27. November 2012–
As we covered yesterday in part one of our spotlight on Portugal, Lisbon wants to boost its image of the surf capital of Europe by adding startups to the mix. Pedro Sampaio, Jesse Biroscak and Andre Marquet fill us in on a cool 10 companies to watch...
UniPlaces (real estate)
Those who have studied away from home – or even in another country – know the difficulty of finding a house or a room to rent. Accommodation is either too expensive, too far from university, or not up to minimum standards. Founders Miguel Santo Amaro, Mariano Kostelek, Leo Lara and Ben Grech were studying in London and had a terrible time finding a house to rent. That difficulty became the inspiration behind UniPlaces, created in 2011 with the aim of bridging the gap between quality housing and students.
At present, the company has more than twenty agreements with institutions of higher education in Portugal, and, since April, in Chile. The website is multilingual to facilitate use by students from other countries. The project has won StartUp Pirates and was accepted at StartUp Chile. UniPlaces is currently incubated in Lisbon, but has plans to expand the platform to other Latin American countries.
Wishareit (social commerce)
Ever had trouble choosing a gift for a family member or friend? Have you ever received a gift that you did not really want? Wishareit, founded by Pedro Moura, João Gomes, and João Romão, overcomes these problems.
CrowdProcess (cloud data)
CrowdProcess is a web-based distributed computing platform. CrowdProcess aims to help the brightest brains to solve the most difficult problems, but also gives websites the ability to monetise without spoiling the user’s experience.
Through a network of websites with thousands of users, CrowdProcess taps unused CPU power to help solve problems. Who knows – it could potentially help the discovery of a cure for cancer...
Hole19 helps golfers improve their game. The golfer can plan his or her round and record stats through a mobile app, complemented by an online analytics platform where golfers can connect with instructors, other golfers and golf courses.
They have a five person team, are backed by "friends, family and fools" plus half a million euros from QREN (a local fund made up from EU grants) with clients in a wide range of European countries.
Cell2B is a biotechnology company dedicated to developing advanced cellular therapies. The team aim to offer a new set of therapies for patients with inflammatory problems and tumors, among others. Cell therapies hold great promise for addressing some of those problems.
Cell2B is developing new techniques and protocols, with the aim of increasing effectiveness and results with regard to tissue and organ regeneration.
Unplugg (energy management)
Unplugg aims to help every citizen to manage their own energy consumption. It's a service that treats info collected by counters and electricity smart meters and presents it to the user in a useful way. The platform enables analysis of patterns of energy consumption and, at the same time, helps people find answers to improve their energy efficiency.
Biosurfit's premise is simple – perform rapid blood tests and get results in just 15 minutes. João Fonseca, a chemical engineer, created Biosurfit in 2006. After six years of R&D, 15 patents, and more than €5.5m investment, Biosurfit produced a medical appliance, Spinit, which allowed rapid analysis of blood without prior sample preparation. Tests can even occur during a medical consultation.
Biosurfit currently identifies viral and bacterial infections in the blood and plans to launch a second disposable test next year to perform a complete blood count, the blood test most commonly given.
The company eventually wants to perform 80 per cent of blood analyses globally.
Talkdesk (phone CRM)
A company of any size able to create a call centre in five minutes. This is the value proposition that gave Talkdesk the victory at the Twilio Fund 2011 competition in Silicon Valley, and yet it doesn’t even begin to describe the full potential of this disruptive project...
The idea came from Cristina Fonseca and Tiago Paiva (pictured above), two Masters in Network Engineering from IST. They were motivated to build the first prototype to win a MacBook Pro at a competition hosted by Twilio. They did win, and were also invited to fly to the USA and present in front of an audience of over 500 people.
Talkdesk impressed once again and, of all the investment proposals that followed, Cristina and Tiago ended up accepting 500Startups’ offer to participate in their four-month intensive acceleration program, one of the most prestigious in the US, parallel to an incubating program at the Taguspark’s incubator in Portugal.
And the product? A cloud-based service that allows companies to set up a call centre with as little as a laptop and connection to the internet.
Qamine (IT services)
Qamine helps you change/fix code. Every time you change and correct code, the company looks for spots where you may need to apply that change as well.
In other words, it's a static analysis tool as a service that looks for bugs that you may want to fix. The good part is that you don't have to run anything or even remember the tool. When problems occur, Qamine sends you an email with the analysis it made.
EMOVE seeks to become the major player in the offshore wave power sector, in renewable energy generation. Founded in 2009, it won the first EDP Richard Branson Innovation Prize that year.
The product, BluSphere, a spherical power generator, is designed to capture the energy generated by ocean waves. As a power generator, it uses an innovative and internationally patented technology, the ESG – Electric Spherical Generator (PCT104442) – which converts kinetic energy into electricity from any direction, and is up to 37 times more efficient than common generators of its type.
Wave power is perhaps the most reliable and dense renewable energy option available and, yet, the most unexplored. With a current blue ocean market opportunity of $1 trillion – 2000 TWh or 53 per cent of electricity consumed in the USA (12 per cent worldwide) – and a theoretical potential of up to 80.000 TWh (four times the total world’s consumption), EMOVE's device has the potential to change the world...
Image credit: surfer, by Pedro Simões; Talkdesk, by Flickr user TechCrunch
This article originally appeared in NESTA magazine, the Magazine of the Entrepreneurial Club of Nova University of Lisbon.
About Pedro Sampaio
Pedro is a "do-er" – he learns quickly and acts to resolve issues. He currently works at Webnographer Portugal’s office. After gaining experience in the entrepreneurial and startup community in Portugal over the past few years, Pedro is putting more and more of his ideas into practice. Most recently, he began NESTA magazine, the Magazine of the Entrepreneurial Club of Nova University of Lisbon which publishes articles about entrepreneurship in Portugal. He has a background in business management.
About Jesse Biroscak
Jesse is a brazen ideas-man with a talent for infectiously enthusiastic marketing & communications, networking and connecting, writing and editing, and exposing people's inner awesomeness. Things he loves doing (in order): inquiring, listening, discussing, understanding, thinking, connecting the dots, implementing. Things he tries to avoid: complacent people, liars and lying.
About Andre Marquet
Andre is a telecom engineer and co-founder of Beta-i, a non-for-profit organisation based in Lisbon fostering the local startup eco-system. He organised the first TEDx in Lisbon in 2009, and is also a facilitator of Startup Weekend.
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