The digital eyes of Europe are on Amsterdam today as The Next Web’s sold out European Conference gets underway. Leading the Norwegian contingent is Swipe, one of 20 finalists in the eagerly awaited Microsoft BizSpark Startup Rally.
Co-founders Horia Cernusca and Håkon Eide have been hard at work perfecting their presentation software since winning Oslo’s last Startup Weekend. Today they unveil their product, billed as “a new way to deliver and watch presentations – from any device to any number of devices, in real-time”.
By its nature, a pitch about presentation software has to be exceptional, so it’s no surprise the boys have something special planned.
“To show the power of putting content in users’ hands, we’re attempting to break Hubspot’s world record for the largest webinar, live on stage” said Swipe CEO Horia Cernusca. The event is streamed live on TNW so you can follow their attempt from 1045 CET.
The key to Swipe’s appeal is a simple core idea, as Cernusca explains:
“I got the idea for Swipe when I went back to Holland to present my thesis in school” said Swipe CEO Horia Cernusca. “I designed my slides with Photoshop and KeyNote, but needed them in PowerPoint for the school computer. The quality became terrible from the conversion. I didn’t have my Mac adaptor, USB stick or a clicker, couldn’t rent anything because I had no valid student ID with me, and was pretty angry I had to go all the way to Holland for one simple presentation in the first place because there was no good online tool that was acceptable.”
“We sit in an audience and watch a presentation, we all have a laptop, tablet, or phone with us. Most of the time we’re on them doing other stuff, because it’s not so great to stare at a terrible projector screen and look at text. Why aren’t we using the web and the web-enabled devices to see the presentation live on them, interact with the presenter, and actually share in the experience? Why are we doing the same things as in the 50’s when we have computers in our pockets and soon on our faces?”
The Startup Rally is a pitch battle between 20 of the world’s hottest startups. Swipe is up first alongside PoweredNow, Nineconnections, Nutrino & Sush.io. The winner pitches again in the main conference hall and could walk away with the Jury Prize, best business model or most promising app award.
Whatever the outcome, Cernusca is relishing the opportunity.
“I love presentations, pitches, and talking in front of crowds. You don’t get the chance too often to pitch in front of 2,500 industry experts and 20,000 people online watching live, not to mention potential press that comes out of it. We want to deliver something great in front of everybody, and we’ll probably be the youngest startup there, only six months in at the time. We’ve come this far by trusting ourselves, and getting support and help from friends through the process. It’s all a bit crazy, but we’re equally confident as we are scared.”
“We’re hoping to have a big launch and get feedback and a solid group of beta testers. We want to share our vision on a big stage, and we’re determined to stand out from the crowd. It’s a massive opportunity, and we’ll hopefully leverage it in the best way possible. It’s a make or break moment for us, we hope we can emulate the conference launches of products like Trello, BitCasa, or Hojoki. We’re making the world’s most awesome presentation tool, and this is the perfect context to share it and use it.”
A former IT Project Manager, David Nikel now works as a technology writer in Norway. He helps Norwegian companies communicate in English and reports on the entrepreneurial scene for ArcticStartup.