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This article was published on April 4, 2008

Third round of start-ups: are you looking for a warm body?

Third round of start-ups: are you looking for a warm body?
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

The Next Web is about the future of the web, so it is obvious that startups play a significant role during the Conference. 24 startups will do a 5 minute presentation on main stage. During breaks all attendees and press can visit the startups at their booth in the Company Arena (same area as where the coffee and lunch is). This way startups can present themselves in the best way and get the most traction out of the conference.

Guido van Nispen, managing director of the Veronica Holding, moderated the third round and as you might know, he’s pretty good at it. Do you know the Las Vegas effect? It means that you can’t tell whether it’s day or night. Well, that’s what happens if Van Nispen puts up a show.



The guys from Bemba want to make social bookmarking easy for the larger audience. I know the guys pretty well and have interviewed them when they launched open beta version of Bemba. CEO Arne Peters: “People like to share websites and videos with their friends, but it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. And while funsurfing the web is gaining popularity, people find it difficult discover entertaining new content. Bemba provides the easiest way to share web content with friends, on any social network or (micro)blog. This way we make the web more fun.” They’ve already integrated automatic updates with Twitter and social network Hyves and announced today that they will launch a Facebook app next week.


Backbase is an Ajax company that wants to transform the browser in a rich user experience by offering Ajax frameworks. They started off the presentation by checking out how tech-savvy the audience of the Next Web conference is by asking questions like: “Who has used WordPerfect and DOS?”. Turned out that a real techy crowd gathered here since almost everybody passed the geek test. That came in handy for this pitch, since it was pretty technical. They’re doing a good job though, as they’ve sold 3 million copies in 80+ countries.


The German guys from andUNITE have a really good idea: they want to match people by their search terms. Co-founder Bernd Storm van‘s Gravesande told The Next Web Blog: “Christian Schmidkonz and me were both frustrated with the boring and lonely process of web search. We thought that it would be always more useful to be able to ask someone who knows something about a problem or question instead of browsing though pages and pages of more or less interesting search result links. We thought that the value of a search term must be much higher than just being used for retrieving links from a database.” Of course this arouses some doubts about privacy. Well, don’t worry about that, since you can also remain anonymous. But are you sure you want to hide your identity? Since the guys not only promise you interesting search results, they also stated that you might find ‘a warm body besides cold links.’


Twingly is hot! Everybody is writing about them, Holland’s largest newspaper started using it and they’re even allowed to pitch at the Next Web! You wouldn’t tell though, since the guy whose presenting doesn’t really act excited. So what’s Twingly about? They offer spam free social blog search and want to connect mainstream media with bloggers. Good job! I really think it’s important that tech blogosphere goes mainstream in Holland and other parts of Europe. With their multilingual support and the success with which they seem to reach the large newspapers they could well represent the next generation in blog search. Give the beta version a try by using the code thenextweb.


So are you on ten thousand services as well? Ubervu now offers you a way to manage all the content you create. The founder said they’re a bit like Dataportability since they let platforms connect by using their APIs. They’ve deliberately chosen the provocative part in their name – ‘Uber’. I don’t know if that’s a smart move. It worked for Joy Division, but they were a punk band. Ubervu is a service that aims at a larger crowd, and the mainstream public doesn’t like controversies.


Hey! This is our own start-up! My partners at The Next Web co-developed this service with 80beans. Confnetwork is here to help you with networking on conferences – hard to guess, right? – since that is the most important of a conference. 70 percent of The Next Web visitors signed up with service and I’ve received tons of messages through the network. So I guess people like it. Read a post by Patrick about Confnetwork here.