The Telefonica-backed Wayra London incubator officially opened its doors last year, but its current intake of startups have only called it home for around seven months. Last night it was finally time for Wayra demoDay 2013 – a chance for the fledgling startups to draw interest and offers of cash from a crowd of more than 200 investors.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
Alongside the likes of Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, EC1 Capital and Passion Capital, TNW spent the evening at Wayra London to bring you our favorites.
With 15 companies taking part in the event, it was tough to whittle it down to only a select few, but here they are…
There are plenty of apps that want to change the way we consume news in some way, but Peekster is slightly different as it wants to act as the bridge between the physical and digital worlds. Consider it as a bit like Shazam for print.
So, for example, if you’re reading your favorite newspaper and see an interesting article you’d like to share with someone – or across a social network – you just need to scan the paper with the app and it will launch the digital version for sharing.
With an average of around 500 new downloads every day, the company is hoping that its freshly added support for newspapers including The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Evening Standard, Metro and City AM will attract even more.
At the demo day, Tine Hamler, CEO of the company said it was seeking £250k to increase the sales and marketing team, and spread the word about Peekster even further.
In future, the company envisages itself as a platform for individual pieces of premium content – in the same way that iTunes is the go-to place for music.
Tank Top TV
The promise of personalized TV recommendations is nothing new, but where many take a service-specific approach, Tank Top TV wants to be the defacto movie and TV recommendation service.
Currently, it provides listings from more than 25 different on-demand services including LoveFilm, Blinkbox and iPlayer, and just last week included TV programme options on the platform for the first time, alongside movies.
However, rather than simply acting as yet-another TV guide, Tank Top TV, uses its proprietary algorithm to recommend content for individual users, as well as using it to push “good” content to the top of the list, Liz Rice, co-founder of Tank Top TV explained.
For viewers, it provides a one-stop curated list of what’s available to watch right now – along with which service its available on and how much it costs, if it’s an on-demand movie, for example.
On the monetization front, the company plans to sell the viewing data that it obtains, but also says that licensing its recommendation algorithm could be a good earner.
Tank Top TV was at the demo day looking to raise £400,000 in seed round funding. In order to further tempt potential investors, Rice ended her presentation by saying that the company is on target for annual revenue of $2.5m by 2016 “or will have been acquired for our discovery technology”.
It’s hard to have a good idea. It’s even harder to have a good idea that no one else has done, which makes it even more surprising that Dattch claims to be the very first dating app with a user experience designed for women.
Aimed at lesbian, bisexual and bi-curious women, Dattch is attempting to rebalance dating apps. Where dating apps for straight or gay men tend to put the emphasis on location, a large picture and very little real information about a person, Dattch focuses on providing more incidental details about a person’s life, in a way that any digital native is more used to consuming.
For example, someone might post a picture on their profile of a bike leaning against a railing along with the caption “how I get to work”, to convey some information, but also reveal a little more personality. Ultimately, the idea is to actually allow people to get a better idea of what a person is like before deciding to get in contact or meet up.
Location is still used as a factor, but it’s not the primary one, as tends to be the case with other apps. Founder, Robyn Exton, explained to TNW that location had to still be included as a relevant factor but exactly how important it was varies from person to person.
Monetization of the platform is achieved in three ways: ad-funded access for free users, a premium subscription and in-app purchases.
With £100, 000 already secured in seed funding, Dattch is now looking ahead to Q3 2014 when it will seek to raise an additional £500,000 to fund expansion into US and Australia.
If you’re wondering about the name, Exton told us that it came from the desire to avoid using the words gay or girl (she said existing services tended to have names like gaydargirl, grrl2grrl or gaygirlnet) and to choose a name that could “mean something to the new younger generation of [lesbian and bi] women”.
By integrating with networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Moves, and App.net, it makes creating a journal a doddle – something that’s required if Narrato wants users to keep coming back.
Since the platform has been fully live, 50,000 users have signed up -with 40 percent of those coming back to use it every month.
To celebrate, Narrato used the occasion to launch a new feature – publishing journals to the Web for others to enjoy. For example, here’s Narrato’s own from the event.
The service is currently monetized through in-app purchases and in January Narrato will be looking for a $1 million funding round to spur activities in the US.
There are lots of music services out there – throw a virtual stick, you’re bound to hit one. But Songdrop takes all those tracks on Soundcloud, YouTube, Bandcamp, Vimeo and other places and gives users a place to ‘drop’ them for later listening or sharing. In the image below you can see the Drops Mix Chart – curated lists from users that have been voted the most popular.
Taking elements of social networking (like the ability to like individual ‘dropped’ tracks or mixes) along with integration of Facebook friends lists and giving users the option to follow bands or artists means that Songdrop might stand a better chance of achieving its goal of becoming the music player for the internet. Particularly if it can keep adding to those disparate sources of content that songs can be dropped from.
There’s an iOS app to go alongside the Web platform, and since the company launched there have been nearly 2 million plays using the platform, and 320,000 songs dropped.
EI Technologies is a British company with a less glamorous, but no less worthy goal than some of the other companies that presented at Wayra demoDay. Simply, it wants to cut down on the amount of stress an individual feels by giving them more information about when they get most stressed.
To achieve this, the software can understand when a person gets stressed by listening to their voice. Matt Dobson, co-Founder and CEO of EI Technologies described it as “your Nike Fuelband for your mind”.
The technology itself is fairly platform agnostic and as such can be white-labelled and included as just one part in far larger suite of health tools. Currently, it exists as the Xpression app, which can be installed on a smartphone and constantly monitors the sound of the user’s voice. According to Dobson, it’s drawn quite a bit of attention from Samsung:
In the next few days we will sign a contract with Samsung to develop an application for their global health cloud, this will see our application used by up to half a billion smartphone users worldwide
Although it can be used as a standalone app, it was really designed to work best with with behavioural therapy designed to reduce stress. By providing insights into the causes, you can better seek treatment, the theory goes.
As well as licensing the software to others, the company is also entering market via private healthcare for employees. With stress being one of the leading causes of absenteeism for employers, reducing that stress more quickly and effectively is really in their favor.
iHelp is an emergency care platform designed, simply, to save lives.
Born out of the founder’s own personal emergency experiences, Andraz Ogorevc decided there must be a better way to get help more quickly in an emergency situation. In finding that solution, his team created iHelp – a community driven emergency network. So if an emergency happens and an SOS alert is sent, all the members of the iHelp community in the local area receive it. It’s a simple sounding premise, and a worthy goal; time is of the essence in any emergency situation.
Available currently for Android devices, iHelp is also coming to the iPhone soon. In addition, the company also has an API so that it can be integrated into other applications too.
To provide as much information as possible in an emergency, it currently collects data like user location, personal information, medical conditions, and maps rescuer responses to incidents (so you know when help is on the way). It also has a map of known defibrillator locations.
Launching first in the UK, Bulgaria, Germany and Croatia, iHelp is currently looking for £500,000 to expand its network and build into new markets. It hopes to have a network of 20 million iHelp users in the next five years.
Oh, and to date, it has saved two lives, which not all startups can say.
Featured Image Credit – Wayra/Flickr