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MLOVE Startup competition – the five hot contenders Written by Marguerite Imbert on 29. June 2012

Last night five startups from around the world pitched to a jury of seasoned MLOVE participants, including myself, Taploid founder Andrew Scott, Ralf-Dieter Wagner from Accenture, Peter Borchers of Telekom and Gabriella Draney of Tech Wildcatters. On the second floor of the castle – hours before the memorial light show – each team presented for five minutes. Here’s how it went down (very, mind you, sweatily. No air conditioning in 19th-century castles!)

10 Stamps: Putting punch cards in your phone


Starting the round was 10 Stamps, a company looking to bring loyalty cards (“get nine gelatos and the last’s for free”) back into business, this time on your iPhone. After the couponing wave took off two and a half years ago, businesses have multiple ways of attracting customers to their doorstep. But how to get them coming back?
These four guys are attempting to solve the issue the fun way – with punch cards your phone can collect so you don’t have to use wallet space for it. A hot market (KeyRing and Koupon Media are doing similar things in the US). Launched at end of January, the company’s attracted thousands of venues (from hair salons to bars and restaurants), so far limited to Germany. Minus points: They’re attracting customers through telesales.

AdZuki Mobile: A new revenue model for the print industry?


Next up was AdZuki Mobile, a company that links digital and print advertisement. It’s helping newspapers in their quest to find a new revenue model by letting them “turn any advertisment into a digital campaign within 60 seconds” with a cloud-based software as service platform. What are they actually doing? They’re reconfiguring the value chain by giving print media a bigger cut of the digital ad revenue than traditional external agencies. They’re taking the QR code away and showing publications how this can increase profits.

People Hunt: A scavenger hunt for people


PeopleHunt is a charismatic Irish startup based in New York City. Their claim? That they can hook you up with some like-minded person in (say what?) less than 90 seconds. Now, this relies that all of the people you want to meet have already signed up, and so-on-and-so-on, but the claim was enticing.

In closed-circuit scenarios (such as conferences), they’re up against the reality that apps are being created for specific events. If they can demonstrate the Amiando effect, there’s a chance this could gain the usership to take off. In a party setting, they get rid of the ineffective host problem, letting you instruct others at the party to “meet me in the backyard” or “under the flag”. For now, they’re trying it out at BMW Guggenheim Labs in Berlin. We’ll definitely keep in touch about it.

Pixengo: Add sound clips to your photos


Pixengo lets you add voices or song tracks (ostensibly) to your photos before sending them. You can use any camera on your phone (from Hipstamatic to Instagram to your native iPhone). The photos get sent to an album where you can enrich them by voice recording. In the demonstration, the founder showed us a picture of a tuba, attached to a recording of the sender playing it. Their pitch sounds a little familiar. They say they’re trying to “unmute your pictures” . All depends on how easy it is to use. But, definitely useful. Particularly for storytellers.

Two Floats’ “Lover Hater”: Sort of like Amen, but not


“Lover Hater” lets you take photos and rate them by whether they’re cool or they suck.The language is unnecessarily buttoned-up. You’re supposed to say whether you “love” or “hate” it. You can push anything to your Facebook page. It’s still in beta. Given the Unlike button on Facebook and the fact that it’s already hard enough for me to use Amen, I’m not signing on to a third image-opinion platform any time soon. Why some people liked it? They’ve developed their own camera app (props) and you literally take the picture by pressing “love” or “hate”. Tourists, anyone?
Winner was 10 Stamps!

For related reading, check out

MLOVE founder Phillip von Roeder’s thoughts on conferences
Tech Open Air Conference gathers funds on Kisskissbankbank
15 Ways to Make Your Next Tech Conference Cooler