Sonntag, 24. Jänner 2010

estc2009 & leweb: do startup competitions bring visibility?

what do have collibra, flimmit & gnowsis and stribe, tigerlily & cloudsplit have in common? they are all young startups. they all hard won prices at two recent international startups competitions. and they need to be seen by potential customers & investors.

startups face many challenges, one of them is visibility. a way to address challenge, is to compete at startup competitions, like at estc and le web.

the third european semantic technology conference (estc) startup competition had 16 invited startups from 12 countries competing. at seven minutes per pitch only the well prepared teams
could bring their message across. many forgot to talks about how to make money though - or did at least not have the courage to present a „freemium“ model. see here for the video coverage.

at le web, being more internet-minded, the 16 startups as a majority looked to earn money with premium services, based on users gained by free basic services.

as business angels and venture capital money is currently scare in europe and probaply will be for 2010, sticking out of the crowd and gaining attention is a key. so how did the winners perform?
stribe already competed before. making it into the techcrunch50 in 2009 was the first attempt. leweb was the next, this time finishing in 1st place.

but does it really bring attention? does winning competitions bring the wanted visibility? gaeol delalleu, cto of stribes, thinks so. at leweb, he was approached by five venture capitalists.

looking at a streamgraph of the corresponding twitter activity, visibility seemed to get a strong push around leweb as well.

the profile of stribes is in the twitterworld strongly associated related with leweb is obviously strongly correlated with the startup competition.

illustrations thanks to

collibra took a different approach to get visible on the fist hand. they made it into a price waterhouse coopers report and won the scientipole initiative award before gaining the first place at estc. if they got approached by vc is not know until they will start to leverage the prize when they start pitching for money in the next year. to know more on collibra listen to this interview.

based on the shere size differential (1:10) between estc and leweb as well as the fact that the semantic world is just about (!) to discover the use of tools like twitter, the results are less meaningful and the streamgraph did not reveal the option to change the timeframe according to the event.
a smaller, more focused event like the estc can significantly boost visibility, as investors attending the estc are already focused on semantic technologies.

what both, stribe and collbra, have in common is, that they have no immediate need for investment. however both are powering up for next rounds in 2010. the visibility is already gained.