In just over a month and a half I tracked down startups in Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Rome, Dublin, Istanbul, Athens, Barcelona, Zurich and now Amsterdam, not including the TechCrunch Pitch! event in London recently (thanks to Boingo for the great roaming WiFi). The picture of Europe I am building up is of a place where there are startups as hungry and thirsty for success as any in the U.S., but the kind of hothouse cluster you find in Silicon Valley does not yet exist – at least not to that level. The Silicon Valley of Europe is not a place. It’s a state of mind. And the synapses in that mind, which is spread across Europe inside the heads of excited young entrepreneurs, have only fairly recently started to form. That’s something I hope to improve by creating more opportunities for startups in Europe to network. In the meantime, this event wrap-up is the first of the ones I’ll be doing about the Euro Tour events over the course of the next few weeks (now that I’ll be standing still long enough to write them).
The Amsterdam meetup, co-organised with eBuddy, was a blast. As part of the meetup I organised an impromptu pitch session for startups. One of the issues with the European scene is that there are two few opportunities for startups to pitch so anything to “work” that pitch muscle is useful practise for startups over here.
So we heard from etrip.nl – a sort of Kayak, / Skyscanner competitor; kipjes.com – human search engine (browser extension) which is in stealth mode; gemzies – “Digg for About.com style experts”; Treasuremytext – A way to save and archive SMS messages to the Web (more); Tunin.fm – mobile internet radio with a new compression technology; Mads.com – mobile ad serving, DART for mobile; Wiseline – A competitor to sites like dandelife and miomi; and Viuer – a scripted Ed TV show where users vote on the scenario. I also met with irlconnect, Wakoopa and TheNextWeb guys.
Like many European cities, Amsterdam is packed with a highly educated population that makes for a fertile ground for talent. But just as in the rest of Europe, getting funding for that first startup is still no easy feat, especially in the current environment. It makes me think that there may be a role for a Y-Combinator style micro-finance project out here. Seedcamp is one such competition which is making great waves, but we need more, much more.
eBuddy –eBuddy created the world’s first independent, web browser-based IM service in 2003 and extended the service to mobile in June 2007. eBuddy enables 16+ million unique monthly users with AIM, GoogleTalk, MSN, MySpaceIM and Yahoo! IM accounts to chat free of charge in one, aggregated interface without having to download any application or software. Supporting 550+ different mobile devices, eBuddy’s mobile IM solution offers both a J2ME client and a browser-based IM service, and currently allows more than 2 million unique monthly users access on their mobile phone, independent of carrier or device via WAP or mobile internet browser.
Q-go – The world’s first Natural Language Search company: Founded in 1999, Q-go has grown to become a leading supplier of Natural Language Search solutions, providing a powerful, natural language search engine for Internet and intranet sites based on natural language processing. Q-go’s NLS Product Suite supports all major Western languages, and offers a variety of online service solutions to help financial institutions, airlines, telecoms, government agencies, insurance, and other companies dramatically improve their customer service levels while lowering costs. The answers provided by Q-go are comparable to those of call centers in terms of consistency, completeness and quality resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective solution for organizations.
WatchMouse offers web-based solutions to monitor the performance and security of your site. By simulating regular visits to your website from its worldwide monitoring network, WatchMouse provides you with accurate reports on how well visitors from all over the world can interact with your site. Based on these checks, WatchMouse can tell you if your visitors can still reach your site, if the basic interactions and click paths still work, and whether they do so within the performance limits you set out. Today, WatchMouse watches tens of thousands of sites in over 70 countries.
E.Factor is a global platform that connects entrepreneurial people with like-minded souls, both online and in person.
Blurb is a creative publishing platform which enables every blogger, artist, marketer, photographer, traveler, entrepreneur and poet to create and sell their own book.