Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Le Web Paris ’09 Start-up Contest –16 companies jockey for #1 webpreneurship spot

PARIS- Le Web 09 edition has lined up an exciting array of 16 companies at the seed and start-up stage to promote their wares in front of its highly influential jury and public. 135 companies originally applied for the competition back in October, so only the ‘crème de la crème’ have made it through to the finals.

If you look at the full list of selected companies that will present in Paris (found here), you realise that this is a varied bunch indeed, covering areas such as cloud computing (c’est très chic right now) to social network aggregation and semantic web-style solutions.

The theme at Le Web this year is real-time web, so unsurprisingly a number of the chosen start-ups fit into this area. Notably, Sokoz, a web-based shopping portal that resembles an ebay on speed, offers item sales lasting 10 minutes with just 30-seconds for shoppers to decide whether to buy or pass up on the deal. Buyers are the ones deciding the price of each item, with the first one to click being awarded the lowest price.

Tanguy Lesselin, founder of Sokoz, says his site is all about playing while shopping, while saving time and money. With Christmas round the corner, the timing for Sokoz’s pitch is impeccable.

There are too many companies to carry out an extensive review here (and quite a few are still in private beta, so I have not been able to check them out fully) but each brings something original to the table. CloudSplit allows companies to track their cloud computing spend, FitnessKeeper lets you monitor your daily exercise routine on your iPhone, Siteheart lets you pay for items with your mobile phone, Superfeeder takes RSS feeds to the next level and Task.ly lets you manage your tasks better in an ‘all-in-one’ interface.

Mendeley will be a formidable adversary for other start-ups (and my tip for ‘one to watch’) after having convincingly won the Plugg Start-up Contest in Brussels in March (click here for my blog post on this). Backed by lastfm’s initial investor (and some of their recommendation technology magic), Mendeley allows researchers to discover, share and organize academic papers.

Personally, I am looking forward to an incroyable series of presentations next week- stay tuned for real-time updates from Paris.

(Photo credit:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamtea/638446771/)