AaltoES is one of the more active organisers of different entrepreneurial activities in the Helsinki region in Finland and last night saw one of its programs coming to an end with the Demo Day of Summer of Startups 2011. This year Summer of Startups was organised for the second year running and it needs to be said out clearly that the quality and level of ambition these teams had this year, had tremendously increased from last year. During the event, I tweeted that it wouldn’t be a surprise if some of the startups got acquired soon.

The winner of the program was a Russian team Stream Dialog, while BusFaster was the 1st runner up and AntsLab took the third spot. While it’s somewhat artificial to announce winners in such a competition where everyone wins, these three companies did perhaps showcase significant progress with big ambitions.

Stream Dialog is an interesting product on many levels. The “Thinglink for videos” has already signed a partnership with VKontakte in Russia where 200 million of its users may begin using their technology to tag things in videos. In addition to this, the team leader Alexey Solomatin announced that they would be founding their company in Finland as a result of the Summer of Startups program.

BusFaster will try to organise and sort out the third world public transport problem. The team has created a super useful route planner that can be used to analyze distances and times it takes to reach places through a heat map. In addition, they have developed a 50€ GPS box that would be added to buses in one of their test locations, Lima, Peru, to build a database of the routes they drive and use that information for the route planner.

Third winner was AntsLab, a company that builds mobile apps for better health. Their applications currently work on the Android platform, connecting to devices measuring glucose levels for those with diabetes and building up a database of information that can be later analyzed to better understand ways to improve one’s condition. In addition to the application for diabetics, the company plans to release other applications for different niche markets and avoid stepping into the trap of trying to build everything for everyone.

My personal favorite of the pitches was actually SolvingMaze. The company has come up with a plugin for online stores to better utilize packaging to send out goods. This results in lower shipping costs, but also simply improving the whole logistics process of shipping goods to consumers. The company’s add-on plugin that already works with a few e-commerce platform providers, is able to calculate the weight, the dimensions of the goods in the store (in realtime) and come up with a more accurate shipping cost for the consumer.

All in all, the pitches after a mere 10-week development period were astonishing. Not all of them were world class naturally, but the amount of ambition and progress the teams had made gives my vote for Summer of Startups as a program that definitely needs to be continued and improved over time to benefit the whole startup ecosystem in Northern Europe.

The other participants in the program can be seen from this post. Below are the three winning pitches from last night.