FOWA rocks London, while startups pitch to TechCrunch

The Future of Web Apps conference kicked off in London today and almost 2,000 startups and developers hit the East of London for the event. Highlights from the day included Kevin Rose from Digg and a bunch of great speakers. Every year the event changes and there is an interesting pivot point going on as the European scene develops. In his opening keynote Kevin who seemed to imply that the site needs to grow up beyond fanboys, but then I guess we all knew that.

Stephan from Soocial (One address book syncs across all devices) is always good to watch, and his general pitch seemed to imply that the future of mobile is really to enable ubiquitous computing. His opening slide” “This presentation contains no bulletpoints”. Nice.

One FOWA back-channel was being run on a Google app engine, but fell over at one point, showing: “This Google App Engine application is temporarily over its serving quota. Please try again later.”

An interesting aspect of the event was the way big companies are really now trying to woo developers here in London. MySpace, for instance, launched a developer competition and brought along a MySpace double-decker bus to the Expo. Unfortunately their sponsorship of the rather flaky WiFi didn’t do them any favours. At least Ben Huh’s ICanHasCheezburger talk was a crowd-pleaser. And Kevin Marks from Google Code put in a great great presentation.

As part of FOWA we ran a TechCrunch Pitch! competition and below are the entrants who were selected. On the panel was Jason Calacanis, Brent Hoberman, Ryan Carson and Mike Butcher (myself). E-Republik was the winner. As for the presentations? Well, aside from E-Republic, all I can say is we need some practise here in Europe, and some Calacanis pitch advice lurve…


The iPlatform is a little like Facebook Connect, but this integrates multiple community sites into multiple social networks, not just Facebook. A client integrates their website with the iPlatform API, and iPlatform then allows that site to be accessed from within an application on Facebook, Bebo and MySpace. Their API allows the site to pull in all of the social network user data, including profile information, photos and friend lists, and to push out a newsfeed. Plus, a user of the site within one social network can interact with other users. The business model is to charge a build and license fee, either direct to clients or through the agencies building the primary sites.


e-republik is a Massive Online Social Strategy Game, half strategy game, half social network. So far it has 19,000 citizens who visit the site daily, after launching 6 months ago. A a result, it turns out they already raised cash form AGF Private equity (one of the leading French Venture Capitalists), the Bonte family fund and a network of angels. Not bad for a startup coming out of Romania.

PhoneFromHere offers a white label service that enables site owners to speak directly with visitors from inside the site. There’s no requirement for the end-user to enter their details, use a phone or download software. It’s all done through the browser.


The idea here is that compatitions are not transparent. You have to give over your information. But with Raflit you just pick a number and that’s all a company knows about you. Every person that participates in a raffle receives a reward from the company running that raffle. This reward will be a money off voucher or discount code, possibly worth more than the ticket itself.

I couldn’t find their video pitch but we wrote about it here already. This is a bit like the diary for the Twitter generation. has a clean interface, a little like Twitter, but instead of 140 characters you plug in 1000. As well as text, users can plug in URLs for images and videos which will pull those into your diary. Diaries can be private or shared on the site which is closer to a private or closely shared Tumblr blog (with privacy controls) than Twitter. So this is not really micro-blogging as such since Diary users can find eachother on the system and spin out wider conversations.