A Run Down Of The Mobile Startups At MLove, Monterey

MLOVE is a European mobile conference with a difference. If a mobile conference was crossed with TED and a music festival, that’s vaguely like MLove. Its big annual event is in an old East German castle 200 miles outside of Berlin. Yes, it’s as exotic as it sounds. But this week it took the plunge and brought its special atmosphere to Monterey.

Amid the excellent speeches about the future of mobile, and the future generally, organiser Harald Neidhardt throws together a diverse range of speakers, from Grammy Award winning Musician Chamillionaire to “CameraGirl”, who runs tech at Burning Man. As one delegate, Dr. Robert Daubner of billiger, put it to me, “mobile is poised to disrupt the world.” Never were truer words spoken…

Amid the high concept presentations from the likes of the Singularity University and others were a number of startup pitches from U.S.-based startups. Here’s a run-down on those:

House of Mikko
They say: Only 9% of women are completely happy with their looks, thus, $98 billion is spent annually on beauty. House of Mikko wants to be a “social beauty” store, selling curated beauty items based on physical features and the wisdom of the crowd. Via an app which incorporates barcode Scanning and the Face.com API. The app is designed to personalise a woman’s look, and make beauty products more social.
We say: It’s early days for this app but it sounds like it’s on the right track. But there’s a lot of noise out there in this space.

They say: ArtKollect has developed a mobile framework that connects new collectors and art enthusiasts with galleries, museums, and art fairs. The idea is that galleries, or developers attached to them use this platform to create their own unique app for the gallery. There’s a one-time set-up fee $800 – $1600 and monthly license and storage fee, plus they take 2.5% of sales made via the app. Wow.
We say: Nice idea, but this would be better off disrupting the galleries first.

They say: This makes malware detection quicker, more effective, and is scalable on Android with automated analysis of apps as they are downloaded to a handset. Very much aimed at the enterprise. So, an employee downloads a new app, the app is locked on the device by Marvin and sent to the Marvin cloud for analysis. Then the App is unlocked or removed based on Marvin analysis results.
We say: Very much in the Bring Your Own Device trend, this looked like a convincing enterprise play.

They say: Think Highlig.ht or Banjo, but this time for LinkedIn business networking professionals. It’s location based it’s all about .biz! Definitely one to try out at your next conference in Atlanta.
We say: There will be lots of ‘Highlight for business” apps right about… now. However, they have a chance if they get out early and the design it good.

Embee mobile
They say: It’s about earning free mobile minutes through marketing. Blyk Mobile tried this and failed, but Embee reckons it can crack this sucker. Embee Mobile connects brands, operators and mobile users in a way that allows phone owners to get minutes for free by participating in marketing… all through a Facebook application. The mobile app is on its way.
We say: Blyk failed because it needs lots more users. But then again, it was pre-social media. Embee has a chance if it can create a good viral loop, and also not come across as too spammy.