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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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.

Effidriver

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.

Now

(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.

Beelink

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!

Click on a Magazine

Transform every printed ad into a digital one

The problem: the only way for old-fashioned printed ads to attract customers to a web site is to give a URL or an ugly and not-working QR Code.
Not such a problem for big luxury brands, but a big one for new services or online merchants. And magazines would love to get these advertisers to buy ads in their magazine.

The solution: a simple ads-recognition technology, that let people “click” on a printed ad with their smartphone. Like a Shazam for ads. It drives traffic to the site, and can give information about the potential customers and readers.

What is their market: brands are probably eager for a tool driving more traffic to their site. Especially big brands, that can catch the attention of a potential customer, then show their whole product line in a controlled environnement on their own site. Having the technology to do this is a way to enter the probably big market of “printed ads going online”.

Visit Adzuki Mobile

Helping print editors to drive traffic to websites is a great idea for them to take a bigger part of the digital ad market.
And the more simple and obvious the solution is, the more it will be efficient.

From what I understand, you need to download the Adzuki to “click” on your printed ad.
Meaning the newspaper or the brand has to explain how it works.
Meaning your readers must download the app, then use it on an ad.
Meaning no one will use it more than once, for fun (at best).

U.S.E.’s take on it

The first idea is good: driving online traffic from offline contents. But it looks like it’s too late and not effective enough to have a chance to be successful.

As the New York Times announced they have now more subscribers online than offline, proposing a technology to make ads in digital editions more interactive (and note just a copy of a printed ad) would probably have more potential.

Finally, the business is not easily scalable, which is another constraint to its further development.


  • 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

3/12

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.

Rent Your Code

Port a software in any web browser with the Roozz plugin

The problem: you developed a great game or a powerful application that you’d like to see running on the web. But you’re lacking the right language skills or the ressources to make it web compliant, in any environment.

The solution: the Roozz platform makes any app running in a web browser. How does it work? Developers send their app, and Roozz makes it available to any user who installed their plug-in.

The bonus: Roozz also manages revenues, subscriptions and free trials. It’s a full new platform (and sales channel) for developers.

Their unfair advantage: once the audience has reached a threshold, it could become a cross-platform app store, appealing for developers and customers alike. That’s what big names are just trying to do right now!

Visit Roozz

It works for 3D games, or any high resources consuming apps, which opens a bigger market.
Maybe one day we won’t have to worry anymore about our computer speed before playing a recent game!

The website and the interface are lacking a piece of fun and color! The graphic codes coming from the technology world are not very engaging for users.
For ideas, see Apple, they opened an app store not long ago…

Take back the Control

With pult.io, your smartphone turns into an advanced remote

Who still watches TV without a smartphone or an iPad in its hands ? Probably not you, anyway. But didn’t you feel frustrated by all the cables and configurations you’d need, just to show everyone on a big glossy screen this cat/skater/singer YouTube video you just found ?

Here is when you’ll be glad to know pult.io ! Access it simultaneously from your phone and your screen (TV or computer), enter The Code, and BAM !

Project your last vacations pictures from Flickr, your obviously brilliant slideshow from Slideshare or your favorite shoutcast on this other screen, directly from your phone, without any more configuration (meaning headache) required !

It sounds like a good trick and, in a way, it is. Whether it’s to show something to your mom or to your boss, it’s an elegant and simple way to use a screen bigger than your phone’s. This has no price (I mean, literally).

Visit pult.io

One 4-letters code to plug into your phone to connect it, and nothing more ? No cables, no airplay, no bluetooth ?
No way !
Actually, this is a great way.

Less useful with a computer screen than a TV. But how many TVs are in fact connected ?
Last time we checked, not that much…