Start In Paris #19 – Pitches!

After FailCon in Paris this afternoon, we can go on and assist to Start in Paris.

Start in Paris is a monthly event, where startups can pitch their product to an audience of other startuppers, investors, medias, etc. It’s the 19th edition, so kudos to Laurent and Jonathan, who started it two years ago! Startups are selected to pitch by a public vote, and a vote by SMS at the end of the pitches defines a winner (it’s only an honorary title, but still).

We’ll hear 5 startups pitch tonight.

  • Beelink: an app to maintain your phone book up to date
  • FriendCode: a set of tools for developers, to improve collaboration and simplicity
  • Work Bandits: an engine to implement gamification mechanics into digital apps
  • Now app: an app to know what’s happening in your city right now, based on people publishing pictures
  • effiDriver: an app that promotes eco-driving and reward responsible drivers

We’re gonna here the pitches, complete this post along the way, and give our own opinion at the end, just before the beers.


This is a mobile app that helps you reduce your CO2 consumption and improve your security when you drive. They were selected at LeWeb last year and will launch their new app at the next “Mondial de l’Auto” in Paris. This is basically an energy-tracking app. What is at stake? Reduce Pollution, Control Cost, and Improve Safety.

How does it work? You register your car and its characteristics, and then the app register the way you drive, and rewards you with coupons when you drive “smoothly”.

The presentation is nice, but too much bullshit in my view. It’s hard too understand how it works and what it is for. It’s based only on the GPS, so efficiency and precision are questionnable. Probably works best on highways and long distance trips. Probably a nice technology in the end, but not sure there is a real business potential here.


(disclaimer : Ben, the founder, is a very good friend of mine. Therefore I will not give any opinion).

This is a app to know what’s cool right now, when you arrive in a city where you have nothing to do tonight. It’s all based on pictures published on Instagram. They now have 20 000 users, New York being the most active city.

Work Bandits

They sell a software that implements gamification mechanics into any digital activity. We all know that game mechanics are super efficient to improve engagement, they want to use into other universes.

It’s clearly a B2B model. May be profitable, but I have no idea how hard it would be for developers to do it themselves. What is the real technology behind it? Are they “on demand developers”, with a specific expertise? Consultants? I think there is a kind of API that apps use to update their gamification. Not really clear on that point.

In fact, they manage the “rules” of the game, and update the player points and rewards, but that’s it. Do you really need a third-party solution for that? Communication and digital agency are already customers, for their clients or intranets.

Friend Code

Two developers on stage! Developers use complicated, platform-dependant and old tools. They both had problems while working on a former project, and want to solve the collaboration problems they had during this project.

It all ends into FriendCode, an HTML5 platform also available on mobile, where you can edit code and collaborate on it in real-time, with also a social dimension. It also unifies and centralizes common developer tools, like GitHub and StackOverflow on the same UI.

It’s made by developers, for developers. Hard to tell how useful it can be, or if other tools can do about the same thing. They are still in private beta, but the open one should open soon.


It’s an app to complete and update your phone book. Statistically, one new contact is wrong (adress, phone number, email) each week, and you have to do it manually.

Not sure if it’s a different phone book, or if it’s integrated with your default phone book (iOS or Android). You need to download a new app to have a phone book? It looks like it’s all in this app : your book, your invitation, and updates (only people using Beelink will automatically update your own phone book).

If you need a new app, and you need everyone to use it to have updated information, I would not bet much on their success…

And the winner is… Beelink!


Startup Pirates Bratislava – Final jury live blogging

This is our first try of live blogging an event. So we’ll see how it goes.

14h – For now, the scene is in place. The event should start soon.

Here are a few pictures I took yesterday of the great space the event is happening in. And an other one of the speech of Pedro Janela.

14h15 : The full jury is almost in place.

The candidates look ready to pitch, but a little stressed…

14h17 : The audience is gathering.

14h45 : we are about to start!

The rule is 8mn of pitch, then 8 minutes for questions (I think we gonna overshoot that).

14h50 : time for a small introductory speech, and pep talk for the pitchers. The spirit : be brave, be crazy, be a Pirate!

A few figures about the event. No chairs and no tables at the beginning. 76 bottles of rum are still to drink!

Andrea is telling the story of all this happened. Great connections between Portugal and Slovakia actually. 16 participants came in, and formed 5 teams, then developed a full vision and transformed it into the beginning of a business plan.

15h: introduction and presentation of the jury. That’s us!

Then the main sponsors, like Venvivis, an early-stage investor based in Bratislava.

First team : I teach, I learn, I work.

It’s a website platform to bring all these 3 communities – teaching, learning and working – together. For companies to find the rightly skilled project member, and students to learn from great teachers.

The presentation is very well sketched, the presenter a little bit stressed though. He manages to answer well.

Second team : Touch 2 Go !

They even have a Prezi presentation, great ! They’re looking for solutions to get cabs to the 2000 people that don’t every week. Great story about how the idea came to them, and great speaker.

Third : Snabb

They are trying to solve the “email problem”. That’s ambitious but ambition is great.

Great presentation and figures about the problem. Transforming email into text-messages-like interface, with statistics and challenges to improve your productivity.

Jury is tough on questions, but that’s the game… The team is fun and resistant, though.

Next :

Little joke at the beginning, not bad. It’s all about an event organizer tool : before, during, and after the event.

Great presentation, with a demo, and actual customers!

Last one : boARd

Stands for global standard for AR games.

Very impressive demo of an augmented reality technology, in fact. Selling games or technology, that’s the question!

16h20 That’s it for the pitches, time to deliberate!

Well, the winners are, boARd, and Time 2 Go (more or less in that order). Congratulations to all the team! More lengthy story about the event later!

Summer replay #2

Before going back to a full-throttle publishing pace, let’s continue with looking back at some of the best startups we featured in the past few months. It was the beginning of U.S.E., so maybe you missed some of those…

 Cafe Babel
One of the few european media, created by its own citizen. They are a few years old now, but they deserve some cheers and support. Read more.

Get a feed of all your cloud apps, and follow what’s happening. Read more.
Since featured in U.S.E. #2, they added a bunch of new services, launched a mobile app, and finished #2 at Le Web London!

Create a space for a public or private event, and collect pictures taken by anyone attending. Read more.
They now have a mobile app, and are implementing a solid business model.

This is the raising star of Social TV apps. Read more.
They have since launched in the US and in Australia, with the support of Sky, but no sign of presence on the continent…

Summer replay #1

European summer

After a few months of publishing, it looked like a good idea to look back at startups we featured, and that you may have missed along the way.

Record all your browsing history, and find quicker what you looked at just yesterday. Read more
Since featured in February, they raised capital in May, and moved from Vienna to Berlin!

Between nothing and a blog, sounds like a great idea. Read more
They raised capital too, and look like they’re on a great path!

Rent your code, and make it work in a web browser with a wonderful plugin. Read more

It’s a new mobile game, working with your position, and some funny looking creatures you have to take care of. Read more

A great collaborative tool, to work on designs, mock-ups, and documents. Available on iPad. Read more

Speak every language

The media europeans build themselves

For a first delivery of our newsletter, we could not get passed it. Not really a startup, and not exactly new either, but a common european vocation imposed it.

Did you know there is a truly europeanmagazine ? It is called Cafe Babel (no relation to any church, we’ve been told). It’s a magazine, it’s a community, it’s available in five different languages, how more european could it be ?

Organized as a network in several cities, with writers, editors and readers sharing news and mixing it up, it covers cultural and social events from all over Europe.

As in any magazine, you can obviously find news, but with a european twist you can’t probably find anywhere else. You’ll dig up news in south Italy or eastern Europe you never heard of on your favorite TV channel. The bonus ? The story is written by someone who can explain the context and the details you would otherwise miss.

Visit Cafe Babel

The site is available in 6 different languages (english, german, french, spanish, italian and polish), with minor differences, thanks to dedicated translators. That’s not something you see a lot in the media landscape.

 As a community-based media, recent news are not the focus.
You’ll find more of “long tail news”, sometimes lacking a bit of editorial direction.