Water Recycling shower wins $684,000 in the Green Challenge

“The average teenage girl (according to a UK-based survey) spends 16 minutes in the shower. 16  percent of them spend more than 30 minutes.” says Nick Christy. Christy’s company Water Recycling Shower just won the Dutch Postcode Lottery Green Challenge and can potentially save cash-strapped parents, and the rest of us, 70 percent on the cost of heating their shower. The prize of $684,000 will be used to refine the product and get it to market more quickly.

Demo: Métier mines text to improve a company’s performance

In large companies, it’s all too easy for employees to duplicate work or fall out of sync with the company’s strategy. Métier’s workforward product uses natural language processing (NLP) and semantic matching to help managers find the right employee to work on a project, speed up project planning and ensure that company strategy is actually being executed.

Demo: We Are Cloud brings Business Intelligence to the masses

Smaller businesses often can’t afford a traditional enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) tool, nor do they have the in-house IT staff to administer and query it. We are Cloud is launching Bime 3.0, a cloud-based business intelligence tool specifically for these small to medium sized businesses, at DEMO today.

Fighting climate change, one barnacle at a time

The humble barnacle may seem an unlikely villain in the war on climate change, but those little crustaceans are not as innocent as they look. Ships encrusted with barnacles experience turbulence, which can increase the fuel they use by up to 50 percent.

GravityEight wants to measure your entire life

Ever wanted a dashboard for your life? GravityEight wants to become the “Mint.com of your entire life” by tracking everything from your health to your community contribution and displaying the results in a wellbeing wheel.

Vivino helps you find that wine with image recognition

“Wine is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of whiskey” said Thomas Jefferson. Copenhagen-based Vivino helps you identify and locate your favorite antidote for future consumption. The company just received an angel investment from Skype co-founder Janus Friis as part of its strategy to go global.

European Venture Capital: A Rembrandt in the attic?

Do European venture capital funds perform better than their U.S. rivals? German VC fund, Earlybird Venture Capital, just published an analysis that claims European venture capital has been producing higher exit multiples than U.S. venture capital in the last two years.

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Waste management goes Steampunk with Envac

Tired of overflowing bins and roads blocked by waste vans? Quebec’s new Cité Verte (green city) eco urban development will use a vacuum-powered (pneumatic) underground waste system from Swedish company Envac.

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Appsterdam: A haven for indie app makers?

It’s hard to get the famously phlegmatic Dutch excited but Mike Lee had a room full of them (and other nationalities) clapping and whooping Saturday in the style of an old-school preacher. Why? Appsterdam, Lee’s attempt to create a new home for app makers in city of Amsterdam.

Fits.me fitbot

Fits.me’s female robot helps you find the perfect fit online

Fits.me aims to increase clothing sales online and reduce returns by showing female shoppers clothing on a mannequin matching her exact dimensions. It does this by using robotic mannequins with artificial muscles that can simulate the shape and size of any body. While a male robot, or Fitbot, has been available for some time, the long-anticipated female version will launch soon at British retailer Hawes & Curtis.

Visa acquires Fundamo to offer mobile money to the unbanked

Fundamo, one of the biggest vendors of mobile financial services technology for the unbanked and underbanked has just been acquired by Visa for a reported $110 million dollars. Fundamo operates in over 40 emerging markets, in particular Africa and the Middle East. The company’s main customers are mobile carriers and financial institutions who want to launch services like person-to-person payments including remittances, mobile airtime top-up and bill payment.

Movirtu’s “cloud phone” connects Third World users

Why is a mobile phone number tied to a SIM card (and often a device) rather than a person? My sister lives in Brooklyn but has never owned a mobile phone (she still has an answering machine like in Sex and the City). However, she does have a habit of borrowing other people’s phones.

Top 8 ways to annoy a tech blogger

You may think that a tech blogger’s life is a glamorous whirl of free lunches, great gadgets and being bought drinks at conferences. If so then you are probably following the wrong bloggers. In fact, it’s more like a long round of typing, getting annoyed with PRs and founders and then some more (louder) typing.

Internet advertising worth a record $7.3 billion in Q1, 2011

Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. hit $7.3 billion for the first quarter of 2011, a 23 percent increase over the same period in 2010, according to figures released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. This is the highest first-quarter revenue level ever for the industry.

The new chain gang: Chinese prisoners forced to play for virtual goods

The Guardian is reporting that prisoners in labor camps in China were forced to play online games like World of Warcraft in 12 hour shifts in order to earn virtual credits, currencies and goods which could then be sold by the guards. Prisoners who did not meet their quotas were beaten.

Russians crack Apple’s iOS encryption

As any security expert will tell you, all security systems can be cracked. The issue is more whether the value of the information revealed justifies the effort required to do so.

ImagePulse “sees” how you feel about brands

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? ImagePulse measures how consumers feel about brands based on photos in which the brand is included. It uses a mixture of text, sentiment and image analysis to measure if the image is positive or negative and the emotions involved. What does it mean to the brand when people take pictures of themselves at a Nike store or having coffee in Starbucks?

Avado turns health care into continuous care

In ancient China, doctors were paid to keep their patients well. If a patient fell ill, the doctor didn’t get paid until they got better. We have gotten used to being continuously connected, so why does healthcare still revolve around an occasional face to face meeting with your doctor when something has already gone wrong?

UK payment startups join forces in $87 million merger

2011 seems to be the year that mobile payments go mainstream with everyone from the big mobile carriers and handset manufacturers to scrappy new startups scrambling on to the payments bandwagon.

Print your own tableware with Shapeways

Tired of trekking to Ikea for funky tableware? Can’t find a mug that matches your iPhone? Consumer 3D printing shop Shapeways just took personalized manufacturing to a new level by being the first in the world to add glazed ceramic to its roster of materials. This means you can now design and print your own food-safe tableware like salt and pepper shakers, plates and mugs.

SoundCloud turns up the volume with SoundCloud Labs

SoundCloud is a platform that lets people share the sounds they create, from professional musicians to public companies who want to post earnings calls. The company just unveiled SoundCloud Labs, a site dedicated to experimental projects and features built on the SoundCloud API and developed by employees of the company.

Spotify bypasses iTunes and launches music store

Streaming music service Spotify just launched a new version of its desktop and mobile application that allows all users to synchronize tracks from their computer to iPods, iPhones and Android phones. Spotify Premium users could already synchronize Spotify playlists with iPod Touches, iPhones and Android phones, but free users could only listen on their desktops.

Spotify CEO laughs off movie rumors

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek today refuted the rumors (reported by TechCrunch and others) that the Swedish streaming music service had negotiated a number of deals with major movie studios to stream their content. On his Twitter stream Ek said, “Soon I’ll be reading that Spotify is launching a space rocket.”

Royal wedding fever sweeps the web

Most of the world should have been asleep when the British royal wedding took place today, but the event still took over the entire Internet.

Search, shop, love: Secrets of smartphone users

As part of Google’s ongoing battle to conquer the mobile advertising market, the company commissioned research from Ipsos OTX to understand how smartphones are used in people’s daily lives. Mobile ad network InMobi also just released some data on consumer’s attitudes to mobile shopping. Let’s see what they found.

Twitter and LinkedIn go Dutch

ComScore just released a social networking study that shows the highest Twitter and LinkedIn penetration in the world is in the Netherlands.

Can your smartphone save your life?

Every meal you eat is analysed by a nutritionist. Your workouts are monitored and progress tracked. When driving, an app checks you for alertness and let’s you know if you need to stop and take a rest.

Micro-lending site Kiva goes green

Kiva, a site that enables person-to-person loans, has just added a new category of green loans to help borrowers move to cleaner and safer forms of energy, green agriculture, transport and recycling. Loans made through Kiva generally go to individuals or entrepreneurs in the developing world, but some do go to people in the U.S.