Le Web Has A Room With A Viewdle – Startup Winners Picked

Le Web, a key event for Europe’s traveling circus of startup communities, ran a pitch competition alongside the main track again this year. It attracted 30 companies from Europe, and a few from the US, across a wide range of sectors and this year was handled by Europe-wide early-stage investor SeedCamp. Most of the startups were quite strong, although a few did make me wonder why they weren’t replaced with others – in particular, I would have loved to have seen some obvious startups from the UK or Ireland, neither of which was represented.

So the winner of the event was Viewdle, which won the “Gold”, followed by Webnode (Silver) and Zoover (Bronze). Silentale was winner of the “People’s Choice” award.

Viewdle started in 2006 out of Ukraine. It has an interesting history – it’s ex-military university laboratory project into facial recognition which has morphed into a startup looking at recognising faces in online video. They hope to sell the tools such as API licenses (and have one client already). The demo was impressive. (Crunchbase)

Viewdle launched at TechCrunch 40 in 2007 and was also the winner at the Plugg European Web 2.0 conference.

It won an unspecified amount of funding from Anthem Venture Partners and Elevation Partners earlier this year. As part of the deal, Viewdle will partner up with ROO, another KIT portfolio company focused on IPTV broadcasting. lt’s available as Facebook application.

There were 30 companies in the competition, there were, in alphabetical order:

2Win-Solutions – FRANCE
3scale networks S. L. – SPAIN [TC50 Demopit]
Apture – USA
Box.net, Inc. – USA
Brozengo SA – FRANCE
Charge Ventures – Malta
Cmune – CHINA
ConTrust – ISRAEL
Haploid – FRANCE
IZI-collecte – FRANCE
Kaltura – USA
MyID.is Certified – FRANCE
Nimbuzz – NETHERLANDS [Reviewed]
Popego Inc. – USA
Producteev Inc. – USA
Publing – FRANCE
Radionomy – BELGIUM [Reviewed]
Samedi GmbH – GERMANY
ShoutEm Ltd. – CROATIA
Silentale SAS – FRANCE
SquareClock – FRANCE [Reviewed]
Tellmewhere – FRANCE
Trendiction – LUXEMBURG
Viewdle, Inc – UKRAINE [Reviewed]
Westcom, s.r.o. – CZECH REPUBLIC
Zavedenia.com – BULGARIA
Zipipop Ltd (Zipiko) – FINLAND
Zoover Holiday Reviews – NETHERLANDS

Unfortunately that there was ZERO Internet access during any of the competition on the first day of Le Web (technical issues), which presented a serious challenge for the start-ups, but perhaps also provided a test of their adaptability. At least that’s one way of looking at it…

The judges selected three top companies, based on the total scores from the panels. They were judged based on a 7 minute pitch on stage. (The companies were ranked on a overall scale of 1 – 5 … with 5 being the highest (most positive) score. The top three companies won Sun servers from Sun Microsystems’ Start-up Essentials program). It’s always interesting to see how these things are run, so for your benefit, here is the criteria on which these pitches were run:

• Physical presentation – if they use Powerpoint, they’ll be told to show NO MORE than 5-7 slides. They will be judged partly on whether they follow that.

• A demo – all companies are told to show a demo. If they can’t (like product still in too early prototype) they must be prepared to explain why

• Business model – do they have one and do they explain it clearly?

• Market opportunity – does the business they propose have a viable market and are they positioned well for it?

• The team – who’s on it and are they qualified?

• Presentation skills – do they think on their feet? If the demo fails, how do they handle it? Are they articulate, good presenters?

There was also a “People’s Choice” winner voted for by the audience scored each company on a scale of 1 to 5. PowerVote’s database crunched the numbers and gave us the top winner by day’s end.

There’s no physical prize for the People’s Choice winner, nor does that company present on the main stage.

There were a total of 19 judges:

Axel Schmiegelow, Sevenload
Pascal Thomas, Orange
Philippe Collombel, PartechVC
Laurent Chiozzotto, Sun
Gary Shainberg, British Telecom
Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, Price Minister
Marc Samwer, European Founder Fund
David Hornik, August Capital
Freddy Mini, Netvibes
Ola Ahlvahrsson, Result
Robert Scoble, FastCompany.TV
Julien Codorniou, Microsoft
Mike Butcher, TechCrunch UK
Martin Varsavsky, FON
Megan Smith, Google
Olivier Creiche, SixApart
Don Dodge, Microsoft
Greg Marsh, Index Ventures
Andreas Schlenker, PartechVC