In what was probably the OpenCoffee session with the most startups or projects (to play along with recent complaints that the term ‘startup’ is used rather loosely) presenting, here’s what you missed if you didn’t make it to the event – nor tuned in its live coverage.
First of all, there were 3 presentations from the by most accounts successful Athens Startup Weekend. Blognudge to begin with is trying to solve the problem that some bloggers (hint, hint) fail to update on a regular basis and (nudge, nudge) even weeks intervene between their posts. What this service does is that it simply allows you to install a widget/button on your blog that visitors can push to urge you to write a post. Although this is the only feature offered at the moment, future versions will allegedly include the option of suggesting a topic, donating to the blogger or donating to a charity. A number of revenue streams have also been thought of for Blognudge including a monthly charge on bloggers using it, requesting a cut from (non-charity) donations and also exploiting the statistics and the data generated by the ‘nudgers’.
howsocial.ru is a service that aims to measure the combined social impact users of social media have on their online environment of followers and connections and rank them accordingly. Their goal is to include all important platforms starting with Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook and the blogosphere – although at the moment the service operates using just Twitter as a proof of concept. The business model is based on the fact that knowledge of the most influential nodes in the social graph (i.e. how people are interconnected in the various platforms through following etc) is highly valuable to anyone who would be interested to get their message across. As such possible paying customers of this service are marketers, startups or even individuals willing to identify who to approach for their promotion goals. At the same time, analytics on particular topics/keywords will be provided under the lens of who propagates such information – and their importance. (Disclaimer: I am a member of the Athens Startup Weekend team that put together this project.)
mobcommerce is a startup that converts eshops to mobile sites, creating a lighter version which is easier to use. The aim is to identify effortlessly items that you might be interested in buying on the road or off your desk and do the actual purchase later when in front of an actual PC. Their first version works with shopify which hosts 20K shops and it works for iPhone but other mobiles too. They guys behind mobecommerce are currently working on other platforms past shopify. They aim to offer the service for free but it will be supported by ad networks for mobiles while at the same time they plan to offer premium packages of 9.95/year.
This ended the section which was devoted in the Athens Startup Weekend and Alexandros Pagidas who was the main force behind its organisation gave a brief round-up of the event with his usual optimistic attitude and thanked Patrick Malone of Microsoft which hosted the event and Andrew Hyde, who came up with the concept. He finished off with the very encouraging remark that ASW will very likely become an annual event – if not take place even more often.
He handed it over to George Tziralis who announced that Open Coffee has become an official Network Partner for Bizspark, Microsoft’s new program to help startups. Patrick Malone gave us a brief run down of how this will all work but more of this in a separate post that will follow this week.
A further startup help tool was presented by Nektarios Sylligardakis: greekstartups.com which had recently gone public is a project that aims to index all Greek startups in the fields of tech, the internet and biotech. It is a simple service where anyone can register and submit their favourite startup whether they contribute to it or not. In particular, apart from the startup name, link and logo, a brief description is requested, some screenshots, the usual tags regarding its status and content and of course the startups’ members. Startup members can also claim their startup and update their entry with developments. The project’s goal is to help people involved in the startup community but also to promote the Greek community to others abroad – both entrepreneurs but also possible funders. So, if you know of a project that could with a bit more attention visit greekstartups.com and submit it! (Disclaimer: I am a member of the team that worked during the initial stages of this project.)
Having wrapped up the ‘short presentations’ section of OpenCoffee, linkwise, the first Greek affiliate network came on the stage for a full show. They’re doing performance marketing (where basically they get paid depending on what the marketing campaign actual performance will be). So when a client approaches them they agree to redirect traffic to their service and they get a cut from the ‘sale’/action if that happens (an example of this is the Amazon affiliate linking). The pros of this approach is that advertisers need only have a single point of reference and can get rid of considerable administrative overhead and/or technological problems. As a company they also offer search marketing services – they have completed the technological part of their development and are now looking for affiliates and advertisers.
Reputation Lab was up next – a project that has been going on in one shape or other for the past 4 years: it started at a US university, it evolved at a Greek one and now it has become a startup. They aim to fill the gap from the fact that companies don’t know or can’t differentiate from their competition – this means, according to RepLab that there is a need for new kind of management. So far, CEO would decide by listening to consultants or the executive board. However, according to Rep Lab’s alternative solution the CEO decides after listening to the startup’s actual stakeholders – these can be the people who work there, its customers or anyone who has an active interest in the company. They claim to use a different tool set depending on each customer’s needs to collect information and bring up flaws, weaknesses and strengths of the startup and their innovation lies in that so far few people have been involved with the concept of reputation. Basically, they would like to cover the need for tools that evaluate the impact of information disseminated either online or via word of mouth e.g. something said in a blog can create a crisis in a company. Their first customers so far have been from abroad and they made it clear they are a consulting service not an e-services company and as such they are willing to cooperate with experts in fields they are not very knowledgeable about.
The final presentation was by the very successful zoo.gr which having started in 2004 with a mere 15000 euros of starting capital (mostly spent in promotion) and 3 people (one doing business, another the backend, and a third one the frontend) working in borrowed offices they have managed to reach 18 employees and the figure of 6,300,000 visitors for last month. Although they begun with huge technical problems and their team spread all over the place (the army, France, etc) they managed to get their innovation (base the site on Flash and make it look like a website so that people can do things simultaneously) and their business model (which apart from ads includes ‘pay as you go’ features and subscriptions) to give them back something like 80000 euros a month in turnover and at the same time allow them to share some very entertaining stories.
And with that very optimistic and encouraging note the last OpenCoffee for the year ended. See you all in January!
All photos are from John Karakatsanis flickr collection, kudos!