One of the high points of the LeWeb conference held in Paris from December 4th to 6th was without doubt the Startup competition.
Such an event offers a unique opportunity for young entrepreneurs to make themselves known. At previous conferences you could have discovered Super Marmite, Waze, Babelverse, Heycrowd and Blippar as well.
This year, out of the 17 startups selected from the 400 candidates, most had more or less close links with the conference theme “The Internet of Things”.
In other words, you might secretly hope to discover the next Nest or Lockitron.
So for the whole of Tuesday, the startup pitches followed one after the other in the second plenary room and an enthusiastic public was presented with projects that, until now, had been in “stealth mode”.
The startups selected at the end of the first day were: Recommend, Be-bound and qunb.
Recommend offers a mobile application that makes it possible to recommend all sorts of things to your friends.
Be-bound offers an original, if slightly old-fashioned seeming, method of connecting to the internet in the absence of a broadband Wi-Fi network.
Qunb is a “YouTube” or rather a “Slideshare” for data.
On Thursday, the 3 finalists presented their projects in the main plenary room in front of a jury composed of successful French entrepreneurs (Jacques-Antoine Granjon, Marc Simoncini, Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet and Jean-David Blanc).
Before announcing qunb as the winner of this year’s competition, Jacques-Antoine Granjon created a bit of a stir when he remarked that the judges were hoping for a better selection of startup finalists. Having sat through the entire first round of presentations, I am totally agree with him, and in my opinion, here are the startups that should have been in the final:
- qunb: I think that they got their place in the final because there is great business potential. Next time I would advise their team to do less story-telling and more demonstrations.
- Biletu: Is a mobile application that makes it possible to make peer-to-peer payments. At first I thought it was unimaginative and, above all, I thought there were already plenty of startups doing the same thing. But the application is designed in such an intelligent and user-friendly way.
- wiMAN: A Wi-Fi access terminal for public spaces, such as cafés, restaurants, shops, etc, that adds a social layer to the service. All you have to do to access the Wi-Fi network is to log into Facebook. The business can also ask the user to “Like” its Facebook page or post a little message on their wall to thank the business for the connection.
Sometimes the best ideas are also the simplest, that’s why, without doubt, I would have chosen wiMAN as winner of the 2012 competition.
Did you see the pitches? Which was your favourite?