15. May 2012–
Seedcamp Berlin 2012 is still in full swing as we speak, with a spectrum of 20 hopeful startups meeting with some of the most important business brains in Europe to get invaluable advice and mentorship to help them on the road to success.
The event, held in the Bertelsmann Building on Unter den Linden gives teams from across Europe and beyond just two minutes to pitch their concept to the crowd, but the real benefit for most of the participants is the face time with some of the most successful entrepreneurs and investors on the scene.
An investor's- eye view
Christophe Maire, CEO at txtr and renowned Berlin investor explains: "The event is awesome. For me, it's about the teams over the product. A great team with a good idea how to pitch can be applied to any product. I was especially impressed with the image recognition software today."
And said teams gathered from Germany, UK, Estonia, Portugal, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Russia amongst others to get their 120 seconds of fame in front of the panel of luminaries. Here are some of our favourites...
Trend 1 – social shopping
Easyown.it describes itself as a "permanent online shopping companion". Building on the Pinterest model, it stakes its claim firmly in retail, allowing users to "pin" any potential buys for later and share with friends. Unlike Pinterest it can then be completely upfront about affiliate deals.
Shareagift.com also caught our eye with a simple service that allows people to pool together online to buy presents. The idea might not be original, but the concept was clear, the pitch confident and the team experienced – one of our tips for the Seedcamp prize.
Trend 2 – location-based everything
An enduring trend that has matured in the last few years is location-based services – this year saw some imaginative uses of this tech, such as Brian Industries' Find Stuff To Do" app from the UK – a location-based search and recommendation engine.
Another VV tip for the top is Pioneer Legends. Billed by co-creator Sebasitian Jerie (above) as the first location-aware browser game, this enticing social gaming title is not only playable on any platform – be it mobile, tablet or PC – it also lets you set localised tasks linked to real-world locations. Like Farmville mixed with Foursquare. Only fun.
Trend 3 – automotive opportunities
Deeply unsexy, perhaps, but the automotive business seems ripe for highly lucrative opportunities.
Autosprite.ru – A Russian startup that hooks up car owners to various services (from insurance to servicing to insurance) was up first – a great way to simplify all the wearisome business of car-owning.
Next was Repairy.com, a cloud-based software solution for garage owners that links contacts, bookings, supplies and customer conversions. Again, one that we think is tipped for success.
Trend 4 – recommendation gets even more personal
Lastly is the growing trend for tailoring our online consumption. As the internet and its massive amounts of information grows, we need more ways to filter out the noise to get to our relevant content quicker and smarter.
Cartogami.com and Roomd, both from the UK, bring higher levels of personalisation to house-hunting and roomate-searching respectively, while Foundd aims to take the stress out of choosing a movie with your other half with tailored media recommendations.
Outitude.com brings the same smarts to planning outings when you're on holiday, while Trait Perception (another favourite) provides an "Amazon review of people" so that we can check out potential dates/hires/roomates. Cool.
... and the crazy ultrasonic music machine
Last, but certainly not least was Ultrasonic Audio Technologies from Slovenia, showcasing Syntact, the only piece of hardware at the event – an amazingly cool new audio interface that had attendees flocking around to feel it.
The two sound engineers from Ljubljana have devised a touch-free ultrasonic music player that allows you to "shape" sound by using your hands and sonic vibrations only.
Christian Thaler-Wolksi from Wellington Partners was impressed: "It's cool. It's not scaleable, but it's very cool".