For a first time conference for investors and startups, Plugg, held in the rather nice ambience of an old theatre in Brussels, is going very well. It’s down to the hard work of Web 2.0 blogger and consultant Robin Wauters.
Plenty of people turned up for breakfast which was a sure sign the conference was heading in the right direction.
Rebecca Jennings from Forrester Research gave us a heads-up on the social web right. The takeaways were that half of Europeans now engage in ‘social computing’ (nice to get some speicif research on Europe). That means buzz and viral stuff happens really fast now, so for instance, the Imperial Star Destroyer from Lego sold out in 5 weeks, after consumer demand was picked up on sites like Facebook. The biggest creators of social media are in Holland (17%), the least in Germany and Spain (8%) and photo uploading is the in thing. The UK produces a lot of people (25%) who join networks but then don’t create much content on it. The least for this is France (4%) and Spain (5%).
VC and former entrepreneur Max Niederhofer of Atlas Venture gave a great presentation on how online games are already big and only going to get bigger, especially in the casual games via the browser. Gaming is a 20 billion dollar industry now and 75% of casual gamers are female. Since a 3D version of Flash will come out in 2009 tere is now an opportunity for startups to build Flash-based online games, disruptive the ‘printer cartridge’ model of the console market which requires high-priced games to work. Integrating online games with social networks could be a big deal.
An entrepreneur panel featuring Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten (Fleck) , Simon McDermott (Attentio), Rodrigo Sepúlveda (Vpod.tv), Andrej Nabergoj (Noovo) covered looked at starting up. They had some interesting advice, including going for English first (US market), go for a global market from day one (add other languages asap), but equally you can grow a good business for a local market (though admittedly it won’t scale as fast).
I’ll add more notes as I go….