Amsterdam is becoming a city where more and more Internet and mobile related startups are starting to see the daylight. In this big city, which is made smaller by staying connected through services like twitter, it’s easy to get to know many of the passionate people behind these companies. Here follows an highlight of the top 5 startup companies in Amsterdam and the people behind them.
My name is E
E allows you to make online business cards with all your network accounts (Facebook, linkedIn, Twitter ect.) and easily share them in real life using a mobile phone or their Connector.
Their motto ‘E connects you to the real world’ shows that while their current activities mainly connect people, in the future they want to enable connecting with objects and environments.
While the current publicly available product focus on a modern way to share business cards, the mind blowing product is yet to come. E seems to be doing research & development on using NFC technology(short-range RFID) in new mobile phones to allow people to connect with objects like advertising billboards. In Asia QR-codes are used as mainstream technology in advertisements to allow people with their mobile phones to engage with the advertisements and offer special promotions. In Europe we might just skip QR-codes and start exploring these new options to connect with objects using NFC. The coming years will show us if this will go mainstream and which market share My name is E will have. I know I would like to buy some stock today -hook me up guys-. I hope they’ll find the right investors and the right focus for their company in the months to come.
Founder Renato Valdés (@renn on twitter) is well known in the internet and mobile scene in Amsterdam and famous for his love for hats. He can be found at almost every web/twitter/tech event in the city. In the past he even commented on on my blog about profile containers and why Khris Loux joined their board of directors.
“Layar Reality Browser is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.”
Augmented reality(a technology which received much attention at CeBIT09 and advertisers are starting to use) and location-based services are two new areas that will see great growth coming years. Layar taps into both of them and offers an mobile platform where users can find information surrounding them or ask location-based questions like ”where is the nearest ATM or Italian restaurant?’. Because of the innovative aspect Layar has received much international media attention. While AR is fun and gets a lot of attention in the long run they need to answer which real value they offer their b2b clients and the users of Layar. When it comes to location-based service platform Google will be a heavy competitor.
Their application is currently available on Android phones and soon the iPhone version will be released. SPRXmobile the company behind Layar managed to get the app pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy phones in the Netherlands. They aim to become the new browser people use to explore AR, placed alongside the web browser on mobile phones.
@ClaireBoo MD of SPRXmobile is much seen at diffrent tech and mobile events where she gives presentations about Layar and which new features they added this month .
“Directly share your photos, text, audio and videos with all your friends on your favorite social sites: facebook, twitter, flickr, vimeo, and more!”
Mobypicture is a media platform where you can upload all you photos, video and audio to and it will share those with all the social network profile and blogs you have connected with your account. Currently they have over 100 000 users with a growth of 20% every month, which makes them the biggest platform of the startups named here. The open character of Moby and integration with many twitter and mobile clients has greatly influenced their reach and promoted the service among followers of Moby users without any marketing budget. Mobypicture’s focus on mobile differentiates them from competitors like Flickr.
The company is widening it’s reach in the Netherlands by offering branded services to many popular website communities and allowing them to login with their existing accounts. While there is an active Dutch twitter community on Moby, I think further international growth could be reached by activating more communities abroad which already have users on the platform. In the future I would like to see more tools to manage groups and potentially derive business form the diffrent groups active on the Moby platform (think about brands approaching certain groups).
Mobypicture founder Mathys van Abbe (@mathys) is well known in the Amsterdam startup scene and has one of the coolest offices on the Moby Boat -yes actually on a boat-. His personal blog offers very intresting insights on how his startup is developing and can sometimes offer great tips. Lead developer on Moby is @bpelgrom which has been doing a pretty good job lately.
“Twones lets you tie all your music from across the web to one place, and share it with friends in real-time.”
Twones tracks the music you listen to online and allows you to share your playlist with others. It does a nice job at aggregating all online information about a song and displaying this for the user. Twones works with a follower structure that allows you to make friends and check out their playlists and music tastes. Integration with twitter allows you to share with others outside the service to which songs you are listing.
This actually is a nice service and mostly relies on aggregating almost everything from other online places, which might actually become a weakness. It’s positioning is quite different form music streaming services like Spotify and seams more focused on the sharing than just streaming music. For music fans it’s nice place to meet. Attracting new users and building the twones community will determine it’s success. Most of the users will probably be attracted from posting to twitter, but they might have some collaborations with current music communities up their sleeve.
Tim Heineke(@theineke) is the co-founder of Twones and has a pretty sweat development team working on the project. Boris van Zanten(@boris) from The Next Web seems to be the main investor behind Twones and has taken them into their office space.
“TipSpot is a new service that makes sure you know what’s happening in town.”
TipSpot is a social event guide that recommends events that are happening in your town based on your interests and network of friends. The ranking system based on your music style, cultural preferences and on your social network -unfortunately only of friends who are on the site- is pretty innovative. The service has good mobile integration with iPhone and Android, which means you can carry your events agenda with you and search for things to do while you’re outside.
Currently TipSpot categorize music and cultural events. TipSpot has arranged collaborations with some of the major cultural event agendas in The Netherlands. For further European growth in the years to come they need to get international collaborations to help promote the service abroad. There is also a need for more integration with existing messaging services to share events users are attending and integration with calendar applications, which they seem currently to be working on.
Founder @FrankStar is a pretty cool dude and can be found on twitter and at some events. I actually discovered the site when I found a sticker promoting it in on a wall in the city. While the service mostly received attention last year, the site has only gone totally public since a few months.
Good luck to all startups and let’s hope that for a change that one of these companies can grow large while staying in European funded hands, in order for a organization strategy student to come in handy .
Ofcourse there are more passionate people behind each company, I’m only able to highlight the people I know. Please contact me if you would like more info to be added. Startups are listed in random order and top5 is based on potential for international growth.