Last week, I spent a few days in London (after a glorious couple of weeks doing as little work-related stuff as humanly possible) to attend Seedcamp Week, seed investor Seedcamp‘s annual showcase of which early-stage European startups it has identified as promising.
As usual, Seedcamp Week was a great blend of catching up with friends from the industry and getting a feel for what tech startups from all across Europe are up to through on-stage pitches, intensive mentorship sessions and more casual conversations at dinners and parties afterwards.
Seedcamp fans and detractors alike have to admit that the investment company brings the cream of the crop to London each year to mentor startups, and this is what differentiates it from a lot of startup accelerators, which have mushroomed all over Europe in recent years – for better or worse.
And yet, they always seem to have their own opinion on which startups have a chance of ‘making it big’, and why – which makes it all the more interesting, of course.
This year, Seedcamp picked an unusually high number of participants to become part of its program and get funded / kick-started: 11 ‘winners’ were announced, bringing the total of startups Seedcamp has invested in to date to an admirable 104. The quality of the pitches was very high, overall, but some startups were definitely much better suited and prepared for Seedcamp Week than others.
Based on what I’ve seen (and I’ve admittedly not had the time to meet every participating – let alone as long as I would’ve liked), these are the 8 startups that stood out for me personally (in alphabetical order):
Like it says on the tin, it lets dog lovers ‘borrow’ other people’s pooches to take of them when the owners are busy. Sounds pretty banal on the surface, but lo and behold, the thing has users who often pay for the service – also called a business model – and it’s growing. Woof woof.
A mobile app and community for anglers from around the world who like to brag about their catches – and from my experience, they pretty much all like to do that.
Don’t laugh – I learned that the global sports fishing market is apparently bigger than tennis and golf, combined, with an estimated 200 million active fishers worldwide.
A software+hardware play that allows hotel owners and managers get feedback about rooms straight from their guests through easy, tablet-based surveys.
Could potentially be big in my mind, and a successful test with a Crowne Plaza hotel reinforces my belief on that front.
A family of mobile apps that lets students learn and revise on the go instead of wasting time playing mindless games or whatnot on the tube, train, in the car etc.
Strong team comprised of both developers and educators, a solid mobile education idea that’s been well executed so far, and an existing user base of 700,000 people already that is growing at a decent clip to boot. All sorts of win.
London startup that claims it has come up with a way to accurately predict the success or failure of over 100 founders teams Needless to say, if their algorithm works its magic, this can be an incredibly useful (read: cost and time saving) tool for angel investors, VCs but also at hackathons, startup weekends and accelerators.
The “app that loves your boobs” but also comes with a business model: Sizem lets women enter their exact measurements in order to get great recommendations for bras, swimwear and whatnot.
I didn’t know this, but Sizem co-founder Ana Kolarevic claims 90 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. Even if that’s overstating the problem by a margin, that’s still a ton of women who could use Sizem.
A plushed teddy bear that comes embedded with a load of medical sensors that measure a child’s vital signs during play, including heart rate, body temperature and oxygen saturation.
The recorded data can be consulted, visualized and analyzed by parents and doctors. Brilliant, especially if they can figure out a way to integrate the technology into any kid’s favourite plush toy.
– Winnow Solutions
A London startup that provides systems for tracking (and ultimately, reducing) food waste in restaurants and other food service establishments.
There’s more to it than that, but think of it as an intelligent scale that can be placed in kitchen. In tests, it has led to a whopping 40% decrease in food waste, primarily by changing staff behaviour and providing helpful metrics.
It will be interesting to see what will happen to this year’s batch from Seedcamp Week London in the coming years – I, for one, will be watching closely.
(Disclosure: the above is based on my own observations only, but I should note Seedcamp compensated this unemployed blogger’s travel and accommodation so I could take part in Seedcamp Week this year.)