Today I had the pleasure to attend the pitch presentations of eight startups that have been participating in the acceleration program of the Valencian subsidiary of Plug and Play Tech Center from Silicon Valley. The so called "Expo Day" took place at Cines Lys, a movie theatre in the heart of the center of Valencia.
I'm by the why neither an investor, nor am I related to any of the startups in particular. I'm just a curious tech guy who tries to socialize and inform himself in this ever evolving industry, and this blog is the place where I share this kind of information with the world.
Approximately 200-300 people most have came to the cinema hall to follow the presentations, among them friends and families of the startup members, as well as potential investors that might fund the striving tech companies once their acceleration period has come to an end.
What follows is a summary of each of the talks and some impressions of people I got to know at the event.
Retail analytics - The Google Analytics for the real world
Valeriya Zaytseva, an expert on data modeling had the pleasure to give the first of ten startup presentations. She introduced the technology that her company developed to help retailers improve their investments in marketing and sales. It is a web service that offers customer insights based on an easy-to-setup WiFi capturing system. With it, users can analyze the behavior of their walk-in customers and with the help to these metrics make more accurate decisions to improve their conversions.
Diana - Nearby restaurant recommendations
Next up was Antonio Delgado, whose mobile application Diana is mostly targeted to people who are strangers in a city and don't know where to go for dinner. It gives recommendations based on the user's preferences and occasion, and wants to help you make informed quality choices. The participating restaurants on the other hand benefit from a better return on investment by being visible to more potential and highly targeted customers.
Jobspotting - Find the perfect job
What followed was the first presentation by a startup of the German Plug and Play tech center and was given by Hessam Lavi. His company's goal is to solve the painful process of job searches on the web. The soon-to-be-launched platform will allow you to look for jobs in a much more simplified way. The intelligent algorithm can interpret your queries, and show you related search requests and other interesting job offers, thereby making it easer for people to find their dream job.
Lola Pirindola - Configurable edutainment
Probably the cutest startup name of today comes from one that is dedicated to the sector of education. The application – presented by Carlos Estellés – was born out of the need for better educational material, which traditionally tends to be very boring and inflexible. The challenge thus was to make this experience configurable and more appealing. The team built a software which is based on years of experience in the sector and adapts to the requirements of the user.
Origo - The opinion network
If you have ever found yourself in a situation where you got angry and frustrated about a certain topic or brand, then Origo – presented to us by creative director Manuel Burque – is the place where you can go in order to let off steam and share your experience with others. Of course, also positive ratings can be found in the countless reviews of the social, tag-based opinion network.
blogfoster - Monetize your blog with ease and in style
The second German contribution of the day came from two german guys called Simon Staib and Jan Homann. Their soon-to-be-launched platform blogfoster unifies a variety of different affiliate marketing channels in one single interface. The dashboard of the application, which I was shown in a short demo is very clean and appealing, allows users to customize the advertisement experience of their users, and thus target their banner ads more precisely and generate better revenue.
meets - make and discover plans with your friends
In this presentation Javier De La Llave presented his startup's solution for unifying the process of organizing meet-ups. The application allows you to invite people from your list of contacts, and lets you share information (like pictures and location) with them inside of the app, or via a web based landing page. I consider the latter to be a really useful feature, since people usually don't tend to download an app for each single purpose, until they are convinced by its benefits.
BeRoomers - Renting your room is simple, safe and sexy
Giving probably the best presentation of the day in terms of rhetoric and gestures, Sunil Mahtani of BeRoomers revealed the high demand in the market of accommodation-seeking students in foreign countries. His application helps landlords rent their vacant objects, and simplifies the process for potential students of booking rooms in advance before they leave their home country.
Socius - The social curation platform for true brand engagement
The last contribution from the German Plug And Play subsidiary came from Daniel Butler, who created Facesofnyfw.com and once flew 9761 miles to deliver a 5 minute pitch. His startup Socius is a platform to create beautiful and engaging social hubs for brands and claims to be a "catalyst for awareness". You can currently sign up for being notified when the application is going to launch in the first quarter of 2014.
Sales layer - Your products, everywhere.
Alvaro Verdoy then presented his B2B solution called Sales Layer which is targeted to clients that want to integrate and update their product catalog in different channels, but hate going through that process over and over again. The service resolves the big pain of having to deal with more than one interface to provide product information online and synchronizes this process across all platforms using one single interface.
zank - Online peer-to-peer lending platform
To round off the event, Oriol Chimenos gave a presentation about his peer-to-peer lending platform zank. The concept, which has successfully been approved in other countries before (such as lendingclub.com in the US) enables savers to get much higher returns of their investments compared to bank deposits or similar investments. zank was created to bring this idea to Spain.
I definitely don't regret having attended the Expo Day this morning, despite having to catch up some work before I call it a day. The event was well organized, entertaining and inspirational, and I feel honored to have met people of one of the most renowned startup accelerators in the world in person.
From what I have seen, most of the Valencian startups are already offering existing products and services, whereas the Axel Springer startups are mostly in beta phase and provide private demos to potential investors and curious users.
This might be due to what I was told is the one of the notable differences between the offices in Berlin and Valencia: Down here, the startups are teams with a strong background in technology, whereas Berlin prefers to put the focus on business and marketing versed people.
I leave this discussion open for your opinions...