On Monday night Squace hosted the first of a new generation of Mobile Monday events in Stockholm. The evening featured pitches by 6 young companies in the mobile space, followed by commentary from an expert panel of tech. journalists, investors, and senior members of the tech. community. After the presentation, attendees were asked to vote on the most interesting company, with the winner getting a nomination for the Mobile Peer Award at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This nomination carries some weight, since last years nomination, PopCatcher, went on to win the special jury award.
The following is a quick rundown of the companies that presented last night, and who will be representing Stockholm in Barcelona next month.
First of all, it’s worth noting that even in the informal atmosphere of last night’s event, the presentations were sorely lacking. There were no demos, little energy on display, and even fundamental rules of presenting were broken (for example: know what language you are expected to present in, BEFORE the presentation starts). The companies, in order of appearance were:
Qtrust – Their concept of mobile based learning interested the panel and the audience. Having step-by-step directions delivered to a phone, for installing wooden floors for example, has obvious appeal. Overall, it seems the company is very early stage and has yet to optimize their business model.
Avista – This company, which has already won multiple awards, uses mobile and NFC (two-way RFID) chips to improve service delivery in the cleaning and elderly care industries. The panel was very complementary of Avista, which is a great example of the principle that states the more boring a company is, the better returns they earn.
Appear – One of the strongest presentations of the night, Appear Networks aims to eliminate two-way radios and paper status reports from use by airport and train system personnel and replace them with contextualized information delivered through mobile devices. The audience had some questions about the capital investment required for implementation and the dependence on “configuration” to determine which personnel receive what information. Appear continues to add new customers, which is really the best way to answer pesky audience questions.
MoSync – The team that used to be known as mobile sorcery is now MoSync, but their work on open source (!) software for porting applications to different mobile platforms continues. While the business model (and chairman) they borrowed from MySQL are impressive, they’ll need to expand past dead/dying mobile platforms (Symbian/Windows Mobile) in order to succeed.
Accumulate – This mobile payments solution differentiates itself with the use of an NFC chip that can be very literally stuck on to phones without NFC built-in, which is obviously most phones. Accumulate is currently being tested on Gotland and seems to provide remarkable convenience and security, the problem of reporting a lost phone/payment device without a phone/payment device remains Quixotic, however.
Runalong – While lacking a mobile angle at the moment, this community of (urban, female) runners appears to have developed well since its inception at 24-hour business camp last year, and seems ripe for partnerships with sport equipment retailers or manufacturers.
With the presentations complete, the remaining attendees submitted their votes for best company by writing on little pieces of paper and putting them in hat to be counted. Just kidding, voting was by SMS obviously. Congratulations to MoSync, who will receive the nomination. Their promise of easy and cheap porting is just too magical to ignore, even for those who know how hard it is.