Trends and Startups I took away from TechCrunch Disrupt Europe

November 3, 2014

About two weeks ago I was happy to attend the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in London. This is one of the most anticipated technology conferences in Europe focussing on the best in entrepreneurship and disruptive technology. During this two day event I saw some interesting speakers and startups, and got a better understanding of the current state of Tech in Europe.
  • Among the many startups presenting their ideas, a trend I noticed, and applauded, is the rise of HealthTech startups. They're somewhat less sexy, but undoubtedly more and more important in the world we envision for tomorrow. Both Oscadi and DGG presented their ideas during the Startup Battlefield competition and made it even into the final.

    Two other trends I noticed are the rise of FinTech and EduTech startups. FinTech startups aim to redefine financial technology and transform the way payments are made and being processed. To me, the most sexy startup in this field was Number26, a Berlin-based company creating Europe's first current account tailored to the needs of the smartphone user. Also worth mentioning is Belgium-based Sign2Pay, though I'm not so keen on signatures as they are.

    In the field of EduTech, I was seriously impressed by the PhotoMath app, another finalist of the Battlefield competition. I'm not sure if the app is really helping people to learn math, but the result is just very cool.

  • Image by TechCrunch
  • Apart from these trends, I enjoyed speaking to more than 40 startups at the Startup Alley. Below is my personal list of standouts to keep your eyes on:

    Lima is a small adapter that seamlessly transforms your USB drives into a personal Dropbox for all your devices. Lima has a deep filesystem integration and unifies all files across your devices. The project started last year as a Kickstarter campaign and is now in the top 20 of most-funded campaigns in the technology category. Currently, Lima can be pre-ordered with shipment planned in the spring of 2015.

  • Another idea I really liked is the one of RePacks. This Danish startup offers a reusable packaging service aiming to remove packaging trash from e-commerce. Delivery packages can be easily returned via the local postal system, and then re-used by retailers. Customers pay a small deposit, which is automatically refunded once the package is received back.

    Holi is a France-based startup designing connected lightning devices. The idea is somewhat similar to Philips Hue, though it seems like Holi is targeting more specific niches. I'm particularly excited about their SleepCompanion, a light-bulb designed to synchronize with your body's biological rhythm by generating the right light. A dedicated smartphone app analyses your sleep patterns and provides personalized advices to improve it. SleepCompanion will cost 79 EUR and is currently in pre-order phase.

    Finally, being a freelancer, I was happy to find out about Tyba. Tyba is an online platform connecting and matching the most suitable junior talent with job opportunities at exciting (European) startups. The platform itself is a combination between Facebook and LinkedIn and instead of only listing job offers, it presents the story and vision behind the company in a nice format with interviews, stories and lots of pictures. Tyba is based in Spain and is currently rolling out.

  • Honorable mentions

    Concloud: An iOS and Android app that aims to simplify the way smartphone users manage their contacts. Your contact data is hosted in the cloud, so every time it changes your changes get pushed to your contacts.
    Drop: An iOS and Android app that enables you to create and subscribe to channels, allowing you to send and receive push notifications for those channels.
    Roost: Push notifications for the web.

  • TechCrunch Disrupt Europe was a very enriching experience and I'm happy to have attended this event. It was interesting meeting all these startups and see that some of them focus on real-world problems by aiming to disrupt established markets like finance and medicine. Those markets are still full of opportunities and I can't wait to see what's next.