The Young Business Award is the biggest startup competition in the Netherlands. Last week, the first of two semi finals rounds was held in Groningen, in a sold out Martiniplaza. Six startups pitched their business in front of an expert panel of judges, with two of them making it to the finals later in June.
The Young Business Award promotes itself as the biggest startup competition in the Netherlands. Last week, the first of two semi finals rounds was held in Groningen, in a sold out Martiniplaza. Six startups pitched their business in front of an expert panel of judges, with two of them making it to the finals later in June.
Mr. Chadd & Hotelchamp
Up first was Hotelchamp, with offices in Groningen, Amsterdam and Berlin. The startup wants to cut out the middlemen, the large booking websites like Booking.com and Expedia, who generally charge between a 15% to 30% commission fee for hotel bookings. With a SaaS platform, the brand new startup wants to increase conversions by at least 40% on hotel sites directly, meaning customers no longer book their rooms on big booking sites, but directly on the hotel website.
Mr. Chadd from Groningen has grown impressively in the past two years. The on demand tutoring app now has 185,000 students using the platform. With either a subscription or prepaid fee, high school students can get the tutoring they want, when they want it, evenings and weekends included. Besides tutoring, the startup is also working with publishers and schools, using the data to help improve education.
Mydatafactory & Storro
With a SaaS platform, Mydatafactory uses machine learning to clean up and match product descriptions. Companies working with large databases often fill in the descriptions manually, taking up a lot of unnecessary time and increasing the chance of mistakes. The company recently landed a €1 million investment from the Drenthe provincial grant for SMEs.
WIth Storro, companies can safely upload their data to the cloud, or more specifically, to a large number of different cloud services across the world. Thanks to Storro’s unique mix of peer-to-peer networking and blockchain technology, files are encrypted and distributed to trusted storage locations. The startup from Hengelo was part of the New Dutch Wave delegation for the SXSW festival a few weeks earlier too.
Tiledmedia & We4Sea
Tiledmedia’s encoding technology can reduce bandwidth for VR video by 80%, making it an incredibly attractive prospect, as videos will be easier to stream over the internet, and higher quality video will be easily streamable from slower WiFi routers. Earlier this year, the company landed a €2 million investment.
The shipping industry is responsible for a large share of the world’s CO2 emissions, and only 10% of all those ships monitor fuel efficiency. We4Sea, a young maritime technology startup, focussed on increasing the fuel efficiency of seagoing ships, launched of their fuel efficiency platform. With the launch, We4Sea is now able to monitor and report on the fuel consumption and emissions of ships without installing sensors.
The judges were firm, but fair, with some critical questions and honest feedback. Couldn’t Storro be used by criminal organizations, or storing child pornography? And Tiledmedia expects an enormous growth in revenue, based on the assumption that VR is really going to take off. But what if it turns out to be the next Google Glass? As for We4Sea, what if Google would suddenly take an interest in ship data?
Picking a winner is never easy, especially since all six startups are already successful. It took the judges quite some time to pick the first two startups for the finals in June. Hotelchamp was selected because of its potential to break the booking site monopoly and give freedom back to hotel owners. We4Sea was praised for its ambition to make the world a little cleaner, but also because of their business idea.
The last two finalists will be selected in Leeuwarden April 17.