Last Friday’s Demo Day of Startupbootcamp’s Smart City & Living programme showed ten promising startups on stage, pitching their ideas. As we always do, we have a look at the pitches and their ideas. What’s next in ‘smart’ startups?
Co-founder of SBC Patrick de Zeeuw opened the fully packed Kromhouthal in Amsterdam. Sitting down with prince Constantijn van Oranje, he managed to get some interesting quotes out of the new startup envoy for The Netherlands.
Van Oranje addressed that several hubs in The Netherlands need to be more aware of each other. He also wants five more scale-ups in the country after 1.5 years of being the envoy and: “‘unicorn'” is a stupid metric.” We couldn’t agree more.
Without further ado: the ten startups, in order of pitching.
UPDATE: You can watch all the pitches again on Startupbootcamp’s YouTube channel.
Rafael Aguado, COO
Canard builds drones for airport safety. It acts as an autonomous flight operator for light checks and runway inspections, for instance. With their drones, Canard claims to be better in cost, time, and availability then existing solutions. In 2017 it’s one of the startups showing off for The Netherlands at CES. Canard is looking for a 760k euro investment.
StartupJuncture: Great to see this is tested at a small airport. Loved to hear something more on how to deal with (future) legislation.
Virgla (Czech Republic)
Robert Knox, CEO
Virgla is a mobile platform offering quality curated content to improve user-brand experiences. It creates ‘verticals’ (for instance: sports events, parenting, you name it) in which people can communicate on that topic. It rewards users with coupons and discounts etc. “Current methods in content marketing don’t work for publishers”, Knox said on stage.
StartupJuncture: To be honest, the pitch raised more questions then it answered. Why does the current method don’t work? Why does your solution work? What is your business model? What is the link with ‘smart city and living’? How do you fight against other community pages on like… well… something called Facebook, Twitter, Reddit? What is so special about your technology?
De Vinderij / Careibu
Anne van Oudheusden, co-founder
De Vinderij “makes it possible to buy time”. It does so from the “time rich and money poor”, also known as students. They are matched to people who want to “outsource household tasks”. It wants to “make society social again”. In short: it is a platform for elderly care and hiring babysitters and cleaners. De Vinderij focussed on personal matches, it screens the students themselves so a perfect match occurs. This is done because it aims for a long term relationship between the person needing help and the student. The company last year had a revenue of 140k (euro), this year it expects a revenue of over 300k. Next to that De Vinderij expects revenue of 2.5M in 2017 and 10M in 2018. The startup wants to expand internationally, and rebrands to Careibu for foreign markets.
StartupJuncture: Smooth pitch. Van Oudheusden sure gave a nice twist to “another gig platform”. And personal screening doesn’t sound that scalable. However: we must judge this company as a social enterprise first, and as a tech startup later. (It sure doesn’t ‘feel’ like a startup). There’s an app being developed right now, and De Vinderij has done just fine without for seven years (as it was founded in 2009).
Werner Weihs-Sedivy, CEO
Twingz helps households and energy companies get insight into their energy consumption. Their smart meter lets homes save on their bill and for companies it can predict up to 80 percent better when peaks will occur, thus predicting when to buy and sell energy the most efficient.
StartupJuncture: This startup would perfectly fit Rockstart’s Smart Energy programme 😉
Louaie El Rowidi, CEO
Travelling in cabs is just lost time and has no meaning, stated El Rowidi. Cabture wants to change that by placing screens in taxis. Brands can advertize, passengers have fun and access to conveniant information and cab drivers can profit more, or so is said. The company already almost has 1 million euro in revenue today. It is setting up a second round of crowdfunding. Next year Cabture is having a pilot in Germany.
StartupJuncture: Clear story and great traction, but this company feels like a SME. Placing iPads in cabs doesn’t make you, and I quote, “an adtech company”. El Rowidi has the passion and energy to make this work though. It just won’t make the city smarter or better.
Avishai Trabelsi, CEO
Quicargo is a B2B marketplace connecting trucks which empty space to shippers who need transport. This means more revenue for carriers and less sending costs for senders. Cargo right now is 30 percent inefficient, Trabelsi said. The platform lets both parties match and routes can be tracked in real-time. Of course, this also is good for the environment, saving tons of CO2. The startup is raising 300k.
StartupJuncture: Great to see a B2B version of this, as we see a lot of P2P/C2C of them in The Netherlands. There must be a lot of competition on the B2B market out there. Nice, but not unimportant: Avishai comes from a trucking family!
MyStay (Czech Republic)
Pavlína Zychová, COO
MyStay is a hotel communication system promising to be “the missing link between hotels and guests”. Guests use MyStay as a virtual assistant that guides them through their whole stay. The startup is focussing on independent hotels instead of big chains. It is looking for a 500k investment.
StartupJuncture: Makes sense, might be good for upselling. Not so sure about the ‘smart city & living’ theme.
Piotr Juchnowicz, CEO
TheConstruct creates VR solutions for the architecture industry. “Designers often design in 3D, but present it in 2D. That makes a project hard to sell.” VR obviously has some advantages.
StartupJuncture: What about competitors? Also: during the pitch, the Construct had hidden some VR cardboard demos under the chairs, which showed a project in the platform. That really was distracting from the pitch (we’re sure we missed something!).
Stefan van der Fluit, CEO
“I grew up on tech and oatmeal”, said Van der Fluit, as his parents had several tech jobs around the world. Nuklius lets “big teams act small” and “unlocks the innovation potential” of employees of big companies. It does talent mapping by search, behaviour modelling, validation and data analytics.
StartupJuncture: Boy, do we like the pitch of this startup. The idea is great – as we all know, the bigger the company, the harder it is to innovate. But Van der Fluit also made perfectly clear how its tech works exactly on the four points above. To us it’s also very clear this founder is a tremendous experienced pitcher. He could use less buzzwords though. Major kudos for using this GIF of Silicon Valley’s Erlich Bachman in the presentation.
Juriaan Karsten, CMO
ParkEagle creates a parking network for cities to optimize their parking capacity. Drivers can easily find parking space. Beacons are placed on parking spots. Compared to competitors: no extra setup is needed, just the sensors. Business model is a revenue share with cities.
StartupJuncture: Only a CMO could come up with the strong statements and bold language used in the pitch, but we love that kind of pitches. But we’d like to see some more on the business model and the tech behind it. This startups seems quite scalable though. ParkEagle really fitted the theme well!
We expected more from the theme ‘Smart City & Living’. We didn’t saw that much business that could have a great impact. On the other hand, we saw great diversity in kinds of startups and we must say the organization had defined the term rather broad from the start. Some of the startups really didn’t feel like a startup at all. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we cheer for all kinds of entrepreneurship. The venue was great and is a lot more inspiring than a dark room inside the HQ of a bank.