Vodafone NL supports mobile start-ups with 100k at Picnic

Vodafone NL supports mobile start-ups with 100k at Picnic

Quite a late report about who won the Vodafone Mobile Clicks competition last night at Picnic, but anybody who has ever attended a web conference knows the valid reason for this. Vodafone Netherlands organized the Mobile Clicks competition to support Dutch mobile start-ups with €100k (and to get some good PR).

NulazThe last couple of months, 20 start-ups presented their ideas for a jury with acclaimed Dutch and Belgian mobile experts like Rudy de Waele and Yuri van Geest. I witnessed it all from close distance, as my friends Edial Dekker and Laura van der Vlies participated with MapTheGap. They want to create a tool that helps creative folks to easily store ideas – without them losing the context of time and place. It’s just an idea right now, development will probably start soon.

These were the other five nominees:

  • Nulaz: interactive location based service that shows where your friends and interesting places (like restaurants and museums are).
  • TipSpot: a social city guide with tips of friends and locals. Already active in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and the Hague.
  • Mi-i: offers an extra TV experience by providing context-relevant social games.
  • Mobypicture: easy sharing of pictures on Flickr and co. Is hugely popular in the Dutch Twitter scene.
  • Exphera: world-wide mobile broad band Internet access for a fixed price.
MapTheGap team (CC: silvertje)

Yesterday was the day of the climax. The six finalists kicked off in the morning with presentations and the final judgment of the jury led to the show at 6pm. And a show it was. Vodafone Netherlands CEO Guy Laurence really knows how to pump up a crowd. He announced that the prize was split in three: 60k, 30k, and 10k. The winners are…. Nulaz (60k), TipSpot (30k), and MapTheGap (10k)! They were all ecstatic.

The jury picked Nulaz because of its great potential. With growth of 35,000 users in three months (from 25,000 to 60,000), this isn’t hard to understand. That the start-up also has corporate clients, paying customers, and a broad range of services also helped.

Despite these advantages, Nulaz does face ferocious competition, especially from operators who aren’t particularly fond of the service. These companies would rather offer a location based service themselves, especially now that they’re looking for alternative revenue sources. Therefore it’s actually quite ironic that Nulaz won this prize (only one member of the jury represented Vodafone), as there are no strings attached. But hey, if Vodafone acquires the service in a few months, they’ll have their investment back.

By the way, we have 75 invites for people interested in using Tipspot as a social guide in Holland’s largest cities. Get them here.

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