AlpICT Venture Night took place Thursday evening at Lift Conference in Geneva. Successful entrepreneur Christian Wanner, founder and CEO of online supermarket LeShop, pitched quickly about the journey of his venture. He started in the web early days, in 1997, at 27. He and his team experienced the entrepreneurial rollercoaster so extremely that he was just 20 hours away of closing the business late 2002. His investors decided to close the business a couple of weeks before, but Christian decided to fight for staying alive. And that worked out: they’ve raised CHF 10 millions and turned the opportunity (acquiring their biggest competitor 12 months after) in a real success (CHF 150mios turnover & 220 employees in 2012).
Christian then illustrated the journey of an entrepreneur with the South Pole expedition Ernest Schackleton in 1914. This description sticks to startup’s journey. People weren’t trained to the experience but were excited about the challenge. The dream is the journey and you have to recruit people who want to really be part of it (knowing it). When you decide to launch a company, you’ll be IN for a long time… and you need to adapt. LeShop’s story shows that frontiers between success and failure is really tiny…
After this keynote, 8 western Switzerland startup pitched their business opportunity to the audience, which I’d like to describe here.
InZair provides an art of timely post-it SMS, which they call ZMS. The company aimed to bring a new experience to people sending message, where you can leave a ZMS at a specific time on a specific location (receiver gets it when he comes in the area at time). They’re directly competing with iMessage or What’s app, but think to be able to take a significant part of this huge business (200’000 sent every second).
Michael presented EcoWizz, which makes energy saving fun. Thanks to the device and the web service, you can better manage energy, either to save the world… or to save some money! Problem solved by the startup is the one presented by electricity bills, which are complex an not giving the right answer to the consumer (electricity consumption/day or week, prices, consumption of my electronic devices). Their motto is to “Be the actor of your energy consumption”. Now, EcoWizz is going international and is looking for partners to help them.
Pebbleage is building a software for tax compliance. The solution mostly applies to multinational companies, where mistakes can be hugely penalized. The company would like to boost tax office performances and avoid tax disputes, by automating, simplifying, reusing and justifying. PebbleAge allows big corporations to save $ millions.
Faveeo‘s solution is helping users go from information to knowledge, because the world needs better filters! The startup aims to let you spent more time to use information rather than searching it. The software is autonomous (automatical discovery), intelligent (adapts & improves itself) and social (by sharing). Now Faveeo is looking for Beta tester (you can contact Alexis, investors and potential employees.
Amanda is a finance and management cloud-based collaborative solution for small businesses, which allow them to manage sales efficiently, manage cash and comply with accounting rules. You can connect, for instance, with your accountant and got real time information from your sales guys. If you’d like to get a discount (6 months offered), don’t hesitate to contact me directly!
Utribo is a solution helping you increase your customer interaction. Market statistics tell that 77% of online users would like to have live assistance during shopping, that 53% of them abandon the shopping cart and that your customer will be 5x time more loyal if you resolve a pain for him quickly. Utribo helps companies increase their sales, improve customer satisfaction and get more feedback from customers. The startup developed an API (in Beta), for which you can ask an access by dropping an email here.
Museeka is providing a personalized music streaming service. Music is becoming a subscription service (Pandora: 20M, Spotify: 3M, Deezer 800k) and Museeka’s mission is to satistfy and excite the music taste of listeners, by help you finding music you like. The technology of the company extracts song DNA and recommends similar music. Museeka has already secured agreements with Majors like Universal, Warner, EMI, and Sony.
The Venture Night trophy was finally awarded by the votes of the audience to InZair.
Related post: 10 promising mobile startups from Switzerland