The Europas European startup awards just held in Berlin may not have been an unqualified success (the bone-cracking temperatures didn’t help), but the event did shine a welcome light on tech startups from across the continent and beyond. The full list of winners is a long one, so here’s an entirely subjective list of interesting startups spotted at the event.
DIY Infographics: Infogr.am
This Estonian team must be running out of space to display all the awards it has won lately, although it missed out on a gong at the Europas. Its interactive, online infographics and charts are simple enough for a tech journalist to use and great fun for those who like messing around with data. No graphic design experience required.
Better scientific research: Mendeley
U.K. startup Mendeley won several awards at the Europas. Scientific researchers have to deal with a vast and rapidly updated sea of research. Mendeley’s mission is to make scientific research more efficient by automatically extracting bibliographic data from academic literature and making it available via search and an API. Millions of academic papers in all kinds of fields have already been indexed, and 260 apps are generating more than 100 million calls to the Mendeley API per month. Scientific publications company Elsevier is rumored to be in talks to buy Mendeley for $100 million.
3D body scans from a photo: Poikos
Poikos creates 3D body scans from photos taken on a laptop or similar camera. Using a database of full 3D scans of real people, it combines the best matches with the photo to form an extremely accurate model without requiring any additional hardware. The first use cases for the Poikos FlixFit system are accurate sizing for online clothing shopping (over 40 percent of returns are due to bad fit) and tracking fitness. In the longer term, the technology could be used in hospitals to accurately tailor drug dosages to a particular person.
Phone-charging furniture: Powerkiss
Making use of the skills of battery experts formerly employed by Nokia, this Finnish startup has revived wireless resonance induction charging technology by building it into furniture. Plug a “ring” receiver into your phone, place it on a table (or even beside a light) equipped with a “heart” transmitter, and watch it give your device the kiss of life. Powerkiss‘s technology is in use in several airports and cafes in Europe.
What people really read: Scoopinion
Scoopinion wants to save journalism by focusing on quality rather than clicks. There are plenty of tools that recommend content based on what you and others bookmark, rate, or click on, but how many people have actually read the content closely? This Finnish startup creates heatmaps of articles to track paragraph by paragraph just how much attention you really paid to that author’s words. The tool then makes recommendations based on the true reading behavior of the community. The company claims readers spend four times longer on articles recommended by Scoopinion than those from other sources.
Instant shopping gratification: Shutl
U.K. startup Shutl aims to shake up one of the most static parts of the e-commerce sector — delivery — by linking local couriers to retailers for high-speed delivery. The Shutl Now service guarantees delivery within 90 minutes. Shutl gathers quotes from delivery couriers (who don’t normally deal directly with consumers or with big retailers) for a particular delivery and combines them with rating data to select the best quote based on price and quality. Shutl raised $3.2 million last year and will launch soon in the U.S.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.