30. December 2013–
What a year. Companies acquired, collapsed, sometimes both, an explosion of promising ideas and solid under-the-radar successes. German politicians got serious about startups. Rocket Internet continued its internet land grab. Bill Gates invested in ResearchGate.
What should we expect in 2014? Health tech, already strong in Berlin, will receive a boost with the opening of Bayer's new incubator CoLaborator. Zalando may IPO. At least one more major internet company will probably set up an office here. A few more familiar names may go under and send experienced entrepreneurs onwards to new projects – and there's no shame in that – and a few more names will become familiar. Here are the five startups that I'm betting on in 2014...
The story: Born from CEO Ida Tin's frustration with low-grade pink 'n' tacky period apps, Clue is a carefully-designed and easy way to keep track of a woman's monthly fertility cycle. Take a moment each day to enter data and the app will show where it's at and predict what's next.
Why I'm backing it: Clue is small but excellent – the Wunderlist of cycle-tracking apps, if you will – and it's made a welcome difference in my own life. The team is planning to release additional tools to help couples conceive, which will put Clue in competition with Max Levchin's Glow. I'd still bet on it.
The story: Got a skin problem? Upload a photo to GoDerma's website or mobile app and get an answer from an experienced dermatologist within 48 hours. Since a doctor would often just forward a photo to a dermatologist for assessment anyway, the standard of care is arguably just as good.
Why I'm backing it: If it gets Bayer HealthCare’s Dr Kemal Malik to sit up and pay attention, as he did during a recent pitch competition in Berlin, it's a good sign.
The story: EyeQuant is a software tool that predicts where website users will look in the first three seconds of their visit. All it needs is a URL or screenshot and it's apparently 90 per cent as accurate as a real eye-tracking study. Clients have included Groupon, Spotlfy and Barnes & Noble.
Why I'm backing it: Advertising and marketing startups don't usually excite me. This does. It's not the only interesting neuromarketing activity in Germany, either. Could these kinds of breakthroughs trigger a new advertising era?
The story: Travis CI, a ten-person team based in the same building as Betahaus, is quietly building a strong community of developers, who use it to build and test open source and private projects. It works alongside GitHub and supports about a dozen code languages. If it's an open source project, it's free. If it's a private project, prices start at $129 per month.
Why I'm backing it: Travis CI currently runs 20,000 tests per day for 650 paying customers and 42,000 tests per day for about 50,000 active open source projects. In a further show of support from their users, the team raised $135,000 in a crowdfunding campaign last year.
The one-line pitch: "The ultimate musical workout"
The story: Nagual Sounds makes software – and holds a patent for the technology – to turn any kind of data into music. Wave a hand or shake a leg in front of a 3D camera or team up and make music by dancing with a friend. A second product, Nagual Care, aspires to apply the same technology to music and movement therapy for patients with restricted movement.
Why I'm backing it: Just watch the video.
For related posts, check out
My Top 5 startups for 2013 – Nina Fowler, VentureVillage News Editor
My Top 5 Startups for 2013 – Michelle Kuepper, VentureVillage Staff Writer
My Top 5 Startups for 2013 – Charmaine Li, VentureVillage editorial intern
My Top 5 Startups for 2013 – Linsey Fryatt, VentureVillage Managing Editor