In October, we attended an extraordinary event in Vienna – the Startup Week Europe. Its goal was to gather, introduce and put in a contest 50 of the most interesting application startups from the Central and Eastern European region, each of them being present in the market for no longer than four years.
From the various types of applications presented at the event, we have selected three fields which are in line with our own professional spheres of interest. These include: healthcare, education and B2B web services.
The winner of this year’s event – mySugr from Austria, goes a long way towards managing the daily problems of people who suffer from T1 diabetes. The innovativeness of mySugr consists in a state-of-the-art combination of mobile technology and social gaming mechanics fused to tackle a medical problem. The solution enables users to keep their everyday records and calculations in a user-friendly application installed on their iPhones or smartphones. There are four basic types of data which the application can store and process: blood glucose levels, the amount of eaten carbohydrates consumed, the amount of movement and physical activity and the amount of insulin injected. Moreover, the application provides a simplified and thus more convenient method of logging all the important data related to diabetes than the conventional, clinical approach; it is because mySugr provides a wider contextual information as part of each record, which can be traced back at any time. All of it, in an engaging game context. MySugr deservedly won the first prize and, hopefully, it will help win the many daily battles fought by those with T1 diabetes.
DietPoint did not make it into the final ten but, nonetheless, seems worth mentioning. It is a solution for those on a quest to lose weight. The application offers an integrated interface which enables the management of diet plans, a weight-loss forum, meal reminders and many more. It is yet another application which may help the determined ones to stay, or become, healthy and fit.
Among this year’s ten finalists there is also Mykoob, a Latvia-based venture, the aim of which is to facilitate grade and attendance management in K-12 schools. It is another example of a versatile tool which is meant to launch a digital revolution in education, sending the conventional, paper-based school administration methods into the past. Mykoob is able to keep the entire grade and attendance records in one, easily accessible place. It reduces the cost and time needed to collect, process and disseminate the data. Furthermore, Mykoob allows teachers and parents to have better control over the children’s results; the information needed can be accessed at any time, providing a comprehensive overview of the childs’ educational progress..
An extraordinary approach to education is also represented by the Siyov application. It utilizes a somewhat controversial yet intriguing idea of combining educational methodologies with the realm of addictive games. Its goal is simple: to provide the users with a virtual world of riddles which can be solved only by means of knowledge and skills related to real life. Some traditionally-minded teachers and parents might wonder if in this case the end justifies the means.
B2B WEB SERVICES
Finally, the finalist with B2B services – Salespod. Founded in Zagreb, Croatia, this initiative aims at helping mobile workers of various specialties in making their activities more efficient and profitable. It is an advanced field sales and services automation tool which improves the way in which sales representatives, merchandisers, service technicians etc. organize their everyday schedules and communicate with one another as well as with their employers. The application, available on tablets and smart phones, provides advanced functionalities, such as real-time management of schedule implementation or state-of-the-art analytic tools. Salespod is another example of an integrated application which strives to provide the user with a complete workstation within arm’s reach, ready to perform its functions at any time. Apart from the features mentioned above, Salespod also offers the possibility to have full control over the route plans (which can be easily optimized so as to match the needs of a particular user), work orders, time tracking and many more.
The second finalist with a B2B services offering is Quote Roller. This is a smart solution for people seeking an efficient tool for managing offers and proposals. Quote Roller, an application for the iPhone, lets you create and send professionally crafted proposals with which to impress the clients. It notifies you of the client’s activities and integrates with a number of popular collaboration tools. As a cloud-based solution it ensures easy data access and facilitates data exchange between multiple devices and systems.
The Blossom tool is an application which may support those preoccupied with lean product development projects, including tech entrepreneurs and software development houses who serve them. Blossom itself is based upon the rules of simplicity and user-friendliness – the principles many lean / agile developers appreciate in their work. The application GUI seems to be very clean and intuitive and the possibilities connected with its analytical tools and collaboration perspectives have the potential of turning Blossom into a popular app.
Although the applications presented above are meant to serve different industries, they seem to have some common characteristics. They all aim at combining multiple functions in a single, convenient and user-friendly interface. Many are available on mobile devices or developed exclusively for them. They are built with the awareness that the attractiveness of their graphic user interfaces as well as their usage ergonomics are no less important than the functionalities offered. Last but not least, they will need to meet the challenge of scalability if they become successful. Time will tell whether the ventures presented above will be a success in the demanding web applications market.