The winner of the first Bizcamp Tel Aviv competition was announced last night at the Google Campus in East London. Juan Cartagena of Traitperception accepted his prize of a trip to Tel Aviv to attend the DLD Festival and of course meet mentors in Israel.
Four finalists were gathered at the event and they pitched their business ideas to the judging panel of H.E. Daniel Taub, Ambassador of Israel to the Court of St. James, Debu Purkayastha, Google Principal of new business development, Gilad Novik, CTO at Horizon Ventures and yours truly.
Traitperception measures personality traits through crowdsourcing. It’s a reputation tool that assembles a picture of an individual based on the opinion of friends and acquaintances which then takes a statistical angle to arrive at a result. Basically, a personality test, but other people answer the questions for you.
Though the idea of reputation scales and points systems online has come under fire, it seems that the process is here to stay, the likes of Kred and Klout do not seem to be going anywhere for the moment.
According to Cartagena, a personality profile can be much more useful as a measure of a person online than the usual work and social metrics. The results from Traitperception can be added to online work resumes, dating profiles or even house sharing sites where the way a person thinks or acts can play an important role, sometimes more than their qualifications or professional skills.
Cartagena was naturally delighted to win the competition, “There was so much talent in the other startups, it’s an honour to win,” he said.
He is also keen to point out the difference between his service and that of Klout. “My mother doesn’t have any Klout but she’s a good person so she would have a high Traitperception report. It is for the 99% of us who are normal people not those who have social Klout,” he says.
“We are trying to create a white box not a black box, to create something that people can trust. Our system is based on the big five personality traits and we are trying to create credibility based on the work of known research institutions.”
The company has a lot of hard questions about ethics and privacy ahead as it opens up another area of transparency that not everyone would be happy to reveal. Cartagena is pragmatic about the future, “It is hard. I am quite cynical about it, but it was something that ten years ago, when people didn’t want to put their CV online and now there is LinkedIn. In the future, personality will be important. It’s what differentiates people for others much more than experience or knowledge. We are looking for a place where there is a market of trust.”
H.E. Daniel Taub, Ambassador of Israel to the UK and competition judge, said, “The variety and quality of the entries speaks volumes about the burgeoning young tech startup scene in the UK. It was very tough selecting one winner, and we hope the runners-up will all go on to make resounding successes of their businesses.”
In announcing the winner, he said, “We chose the one, not necessarily with the most commercial potential but the one that was the most challenging and that was Traitperception.”
The three other finalists in the competition turned out to be quite different businesses. Eventie is an app for finding interesting events in a user’s area. The service gets to know what you might like by basing results on past events and preferences on other social networks.
Mallzee is a social shopping site where users can create their own virtual shopping mall. User profiles are based on their favourite brands and the company’s software finds other suitable products and recommendations. Friends within the networks are encouraged to help others with their shopping decisions and there are rewards available when purchases are made.
Squadify is a sports social network that was pitched as being something like online dating for people looking to find others to play sports. The service provides tools and methods for finding other players and then creating matches or leagues for different games.
Doubtless, each of the finalists will have interesting future plans for expansion as well as possibly turning up at other accelerators and events. With each experience like Bizcamp it seems that small businesses grow and evolve.
Traitperception appears to be hitting its stride after winning a SeedCamp round in Berlin earlier this year and now winning with Bizcamp Tel Aviv. Cartagena joins nine other winners from different European countries, who will travel to Tel Aviv next month.