LeWeb – Startup Competition Finalists: Cloudsplit, Stribe, Tigerlily

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So the Le Web Startup Competition is over for another year. Instead of sitting on the sidelines reporting the event, as I was last year, this year TechCrunch Europe was asked to co-organize it with Le Web. So, with together with Loic Le Meur, Ben Metcalfe and Geraldine Le Meur we filtered down the hundreds of applicants to the final 16. Although we didn’t concentrate exclusively on it, it was nice to fit in startups that were broadly releated to the realtime theme. It was great also to see the Le Web startup event veer back to its roots as a venue for very early stage, rough and ready startups, as well as a launch-pad for more fully-formed plays that have literally launched for the first time at this event. The whole thing was live blogged on TechCrunch Europe, where you’ll find posts on every startup that presented.

We had four sessions, with four startups each session. Startups were given points for pitch and company/product, the scores aggregated and ranked and then deliberated over by myself and my co-host Ben Metcalfe. Ben is based in San Francisco, CA and founder & CTO of Plato’s Forms, a forthcoming communication platform for journalists, bloggers and corporate communication professionals.

Informally I think we were going for elements like technical excellence, traction and platform and of course the pitch itself. And it should be noted that one of the things we heard from our judges time and again was the importance of getting some of the real data points about your startup up front in the pitch. It is impossible to generalise of course as every one was different, but European startups need practise at this, just like anyone else in any other part of the world. Standing out from the crowd of 16 in some way was also a good idea.

To the finalists:

The winner of Gold was:

A plug and play service to instantly create a social network on any website — not unlike competitors Ning, socialthing and meebo — Stribe launched at TechCrunch50 in September this year but ‘opened the kimono’ more this week at Le Web. The B2B offer is simple — site administrators can copy and paste a bit of javascript, and hey presto, they have a customizable, freely branded social network for their sites accessed via a small footprint toolbar that pops up at the bottom of the screen. The differentiation happens on the Stribe network service, which allows a site’s community to interact with other communities on all Stribe-enabled sites. Stribe’s business model is based on selling premium modules including analytics such as the Stribe Back-Office. Crucially the company plans to open its API for developer. Based in both San Francisco and Paris, Stribe is shaping up to be a classic European/Valley ‘bridge’ startup. For more see their full post on TechCrunch Europe, plus video of their pitch.

http://eu.techcrunch.com/2009/12/09/leweb-stribes-plug-and-play-social-networks-with-a-difference/

The winner of Silver was:

Tigerlily offers a white label Facebook Page management system that makes community management a heck of a lot easier than Facebook intended. In essence, the tool set encompasses flexible contest and quiz widgets to customize a Facebook Page, and is targeted at media groups, large brands and their agencies and marketers. The FPMS uses ‘Share’ buttons on the individual items, encouraging conversation around posts. There’s a free and pro version, with the latter sold on the basis of an annual licence fee. Orange France is among the early pro users. They plan to expand out of France soon across Europe, so it’s exciting to see a European startup thinking international from the word go.

For more see their full post on TechCrunch Europe, plus video of their pitch.

The winner of Bronze was:

With so much emphasis on cloud computing and the rise of the platform play these days it seemed natural to recognise CloudSplit. This is a real-time analytics tool working towards private beta which helps businesses understand where their cloud computing costs are going. This hopefully saves them from the shock of a massive bill when those PUT and GET requests come thick and fast. This is pretty exciting stuff, when you consider that Amazon itself doesn’t have a solution like this for its own customers. In addition to giving clear graphical breakdowns (including by application type and node) of where users’ cloud spend is actually going, CloudSplit offers a real-time control and budgeting service via alerts and cut off mechanisms. Based in Dublin, Ireland company has received €100,000 seed funding from serial tech entrepreneur Ray Nolan and, word on the street at least, is that the service has VCs and cloud computing customers lining up. Like any startup that wants to really scale, it’s on the hunt for $2m in VC funding to maximise the window of opportunity across the US and Asia that will open in 2010.

For more see their TechCrunch Europe for our full coverage of all the startups in the competition.

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