STHLM TECH MeetUp Dec 05, 2016
My friend and classmate Wuji Geng and I visited the STHLM TECH MeetUp with Axel Springer on December 5, 2016, 06.00 PM – 08.30 PM, that was hosted by Hilton Stockholm
Slussen Hotel. STHLM TECH MeetUp
is the largest monthly startup event in Europe, founded in 2013. To date it has 9.050 members, is organized by Tyler Crowley
and looks back on already 41 successfully held MeetUps. It connects geeks, hackers, entrepreneurs, investors and designers around Stockholm. Every MeetUp is shaped by special guests speakers and investors on stage who educate the audience; three pitching StartUps
are showcased live on stage for inspiration and entertainment, but also for convincing investors. The pitches are followed by announcements that are relevant for the community, initiatives are being discussed and networking takes place. STHLM TECH Meetup also facilitates jobs. It is being sponsored by Great Works
(creative agency), VINGE
(provision of council), Deutsche Bank AG
, Nasdaq, Inc.
, EQT Ventures
(private equity), EY
(global professional services), Amazon Web Services
(hosting) and Swedbank AB
Companies presenting @STHLM TECH MeetUp Dec 5, 2016
The event was announced to look back at 2016 as „the best“ year for StartUps in Stockholm ever – as more companies received funding in 2016 than in 2014 + 2015 combined, whereas 2015 had been a record year as well. The program promised furthermore to take a close look on what the future in 2017 might bring by inviting special guests from diverse industries such as VR, Transportation, Media, Education, Retail, and Medical to share top predictions. Axel Springer SE
was advertised to host the event as another prominent guest and known for the international StartUp accelerator Plug and Play
Axel Springer SE
Axel Springer SE is the market leader in the German print business (major competitors are the Bauer Media Group, Bertelsmann, Hubert Burda Media, and Holtzbrinck). The company is active in more than 40 countries through subsidiaries, joint ventures and licenses and is one of the leading digital publishers in Europe, with more than 50% of its revenues coming from digital media activities. The Plug and Play Tech Centre is an international StartUp accelerator founded in 1990 and located in Sunnyvale, California (USA). It has housed companies like Google, Paypal, Logitech and DropBox. Some of its shareholders are news papers such as the German BILD, or Business Insider. Some of the companies below its wings are Weps (AI chatbot website builder on any devices), TechSpaghetti (educational software focused on language apps for children aged 4+), Vertico (network for inspiration, curating products, creating video stories, making them shoppable), Wingly (flight sharing platform, connecting private pilots with passengers), Trill (location based language teaching application), or Pivii (web based analytics tool for social media in a SaaS subscription model). The accelerator offers mentors, an expert network, EUR 25k in return for 5% of the company, workshops, introduction to investors, co-working spaces and ongoing support. Companies such as Accenture, Deutsche Bank or ERGO Group AG are among the „family-members“, partners and co-investors, besides Airbnb, Dropbox, or the German „BILD“ (among others).
Welcoming the audience and introducing the program
Outlook into 2017
The outlook into 2017 was being held by representatives of Amazon, Swedbank, Absolut Vodka, MediaMarkt, Deutsche Bank AG, Axel Springer, Schibsted Media Group, Telia Company AB and Hyper Island.
The presentation of Hyper Island, after a call for more developers (as always), reflected on 2016 with an introduction of the European Digital City Index
2016 (EDCi) that describes „how well different cities across Europe support digital entrepreneurs“. It is produced by the European Digital Forum (http://www.europeandigitalforum.eu) and Nesta
, and addresses StartUps and ScaleUps
(strengths and weaknesses of local ecosystems), as well as policy makers (benchmarking tool for resource control), where Stockholm proudly occupies the 2nd place
EDCi European Digital City Index 2016
following London @1st and Amsterdam @3rd. Credits for this, the presenter emphasized, belongs to the events’ partners (law firms, banks and big accounting firms).
For 2017 real life will be increasingly dominated by VR and AR technology, that, besides other things, will help to create empathy in populations facing increased migration of global talent; AI (as an assessor of real skills) together with microlearning
(offering easy access and influencing deep learning
) will improve the quality of education. Regulations for work force is being mentioned as one significant obstacle with work visas and „old-fashioned“ certificates being required – an aspect that needs disruption, according to the presentation. Finally, a „revival of truth“ is desirable: the presenter emphasized the importance of critical thinking and the courage to be sceptic.
A second presentation (Swedbank) focussed again on AI, but also on blockchains
, banks that embrace FinTech
and payment disruption
; rg AI, AI bots will become more prevalent as voice or chat bots that will appear person-like in a non-noticeable way; rg FinTech and mobile payment
EU legislations that allow 3rd parties access to personal financial information have to be considered (e.g., Directive on Payment Services
(PSD)). In 2017 FinTech startups should show professional handling of data security as customers pose high value on this aspect (trivially).
Amazon Web Services
A representative of Amazon predicted Denmark to be the next big StartUp Hub in 2017, Finland will lead wrt AR/VR technology, FinTech will jump to 50% of Nordic investments and Alexa
/chatbots will gain momentum. He reported from the recent Amazon (AWS) re:Invent
in Las Vegas (Nov 28, 2016 – Dec 2, 2016), the largest gathering of the global AWS community, designed for current customers and cloud newcomers (topics: IoT, server less computing, databases, containers). Further aspects of this presentation were (again) FinTech and how it benefitted post Brexit, Amazon Echo
and deep-learning, Text2Speech innovation, and 47 different voices powered by Amazon Alexa. He proposed to host a VR MeetUp due to the release of VR headset Google Daydream
; there will be a fusion of AR and VR to Mixed Reality and a shift from the „Tech & Buzz“ to usability; storytelling will be disrupted by VR, also, there is a massive push from Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry in general towards VR; high-end super headsets will enter the consumer market and Apple will get into immersive experiences
with its new iPhone
8; the VR giants will be defined by social mobile, see-through (aka smart
) glasses, and geographical scanning is being picked up by all big players, VR will be accessible via mobile and will change the home experience, pushed by HTC Corporation
and Swedish agents: while Facebook
plans to include gestures, Google
is working on a mobile headset, everything gets more interactive.
Deutsche Bank AG
According to the next presenter (Deutsche Bank), markets are doing well despite the new presidency in North-America, consequently, he recommended, not to always listen to analyst prognoses; for the free economies and market economies everything stays unpredictable and „one should not believe everything written in the newspapers“; there will be substantial growth in the USA that will spill over to Europe, the already strong US Dollar will be furthermore strengthened, equity will rise; there will be important elections in Europe (Germany, France and the Netherlands), and hence a certain nervousness in the markets.
The next presenter emphasizes the role of the retailers as gate keepers – e.g. Amazon products will become services and services computerized, products gets connected and with this development behaviour will change; services will be increasingly AR based and with the introduction of AI chatbots (again!) jobs will change; as an example Starbucks Corporation
was mentioned that never opened due to too high labour cost – AI could replace labour here. On the positive side for societies there had been the establishment of Norrsken Foundation
founder Niklas Adalberth
which will work towards improving the social good based on Effective Altruism
Telia Company AB
A representative of Telia Company AB also mentioned commoditization and competition on price and how brand promise can be kept facing competition from American players such as AT&T, Inc.
or Verizon Communications Inc.
, but also from Spotify AB
; as Telia is not the cheapest provider of mobile subscriptions, something in the brand has to convince people to like it instead – if they love the brand they will charge more; hence, Telia works on further increasing their customer experience in order to stay a competitive local and global leader: it is essential to best understand what customers need, and want and then deliver accordingly, customer expectation has to be managed best; customer will soon ask „Are you on the Internet of Things
“ instead of „the Internet“ and here Telia has to deliver customer value; although several mobile operators sold a couple of VR headsets already, Telia is not yet there with this use case, it has to first design appropriate use cases for VR; customer data are seen as s/th to be used in a reasonable way: e.g., big data
can be used in cars to nudge drivers slowing down their driving speed and adopt a more environmentally driving style; big data is good for society; he reports from the STHLM TECH Fest
in November 2016 where Telia and Ericsson AB
a coaching and mentoring program together with Stagecast
The next presenter represented MediaMarkt, one or the biggest retailer for consumer electronics in Europe; the big trends for 2017 will be, according to him, the Apple HomeKit
and other SmartHome
and SmartLiving solutions – but customers generally understand little about IoT, only few are able to connect their phone with their car and GPS
to their car using their Fedora Linux system. Other trends will be robots that help, for example, to turn on/off the iron, light or TV, similar to Amazon Alexa but specialized for the living room. Voice and face recognition will become more common, together with temperature recognition and with an improved proficiency to learn about user preferences. Finally, cybersecurity
, a once geeky topic, will become more consumer friendly – ID cameras and sensors will enter consumer electronics.
The outlook into 2017 proceeded with a focus on wearables
(Schibsted) that becoming smarter (e.g., headphones giving recommendations); above that, hardware StartUps understood that they should improve on developing products that really matters, e.g., by reducing water consumption – they will start solving real and more meaningful problems; to mention the GSMA Mobile World Congress
2017: VR will be a topic there too, as without VR 3D TV
makes no sense – sensors even are getting build into TVs (reference to PrimeSense
, that had been bought by Apple Inc in 2013 already).
Plug & Play Accelerator
A representative of the Plug & Play accelerator in Berlin praised the German capital for being an amazing ecosystem for StartUps; the Axel Springer organization invests in the digital scale-up of business models, one prominent example had been Schibsted. Axel Springer, after having sold all regional newspapers because they were not profitable concentrated on the market leaders in digital models and transformed its core revenue streams; the intention behind the accelerator for Axel Springer was to establish a German Silicon Valley. Participants of a 100 days focus program are being taken care of by mentors to exchange experiences with, they receive 25k in seed stage. Stockholm is special as a connected European ecosystem and a StartUp should go where its market is. Interesting clients are retail/commercial clients, not the M&A business. The StartUp provides platform banking and likes to find partners within FinTech and InsuranceTech.
After this outlook into 2017, the three StartUp pitches commenced:
The first StartUp that pitched was OneMove AB
(Stockholm), a company offering relocation services, similar to the StartUps from Germany, Movinga
. They provide their service as a mobile application for local moves (different from the German startup Move24 that (also) serves customers with long-distance moves). The app allows first to check and compare prices, make a picture of what to move, and chose for a suitable time (now or tomorrow); the actual relocation will not take more than 15-60 minutes (including pickup, load stuff, unload) and is accomplished by two service people and one pick-up van; the app offers direct pay and after successful relocation customers can grade the service based on satisfaction criteria and general performance. With the companies’ app „sending a sofa is easier than sending a letter“. The StartUp has already 100 vans at its disposal, as well as a special license, plus adequate insurance. A widget allows to connect to Blocket
The second pitching StartUp was PriceBeam
, operating in the FinTech market with the goal to support customers reducing pricing errors that often lead to StartUp failures. The company uses „data and science“ to help StartUps do it right. PriceBeam wants to disrupt the price consulting industry and support pricing decisions not based on gut-feeling or rough guesses. They offer „pricing-as-a-service“ (PaaS), are present in London (UK), Los Angeles (USA) and Stockholm (Sweden) and claim their service increases customers willingness to pay three times.
StartUp Pitch of PriceBeam
The company is targeting product and marketing managers, as well as executives from industries such as consumer goods and services, as well as investments, and are offering their service already in 70 countries world-wide. In order to create a report customers simply have to fill in a form with information on their target market and within one week a market’s willingness-to-pay will be measured and analyzed.
The third StartUp that pitched was Speakerbox
, a mobile broadcasting platform for multi-channel networks. They offer a richer viewing experience and a toolset for influencers to build their own audiences and deliver value to sponsors and media companies. Speakerbox supports content sharing and let production teams live-stream content to an engaged audience that don’t has to be onsite. Speakerbox, based on a new business model (not a Software-as-a-Service), supports native advertisement of production teams’ own brands, e.g., sports teams can live stream without having their own production company, companies such as adidas can promote their brand and create content empires with Speakerbox platform.
StartUp Pitch of Speakerbox
Speakerbox supports ubiquitous connectedness and interactivity, all the time and with everyone – it wants to make everyone being a broadcaster and everyone being able to talk back. It is a toolset for influencers to build their own audiences. Influencers can broadcast from a mobile, a mobile viewing app and a production dashboard.
The final jury decision was in favor of Speakerbox, also because it was „well rehearsed“ and a rather professional pitch.
The best Things come in Threes
As an advice rg team compositions for successful pitches it is recommended to have at least three co-founders – one product expert, one tech and one business model expert; single founders are almost never considered within StartUp pitches.
Although the whole event stretched the planned time significantly we are now looking skeptically forward to a very mixed interactive reality in 2017, wirelessly connected to a smart wall, and chatting with our talking bot in Swahili. We will not waste our time with reading a newspaper. Plug-Out and Pray, so to say. 🙂 Cordial thanks to Prof. Terrence Brown and Serdar Temiz for nudging us.