My Impression of UK and Euro Entrepreneurs from Today’s Seedcamp NESTA “Speed Dating” Adventure

by on July 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm

SeedCamp Speed Dating

We started off the day today with a fun event created by Reshma Sohoni and Alasdair Ball of SeedCamp.  SeedCamp is an early stage fund that also provides exacting business support and grooming for UK and European start ups who are socially-oriented. Typical investments are up to 50 thousand Euros for about 10% of the business.

By the caliber of the entrepreneurs and the quality of the business ideas I witnessed today, Reshma and her team are making smart investments and providing wise and plished council for the entrepreneurs they back.

Every single one of the thirteen companies was, in my estimation, a great idea combined with a terrific leader or team. The most successful to date include Spotify, the European version of Rhapsody’s “all-you-can-eat for one monthly fee” celestial jukebox; Huddle, which bills itself as the collaboration tool for the MySpace generation (I will do a separate post on Huddle for you as I know you will want to try it) and, the on-demand printing company with a smart solution for mass-customized printed products like business cards, stickers and “moo cards” which are their own smaller, clever creation that’s become a standard with the social set.

Other companies that stood out for me were SkimLinks not only because Alicia Navarro was the only female CEO, but also because she’s in a very hot category – website monetization infrastructure. More on SkimLinks arresting start up story and how it works in a very smart way in another post.

The one person with whom I didn’t get to meet but still was very impressed with their initial presentation was Stupeflix. Perhaps the name doesn’t translate well in the US – why would someone want to start the beginning of their company name with a word that sounds like stupid? Nonetheless, this is beyond a cute video creation tool like Animoto, Stupeflix allows you to use XML to slightly change the assets within any video to create multiple unique versions of a video. Best explained by example, they showed a weather video where the location and temperature were automatically changed for various locations on the fly. You could master one video and then have unlimited versions automatically customized by city.

@Scoble Doing Video Over Kyte

Andraz Tori of Zemanta gave me a quick and helpful demo of his blog writing suggestion tool. This authoring suggestion tool provides related links, images, related stories and more which make every blog post have more robust content and links. I’ve been using it so far this week and can tell you I would not give this tool up now that I’ve used it.

Another tool I have not yet tried but know will be addictive is UberVu. This is one of a new breed of social meta tools, like MobyPicture (recent post about MobyPicture) that aggregates comments from across one’s social sites into a single interface where you can see comments from your followers to your posts, all threaded together in a single application. You can reply to those threads within UberVu and it will place your replies back out in context without requiring you to do so much webpage traveling.  UberVu’s idea of providing reporting for rollup data will significantly help the social media managers and social listening companies keep track of all their conversations in a single UI. There’s a business model in this one, though it may take a few attempts to right-size the offering and prices.

I have to run off to The Guardian – we’re doing a podcast round table there. It’s pouring rain like hell and I wish I could just keep telling you about the companies we met today. I promise to write more to you about some of the individual companies, many of whom are in early or private beta.

Huddle Co-Founders Andy and Ari

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