The Web Summit is a huge meetup of the tech world. Myself and five other Software Engineers at Ve Interactive were sent to Dublin for the Web Summit 2015. One of the most prominent part of the conference is the hundreds of Startups lining the huge halls, all eager to put their pitch past any passer by.
Below is a taste of the startups I spoke to, in no order, with no filter, moral or otherwise.
Lead Photo Credit: Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)
Allows you to communicate with other drivers based off their car registration/number plate. You sign up, input your number plate and mobile number, and receive messages from other drivers. Socialise or notify others about their lights being out, car defects or perhaps flirt. I like this idea partly because it's a spin off on my own. I'd love to see it expand to automatic number plate recognition based on cameras around the car, but I think they need to change their concept of connectivity to local wifi signals. With fantasy aside, it's one of those ideas that need to be immediately widespread before it becomes useful. It would be easy for car manufacturers to build a similar system. Every Ford, for instance, could have their own communication system which would be supported and back compatible for many years, leaving this one start-up's service in the dust.
AirBnB for the physically disabled. Hotel and BnB owners answer a understandable quiz which generates a profile and booking page with very detailed accessibility information. One of many of those "[Popular service] for [other market]" start-ups, but executes it really well. I believe it can be buried really easily with a few modifications on AirBnB's part, but Founder & CEO Sebastien Archambeaud isn't fazed by the possibility. He believes that they'll never be able to reach the level of information that Hadiscover provides. As a dedicated website aimed at the physically disabled, I can't argue with his logic.
A browser extension that generates a QR code and a mobile app that'll log you in to the website. When you open a website where you're not logged in, the browser extension shows a QR code. Scan the code with the companion app on your phone, which has your login details stored, and it automatically logs you into the website before your eyes. Also works with 2 factor authentication somehow. It's not exactly a one sentence pitch, but It looks amazing, and the demo worked on Twitter and Barclays Bank. It's focusing on the not-so-tech-savvy audience for its apps, but I think it's got that potential audience wrong. The not-so-tech-savvy are typically old and can't prod at a small mobile screen very well. It would benefit normal people just with the major security benefit of having your login credentials stored on your phone. Sadly, its website is clunky, hard to use, and generally sucks. It will die because of the website, it will be a suicide, and I will not cry for it.
A virtual assistant on SMS that is currently suggesting "local sustainable cafés, restaurants or pubs in Dublin exclusively during Web Summit". I'd love to tell you more about it; it gave me one reply and is now ignoring me. I think it's jealous that I used Google Now the other night. Unknowingly to them, this idea has been tried many times. For instance, ChaCha was a 'Human Powered Search Engine' text service. Their community of searchers received a bit of money for every query answered. Sure is similar, except a lot less scope, a lot less people, and a lot less popularity. 15 years ago, this would be the perfect startup. Today, it'll be easily squished by Facebook M.
An App that looks at your calendars and tells you when to leave and what transport to take. You know those companies that could be killed by Google or Facebook in one swipe? This is beyond that definition. Google Now already gives suggestions on when to leave for an event in your calendar. However, Travalarm is optimistic that their integrations with 3rd party sites like MeetUp still makes them relevant. I think otherwise. Side note, the app can play music too. Thought that was important for you to know.
A physical device that visualises and aides task tracking. There isn't enough physical device start-ups at WebSummit. I'm probably at the wrong kind of conference for that kind of thing, but Z-BTN still scratches that itch for me. Sadly I think it's a device doomed for failure. It boasts more accurate time tracking and less time lost in comparison to Time Tracking Apps. I don't think there's a need for a tangible physical device for this purpose. A well-built app can easily replace it. On top of that, it's marketing to the people who don't gain for highly accurate time tracking; the working freelancers. They gain from over estimating time taken on tasks.
A social website for music lovers that helps you find people to share hotel rooms and ride shares. Some sites rely on their catchy name to be remember-able. Not this one; Muzenly is not even close to a word. Regardless, it's a great site and I know people who'll use it religiously.
The booking.com of Spanish adventure experience booking, Enough said.
The booking.com of Marinas. Enough said.
A job opportunity website specifically for women who left work to become mothers. It's an inspiring idea with a great website, but really the only reason I'm acknowledging them is this awesome handout of theirs. Photo Credit: @MaryLMolloy
A Peer-to-peer postage service that lets 'shyppers' be paid by other users to take parcels along with them during journeys. To date, only 4 successful 'shypps' have happened, according to the stats on their homepage.