Techstars kicked off its first European Demo Day in London today, providing an opportunity for the 10 startups it has been supporting and nurturing for the last 13 weeks to show off their wares, and potentially bag a vital cash injection.
Being introduced by Lord Young, business and enterprise advisor to the UK Prime Minister, a serial entrepreneur who set up his first company back in 1961 – an almost literally different world – the 10 startups included businesses looking at solving diverse issues ranging from mobile payments to ways to buy your neighbors old shoes. And that’s not even a joke.
So, here you have the 10 startups that presented at Techstars, with our three favourites at the end; that’s not to say the rest aren’t worth taking note of, so no skipping.
For vets, as is the case in the medical industry, while technology has improved the tools and facilities they have at their disposal, the accompanying filing and management systems for practices are, at best, ageing.
This is where VetCloud steps in. Aiming to revolutionize (not to mention modernize) vetinary healthcare record keeping and practice management with its SaaS and CRM platform. Using VetCloud, offers the opportunity for clinics to put their data to work in an understandable way that can save them money and increase revenue. For example, by providing the opportunity to see where wastage is occurring, or which pets are eligible for certain special offers (and much more) it provides managers with a better overall picture of the day-to-day running.
Currently in private beta, VetCloud took to the stage looking to reach its funding goal of $400,000 – of which it already has $275,000 committed.
If sharing is caring, then Peerby’s hoping you care quite a lot indeed.
The Dutch company thinks it’s mad that people have to go out and buy things they need to use only once or twice, or very infrequently. Need to hang a picture? Well, that will require a drill – which means buying a drill, if you don’t have one already. Peerby’s answer to this is simply to borrow one from your neighbours.
At this point you may well be thinking this isn’t the first neighbourhood sharing scheme you’ve heard of, and you’d be right. It is, however, probably one of the only ones that puts the onus on requesting the item, rather than signing up and listing which possessions you have to offer. Impressively, the company says that it’s receiving 3,000 requests for items per day and that 80 percent of requests are fulfilled within 30 minutes.
Peerby is already present in all major cities in the Netherlands and was a third of its way to its €600,000 goal, which will go towards international expansion.
PayMins is entering an already crowded marketplace in providing a simple way to accept on mobile payments but its USP is that it bills directly to the user’s monthly phone contract.
Operator billing isn’t in itself unique either but by using this method the checkout process on a mobile device is reduced from around 130-odd keystrokes entering your name, address, card details, secure 3D verification etc. to entering your phone number and then a single button press. The result? Less checkout abandonment and higher revenues.
However, I’m not entirely convinced people would necessarily want to start paying for things they’d normally use a credit card for (not forgetting the protection that brings with it) on their monthly mobile bill instead. Nonetheless, it is an incredibly competitive market which suggests there’s money there to be made, so someone will inevitably crack it.
PayMins was looking to raise $500,000 in total and was 80 percent of the way there before today.
QuanTemplate, similarly to VetCloud, was borne of a team that has an intricate knowledge of the problems facing their industry. In this case, insurance and the mountains of paperwork and countless hours of inefficiency that brokers spend queueing at an underwriters desk. Bizarre as this sounds in 2013, this is apparently the way in which (re)insurance still works.
Naturally, QuanTemplate wants to fix this with its Web-based tools for trading risk, regulatory reporting and creating financial models for the insurance market.
Looking to raise $2 million, with one-third of that already committed, QuanTemplate has already launched in London and will use the cash injection (should it receive it) to expand internationally.
Modabound is the startup that I mentioned in the intro that wants you to sell your shoes to your neighbors. Not shoes specifically, but any of your unwanted clothes, if you’re a woman.
The New York-based startup says that the average female has more than $1,000 worth of clothes in their wardrobe, but rarely wears more than half of what she has. The solution, sell the rest using Modabound’s online marketplace for clothes.
Again, while not the first startup to try to create a fashion marketplace, Modabound is trying to do it a little differently by keeping all transactions face-to-face, paid for via its platform. The benefit of this is not having to wait around for a delivery, simply arrange a time to call by and then walk around the corner to pick up your new shoes.
To start with, Modabound has focused its efforts on select campus universities in New York City and Gainesville, Florida. Places that have a high number of women living in close proximity.
Modabound was looking to raise $600,000, with $300,000 of it already secured. Whether or not the service will scale beyond the enclosed (and ideal) nature of universities to the wider world and fit in with people’s busy daily schedules is a question that remains to be answered.
Iptvbeat is a realtime TV audience analytics platform for broadcasters. If that doesn’t mean a lot to you, you’ve probably heard of the ‘Nielsen Families‘ – the few chosen families whose viewing habits are tracked (and then extrapolated to the population as a whole) via little boxes and special remotes to operate and watch the TV in their home. In the UK, there are around 5,000 Nielsen Families, out of about 60 million families making it a not very representative sample.
By using Iptvbeat’s platform, however, the company says broadcasters can glean realtime, actionable insights simply by analysing their own viewer data. In addition to providing information on live TV, Iptvbeat can also draw information from mobile or time-shifted (PVR) viewers.
Iptvbeat was looking to raise “a large seed round”.
Osper wants to be thought of as a bank for kids.
Up and running with some families in beta already, Osper aims to put kids in control of their own money, but in a safe and educational way.
You’ll likely remember saving up for something that you really wanted as a child, and it’s these experiences in our formative years, Osper says, that shape the way we think about and manage money in the future. Simply, by instilling good habits, control and offering what is tantamount to piggybanks with a target, Osper thinks those people will go on to be able to better manage their own cash as an adult.
Those were 7 of the 10 startups on stage, what follows were my three favourites of the day.
3 – Moni
As noted with PayMins, the mobile payment transfer market is incredibly active right now with numerous companies – established and startups alike – trying to reach critical mass first.
However, Moni, Laurence Aderemi, co-founder and CEO of the company, explained they’re coming at it from a different angle by focusing on personal money transfers to international destinations.
Currently, the market stands as such that Western Union is often the most frequently used service for quick transfers – bringing with it queueing in line and relatively high commission rates.
In contrast, Moni’s service can be completed from the comfort of a smartphone or tablet in just a few minutes and allows for the transfer of money internationally into a designated account or digital wallet. More than that, it provides tools for easily managing these payments, bringing a level of control and transparency to an otherwise oft-neglected area of payments.
Aderemi told me the percentage Moni takes of each transaction is calculated by taking into account a range of factors, but that it would be significantly lower than Western Union’s.
Moni was in the room trying to raise “a small seed round”
2 – PlayCanvas
PlayCanvas is a cloud-based collaborative platform for creating video games. As an analogy, think of it a bit like Google Docs for game devs, if Microsoft Word is currently what they’re using.
What that means is greater collaboration, in real-time, and freedom from being tied to desktop, locally installed tools and a requirement to host the game yourself.
By providing a complete, end-to-end game development and hosting platform that can provide real-time collaboration between team members with different skill sets, projects can be completed more quickly and more efficiently. More importantly than that, there’s no longer the risk of devs breaking the build with updates.
Games built with PlayCanvas can then immediately be published to the Web or monetized as apps via the Google Play or Apple App Store. As a bonus, because they’re built based on HTML5 standards, games published to the Web will also work happily for mobile and tablet visitors too.
PlayCanvas has already secured $250,000 of its $600,000 goal.
1 – OP3Nvoice
OP3Nvoice was my favorite startup on the day, partially because I can scarcely recall the number of times I’ve wished it existed in the past.
What it does is simple, it makes voice and video files searchable by keywords or tags. By extension it makes the hours and hours of voice recordings and videos that are saved at conferences, on phone calls for audit reasons sortable and searchable, thereby saving hours and hours of trawling through recordings.
In order to spread the technology as wide as possible, rather than build products and apps itself OP3Nvoice integrates its software into existing platforms, and can already be seen in action on educational video platforms like Mobento. In fact, it was Mobento that first made OP3Nvoice realize it could work its same magic on video as well as pure audio files, Paul Murphy, CEO of OP3Nvoice explained to me.
At Techstars Demo Day looking to raise “a large seed round”, the company already booked $300,000 in revenue last year, and is on course for booking around one million dollars for 2013.
Those were my favorites of the bunch, which were yours?
Featured Image Credit – Getty Images