I attended an event called StartTWS this week. It is the fifth year the event is taking place and it is intended to provide Israeli entrepreneurs with a stage from which to launch their new venture and participate in a start-up competition.
As tech conferences go, this was a well-organized, well-packed event, starting from the attendees, the content, and even the food. The WiFi was a little spotty at times, but no one's perfect.
The judges of the contest were also extremely talented and well-respected individuals. They included investors such as Yahal Zilka (Managing Partner, Magma Venture Partners), Yaniv Golan (Lool Ventures, Former AOL Executive), Eden Shochat (General Partner, Genesis Partner, recently sold Face.com to Facebook), Doron Alter (Innovation Endeavors) and Roi Carthy (Managing Partner, Initial Capital).
On the entrepreneurial side, the judges included Liad Agmon (Delver, acquired by Sears & Onigma, Acquired by McAfee), Bob Rosenschein (Answers.com) and Roee Adler (CPO, Soluto).
The following are the start-ups that took place in the event, the winners of the contest, and my personal favorite of the bunch:
- docTrackr: docTrackr enables you to share documents without losing control of them. You can remotely destroy them, update them and know what people are doing with them in real-time after having shared them. Interesting, to say the least.
- Overwolf: Overwolf offers an in-app App Store (confusing, right?) for developers and users to have access to Facebook, Twitter, Instant Messenger, and other tools inside a game. Or in other words, it adds a social layer to games without touching the code.
- WorkWith.Me: WorkWith.me is a crowd-sourced recruiting tool. When a candidate matches a position, trusted contacts within the community who are connected to the candidate will be asked by the recruiter for their opinion. Those friends will be the ones to approach the candidates and court them for the position. Nice way to use social.
- SOOMLA: SOOMLA lets mobile developers easily integrate in-app purchases into their apps. In-app purchases are of course a popular method of monetizing apps and this provides a powerful tool to leverage that option.
- Pixplit: Pixplit is an iPhone app that lets you share pictures. Boring, right? Nope. You share a picture that becomes only a part of an entire collage composed from other people's/brand's photos. It is actually a beautiful app that might surprise you.
- Commun.it: Commun.it is a platform for community managers who need quick actionable items on how to build long-lasting professional relationships with relevant people in their space. It will tell you to reply to someone's tweet or to reach out to someone, etc. A much needed tool in the crowded social space.
- Neomatix: Neomatix was the surprising one of the bunch. Using an iPhone, drivers can monitor their vehicle's tires and increase safety and gas efficiency. Yes, really.
- Total Boox: Total Boox is a super interesting start-up that rids of the world of the "Buy a book first, read it later" model, which it believes is irrelevant in the eBook era. Now you download the eBook for free and pay for what you read. See? Told you it's interesting.
- minit: minit is a very interesting iPhone app that might be the next form of mobile communication, or so they want you to believe. With the app, users can record 60-second clips to which their friends can reply with their 60-second clip. At the end, the result is presented in a conversation-like sequence of videos. It is a cute idea, that's for sure.
- Telcred: Keys are so 2011! With Telcred and NFC, users or lock controllers can be completely offline and still deal with frequently changing users and temporary access rights, which makes it possible to replace traditional keys with an access control system. Are we ready for this?
The winners of the StartTWS competition were Overwolf and Pixplit. The audience selected Commun.it as their favorite start-up of the ten.
My favorite startup at StartTWS was Pixplit and not because of the beautiful user interface or the original idea. What I love about it is the out-of-the-box business model. Using Pixplit, brands can now truly engage with users. Forget likes, RTs, and comments -- those are not worth as much as we would like to believe. Now, Nike can upload a half of a swoosh and a Nike customer can complete the picture. That kind of engagement is appealing to both users and brands.