15. November 2012–
Poikos and Captain Dash, based in Amersterdam and Paris respectively, beat out eight other finalists at the IBM SmartCamp EMEA finals yesterday to win the chance to compete at the world finals in New York.
It's the second recent pitching victory for Poikos, which scooped the top prize at the recent Pioneers Festival in Vienna. The company, led by Eleanor Watson, is working on patent-pending software to make body measurements. The top priority use case is for online clothes retail; there may also be applications in healthcare and fitness.
Captain Dash, represented yesterday by Gilles Babinet (above), delivered one of the most quotable pitches for his company's online marketing dashboard. "We want to make marketing dashboards as easy to use as a game in Zynga," he told the jury.
The pitches were more polished than the average startup pitching event in Berlin, likely due to the full day of mentoring the finalists received beforehand. "We had maybe 50, 60 mentors grill us in different areas," Watson said. "Sometimes really left-field, really interesting, really big ideas that made us think in a different way, like the possibility of starting up an acceleration programme for our technology itself."
Part of the vision behind the entrepreneurship programme is to promote technologies with the ability to affect large numbers of people – something Watson agreed with.
"I want technologies like ours to make a difference to the world, not just to the first billion but the second, third and so on," she said. "I want to see technology likes ours brought out on cheap Android phones and maybe bringing in healthcare, or child development tools all around the world. That's where we want to take it."
Speakers at the event, which attracted between 150-200 people to the Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin, included Jolicloud's Tariq Krim, Berlin Senator for Economics, Technology and Research Cornelia Yzer, VCs from European Investment Fund, Earlybird and Almaz Capital, and IBM's Dirk Wittkopp and Jim Corgel.