European Freelancers

Meeting missions and skills

Explanations are gonna be quick : Twago is a market place for freelancers or agencies on one side, and clients on the other side.

If you’re looking for a designer, a developper, a translator or an AdWords expert, there is a pretty good chance you can find it on Twago.

As a freelancer or an agency, whether located next door or on the other side of the world, you can bid on a project and create a profile describing your skills, your portfolio and past projects, etc.

Twago home page

To sum up, Twago offers everything you can expect from that kind of platform, with a freemium model that let you test the efficiency of the service.

Why talking about it?: there is a lot of competition on this market, but Twago is the first platform to really reach for a european scale, and considers the whole Europe as its native market.
This is not that common, so this is a fact United Startups of Europe could obviously not miss!

Visit Twago

You can use Twago as a neutral third-party for your payments. It’s a simple way to get sure the project comes to an end at some point for clients, and a good assurance to be paid in time for providers.

The site confuses “pure” freelancers and small agencies from eastern Europe or India (for example), even if both can be useful, depending on your project.
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Get One Free

Collect local shops points on your phone

The problem: how often do you get a stamp on a piece of card a day? One for the morning coffee, one for the lunch snack, maybe one for the dry cleaning or the sushi shop in the evening… But how often do you miss the card? And pay your coffee without any reward, as small as it can be?

10Stamps app screenshotThe solution: a phone app collecting all your local shops cards.
You pick the right one, you flash the QR Code your barista is presenting you, and you’ve got one more stamp.
What you get when you reach 10 stamps remains up to the shop though…

Why talking about it?: ultra local apps are a growing trend, and the check-in/local deals apps are probably not the only relevant approach.
Local shops want to be up-to-date (at least some of them), and consumers are crying for it.
Getting shops to sign up is of course the big challenge, as they have to be won one by one. But the need for such a simple and neat app is clearly there.

Visit 10 Stamps

Using QR Codes to get a stamp, renew your card, or collect your bonus, is a great way to keep the shop manager in control of what happens.
No need for a complicated (and/or expensive) device, it’s almost as simple as real stamps cards, and can provide much more data on its consumer habits.

The possibility for shop owners to implement the system seems a bit tricky.We know that a local sales force is obviously required to grow the users base, but a clean process to try it on your own is probably missing.
Geeky and curious managers should feel free to create an account and start testing it, it would grow the users base more quickly.

U.S.E.’s take on it

A great mix, a click-and-mortar based app. It’s a great factor of success if the users base grows quickly.

The cost and time required to expand the number of partner shop is of course a limitant factor, but look how Groupon did it! Still, the business model for 10Stamps is still unclear, and in a low-margin, low-investment industry, it could blurry their potential future.

Out final take :

  • No way this will work
  • Not betting on it, but the start is interesting
  • Need a bit fixing, but the path is clearly good
  • Where do we sign to invest ?

Our grade : 9/12

Drop the Paperboard

A virtual whiteboard that actually works

The problem: working with a team on an idea, a new design or a strategy is, by itself, hard. But unless you’re all in the same room for a long time, it also involves lots of email (where you loose the remarks you needed to include) and/or hundreds of paper sheets (you never know what the last version is). Most of the time, it does not work.

The solution: a big whiteboard tool, where anyone can write its remarks or propose ideas and changes, that you can discuss and follow. This is exactly what Conceptboard is : a tool for teams to work on a common project, as everyone was there (but they’re not).

What it does better: the intuitive UI, the possibility to import any kind of file (well… almost any) in the board, and the easyness to comment and discuss (like a Facebook status) a specific detail. Then transform it into a todo, check if everyone agrees, makes it a very powerful tool.

Visit Conceptboard

For loyal U.S.E. readers: get a 15% discount on Conceptboard with the following code: unitedstartups

Despite there is no app, it works perfectly on your iPad.
Multi-fingers gestures, zoom in, scribbling, it’s all working in Safari. Probably some room for improvement, but very nice work.

Some features look a bit superfluous, and may slow the app.
For example, do you need a video chat integrated into your collaboration tool? Using skype, Facetime or your phone on the side makes much more sense.

The Right Size

Universal body passports are on the way

The problem: when you shop online for clothes or shoes, you’re never sure they will fit you. And even with the best customer service you can imagine, returns and refunds are painful and time consuming.

The solution: you enter every size you can take of your body, from your toes to the top, in a “body passport” that online merchants accept. This way, you can order the size of this great jacket that will fits you the best.

The competitorsFits.me and UpCload are two competitors on this market, both with great technology and first references. They both work on the same principle (the measures you entered vs. the clothes size), but Fits.me adds a robot on which they try every piece of garnment, so that you can check how it would look on you (requiring more work from the merchants, though).

A winner?: The adoption by online shops and merchants is evidently critical for success. As in VHS vs. Betamax, the winning format will probably get all the money.

Visit Fits.me and UpCload

UpCload can take your measures with a webcam and a CD (as a size reference) : three pictures on a white wall, holding a CD, and thats (almost) it.
Does it really take every measure, though?

It looks like integration of Fits.me may be more painful and costly that it should probably be.
It improves the shopping experience (seeing the piece on “you”, with the robot), but it may slow the integration on many sites.

Stop searching for the right cloud

Connect all your cloud apps and finally control it with Hojoki

Tired of trying to stay in touch with what happens in the – insert a 2-digits figure her– social networks and cloud apps you’re connected to? Failing to manage the different projects you’re working on with dozens of different people? You need a unique mission control center, don’t you?
Here is where Hojoki kicks in.

Connect your apps and networks in 2 clicks, sit back and look at the stream of activities in a slick interface. You’ll finally be certain not to miss any important update on a Dropbox document, or a critical bookmark from your closest partner.

More than that, you can create projects in which filtered streams will give you only the information you need. This way, you can follow them without the stress to check your inbox, your streams, your shared folders… (the list can go on) every hour.

By mixing the cloud and social networks, you won’t even have to visit Facebook when you’re at work. That will make your boss really happy!

Visit Hojoki

Making a stream of updates or additions on Dropbox and Google docs is a brilliant idea.
It’s definitely the feature you need to improve your productivity!

Crossing social networks logic and project management needs is nice. But will everybody understand or take the time to use it?