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title: TechCrunch Belgium meetup
date: 2008-11-12 18:08:16
updated: 2008-11-24 19:26:19
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<p><a href="/blog/momo8-amsterdam" title="Mobile Monday Amsterdam review">MoMo Amsterdam</a> on monday, TechCrunch meetup in Gent on Thursday and November just started, me likes! <span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Robin Wauters</span></span> and <span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Mike Butcher</span> from <span class="org">TechCrunch</span></span> already started by the time we got there. The concept: 15 sales pitches, 5 minutes each. Not much time to ask questions but it keeps you focused. I will not repeat everything I saw: some concepts I did not understand, some weren't that interesting and others sliped out of my memory after the long weekend.</p>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Toon Vanagt</span> (wearing the typical yellow helmet) presented <a href="" class="org url ext" title="Online marketplace for contruction workers">Casius</a></span>, a website that connects builders to professional construction workers online. Apparently it's hard to find a good craftsman in Belgium so there may be a real need for this. The website doesn't look very professional at the moment, let's hope they update that soon.</p>
<h2>City Live</h2>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Koen Delvaux</span> from <a href="" class="org url ext">City Live</a></span> presented their concept to sell free data subscriptions to students for their mobiles. This would allow universities and colleges to build their own &lsquo;mobile intranet&rsquo; based on the <a href="" title="GLOWE: an XML based file format for creating mobile widgets" class="ext">Glowe</a> widget system. I would have loved to check my schedule on my phone when I was a student. I hope he can pull this off. Wouldn't it be better to include a data plan for their laptops as well (or are there still students without laptops these days)?</p>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn n"><span class="given-name">Patrick</span> <span class="family-name">De Schutter</span></span>
showed <a href="" class="org url ext" title="ContactOffice: an all-in-one online office solution">ContactOffice</a></span>, an office solution in the cloud. I still don't see why companies want their data in the cloud - it's stupid - but it seems most companies don't agree with me. So there may be a need for this kind of webapp but why do you want to compete with Google Apps, Zimbra (now aquired by Yahoo!) or MobileMe?</span>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Sam Desimpel</span> presented <a href="" class="org url ext" title="IntroNiche: an eBay for businesses">IntroNiche</a></span>, an eBay like service for businesses. For example: you need visitors and are willing to give away x free subscriptions for your service. Another site has tons of visitors but is looking for a price for a small competition on their website. IntroNiche could be the platform for those two to meet. Your site gives away a few subscriptions and gets traffic from the other site. As with lots of these ideas it will need a &lsquo;critical mass&rsquo; to take off but I like the idea.</p>
<p>If someone like <span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Dries Buytaert</span> steps on stage you know it has potential. He showed <a href="" class="org url ext" title="Mollom: a comment spam filter">Mollom</a></span>: a spam filtering system for comments. Mollem shows a captcha when it's not sure if the comment is spam or ham. Why didn't Akismet think about this? He explained only 4% of the commenters should see the captcha. Mollem is free up to a certain daily volume.</p>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Niko Nelissen</span> presented <a href="" class="org url ext" title=" Oxynade: a European event database">Oxynade</a></span> which aggregates event information from all over Europe. They have an iPhone app which can show events close to your current location. Nice but I don't think they are the only ones doing this and I didn't really understand what differenciates them from the others like Upcoming. Mobile webapps like this one are especially usefull when abroad and that's exactly where things are going wrong in my opinion. I keep my phone in my pocket as long as telecom operators charge these rediculous prices for data roaming. What we really need for these kind of services is a reasonably priced Europe wide data subscription (like AT&amp;T is doing in the <abbr title="United States of America">USA</abbr>?).</p>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Anthony Belpaire</span> demoed <a href="" class="org url ext" title="tikitag: sells RFID readers and tags">tikitag</a></span>, an Alcatel-Lucent venture that aims to build the Internet of Things with <abbr title="Radio-Frequency IDentification">RFID</abbr> technology. They sell an <abbr title="Radio-Frequency IDentification">RFID</abbr> reader and a few <abbr title="Radio-Frequency IDentification">RFID</abbr> tags that link to online applications. Fun to play with as a geek (not sure if they have an <abbr title="Application Programming Interface">API</abbr>) but not ready for meanstream yet. It will be more useful when most mobile phones have <abbr title="Radio-Frequency IDentification">RFID</abbr> readers built in. Violet is doing something similar with their Mir:ror, nice to see some pioneers developing in this market segment.</p>
<p>Overall it was nice to see the enthousiasm of startups in Belgium, even in this difficult economical climate.</p>
<p><strong>Update <abbr title="20081124">2008-11-24</abbr>:</strong> <span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Mike Butcher</span> wrote his impressions down in a <a href="" class="ext">TechCrunch article</a>.</p>