismael did a fab job responding to the jury guys questions. And just to make their day they’ll be featured by Techcrunch FR today. Bon Chance to them.
4. @Doccomltd is founded by two UK doctors who experienced firsthand the 5 billion GBP waste in UK Healthcare because of poor organization and poor communication. Theirs is an enterprise social network for healthcare. Jonathan’s grilling by the judges revealed growth plans for the UK primarily then looking to attack the US market though it is competitive and subject to extensive regulation, which makes market entry expensive. They already have 15 healthcare customers and funding from Eden Ventures. The next version of the service will be launched this summer and they’ll have their first mobile app launching later this year. Overcoming the challenges of a disparate, mobile workforce, DocCom is bringing healthcare’s antiquated communications into the 21st century.
5. BinaryBio from Sweden uses distributed computing to bring supercomputing to your desktop. It seeks to speed up complex calculations by spreading over parallel computing clouds. Intriguing. Today, the complexity and volume of data involved in bioinformatics is developing faster than computer processors can cope. BinaryBio’s founders have taken this concept to a new level: first, they simplify the methodology for distributed computing making it accessible to non-experts and second, they’ve built their supercomputer ‘in the cloud’, meaning that it is extremely accessible and scalable. BinaryBio is the brainwave of two professors: Erik Lindahl (Professor in Theoretical and Computational Biophysics at Stockholm Institute of Technology) and Arne Elofsson (Professor in Bioinformatics at Stockholm University).
Afterwards we heard from Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman Europe, who trained and worked as a Software Engineer. Born in 1962, Jan said back then “for $1 you could buy 1 transistor. Now you can buy 1 billion transistors for $1”. Jan is a great ambassador for BizSpark and Startups in Europe and truly believes investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs is the way out of recession in Europe.
Jan introduced the Director General from Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission, Heinz Zourek. What a fascinating guy! (Seriously). Did you know the EC had a stake in Skype at the beginning? I didn’t. He also said eskills are the most precious and important raw materials and that “we can control them ourselves”. On the subject of entrepreneurs and the cloud: “Start-ups must focus on their real business with appropriate and expandable IT. The Commission believe cloud is key”.
Microsoft Europe Chairman Jan Muehlfeit echoes this in an interview today: "Cloud computing is for the knowledge society what electricity was for the industrial society”
While Jan and Heinz were on stage, Dan’l Lewin from Microsoft signed an MOU with the President of the Flanders region to establish an ehealth Innovation Center.
Phew. Good morning. Time for some food and networking now….