I was in Amsterdam late last week to sit on the jury for Vodafone’s Mobile Clicks startup competition, and I saw four genuinely great fledgling companies strut their stuff.
Vodafone set up the Mobile Clicks awards event (which is part of the annual PICNIC festival) in an effort to identify the best, most innovative mobile Internet start-ups based in either Spain, The Netherlands, Portugal or the UK. Of note, last year’s winner was augmented reality sensation Layar, so totally no pressure there.
Cardmobili is all about digitization of opt-in loyalty cards, coupons and vouchers. A collection of cards is gathered by the company through comprehensive searches and by its users under the guise of a crowd-sourcing effort.
Rather than keeping physical cards that make their wallets bulkier, Cardmobili enables people to have the loyalty program cards and whatnot stored in the cloud and their mobile phones (for free and across a very wide variety of mobile platforms). Mobile coupons can be passed on to friends via various social networking sites.
Retailers can hand out digital loyalty cards to their customers, and even redeem coupons and vouchers via mobile phones. A lot of Cardmobili’s growth will depend on its ability to partner with merchants for handling digitized cards and coupons, but often it’s enough to know the number or having the barcode on the card handy at the store, so another part of the story is getting people to know about Cardmobili in the first place.
Unsurprisingly, the startup thus says it will invest the Mobile Clicks prize money primarily in marketing to “further awareness about the company, and encourage sign ups amongst consumers and retail partners”. We should note the company already has 200 retail partners in its home turf Portugal and beyond.
RouletteCricket is an entirely different animal. The startup (a bunch of friends scratching their own itch, which is great) is pioneering an innovative new betting game to play on your iPhone whilst watching live sports on the ground, TV or the Web.
Obviously, they’ve started out with cricket, but the startup aims to expand to other popular sports in the future. It’s also working on making its game compatible with other mobile platforms, starting with Android.
The predictive betting game can be played individually or in teams, and can center around friendly wagers among friends but also real bets. For the latter, the startup partners with online bookmakers.
RouletteCricket’s business model actually revolves around three pillars: sponsorships and brand alliances (“play for fun”), premium game-play online (“play for prizes”) and affiliate revenues from its partnerships with online betting companies (“play for money”).