Thursday, May 22, 2008

Startup 2.0 Winner Declared -Zilok

BARCELONA -After a heated round of presentations (most of which were amusingly interrupted by the erratic functioning of the slideshow remote control), the 3 top European startups in this year's competition were announced.

In third place, to some surprise, came, a cooking community with emphasis on video feeds based in Ireland. The company declared having only 3000 active members despite launching over 6 months ago and also competes in a densely packed market segment dominated by The Food Network. However, I did like their idea of awarding brownie points according to the type of contribution made by community members and the fact that this then entitled members to enter into prize draws.

In second place came socially responsible Unltdworld, a social network for do-gooders around the world attempting to redistribute wealth from the over- to the under-privileged elements of society. The concept was sound, though (like other attendees I was discussing this with) I failed to see what was unique about their proposition.

The clear winner was Zilok, a Franco-Belgian enterprise leading the way in the new market of P2P renting. With a strong management team, unique proposition and well-executed strategy, it was difficult to fault this company though some attendees did tut-tut at the fact that maybe they were not so much of a startup anymore...this old chestnut always pops up at some point, as the definition between a true startup and an established startup is not always clarified and the more entrepreneurially-minded would tend to prefer prize money to go to the startup that needs it the most..

Though not shortlisted for a prize, I believe that Talicious, a Hamburg startup established in 2007, deserves a special mention for most innovative concept, providing an online matchmaking service between talented people and talent scouts (and already breaking even, an achievement in itself)..check them out at

Overall, a great event with heavy emphasis on web startups and with plenty of room to let in mobile startups in the future as the convergence trend from web to mobile becomes more prominent.