The usual London crowd was here; investors, VCs, entrepreneurs and even a surprising appearance by a man in pink jeans. Unfortunately the air conditioning wasn’t working and the venue was like a sauna so there was a large crowd gathered outside.
Inside, unless you were very close to the front, it was also almost impossible to hear any of the 1 -minute pitches being given. It seems most people were here to network anyway rather than listen to them. There was a break after the 44 start-ups finished their pitches, then 8 finalists did their 3 minute pitches and though the sound system had been turned up, it was still difficult to hear any of them.
The judging panel was made up of Katy Turner and Ben Tompkins of Eden Ventures; Eileen Burbidge (various, including White Bear Yard); Wendy Tan White of Moonfruit, an event sponsor, and Paul Jozefak of Neuhaus Partners.
There were around 44 companies that submitted a 2 line precis of their company and 30 were selected to give 1 minute pitches (though in the end it was agreed to allow all 44 to pitch), there’s too many to list here, but Eileen Burbidge from White Bear Yard has compiled a pretty comprehensive list.
Of these, Calaboard, Crowdscanner, Duedil, MindQuilt, Me-stars, OneLeep, Geomium and GourmetOrigins made it through to the second round and the 3 companies who won (a bottle of champagne) were: -
1st: Calaboard from Calameda a Sardinian company. Their product is an augmented reality video conferencing system that allows a user to sketch on a virtual glass screen using their finger, and what they sketch is visible to everyone else. The other participants can also take control and modify the sketch by pointing at the camera (on a special visual area) and that will trigger the system to start sketching.
2nd: Duedil as in “Due Diligence” and they’re trying to make people recommendations work properly. Currently a plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser that sits on top of LinkedIn, it allows users to rate other LinkedIn users without any kind of expectation of a nice friendly recommendation back (as in the LinkedIn way). Users can remove a recommendation (they may regard it as negative), but the system will report the recommendation as removed.
3rd: Geomium a location based service that allows you to see who and what’s going on around you i.e. see where your friends are, meet new people near you, discover great bars and restaurants, find the best events in your city and chat and interact. Maybe Gowalla/Foursquare/Rummble/Qype/TrustedPlaces/etc rolled into one.
Personally I think Hullomail (who didn’t make it past the first round) is a great alternative to the operators’ voicemail services and Duedil should have won.
Though the venue was not ideal this time, TechHub is not officially in operation yet so things like the aircon and audio systems are sure to be in a better state for next time.