Netexplo Digital Start-ups 2014: a brilliant vintage!

by Nicolas Bry

Everyday I feel gifted to live in Paris. But some days are exceptional, and the Netexplo event is one of them. I don’t know any event which compares to the worldwide digital symphony that Netexplo plays, collecting trends and gathering start-ups from every continent.

This year again (last year results here), I was amazed once more by the diversity of the awarded start-ups, and impressed to meet in real life outstanding personalities such as Juliana Rotich, co founder of Ushahidi and Brck, Nicolas Shea, founder of Start-up Chile, Dominique Buende, founder of Quick Do, and John Matherly, whom I introduced on stage to present his IoT search engine, Shodan. Those people are true leaders: when you chat with them, you feel boosted to go, and develop your own autonomy.

I believe next year, Netexplo could benefit from having a ‘demo corner’ where start-ups could showcase their value proposition, and be available for networking, and  business opportunities.

What are 2014 digital trends?

Our world is being overwritten by digital: we are 7 billions of humans beings, and hold 6,8 billions of mobile devices. Internet connection is expanding, leveraging bold projects such as Google Loon Balloons or Titan Aerospace, sustainable development ties to tech with Global Forest Watch, forest watch crowdsourcing, education finds a new momentum with MOOC alike Coursera and Kahn academy, underlines Neteplo chairman, Thierry Happe.

Video is the new web grammar, as exemplified by success of Instagram, Snapshat, images shared on WhatsApp or Selfies propagation. But Julien Levy, based on a review of 100 start-ups coming from the four corners of the world, digs in into emerging trends : deriving from data processing, they impact progressively our space, body, and behaviours.

  1. Our space is quantified by data capture coming from connected objects (IoT), data crowdsourcing, and data vizualization: Clic and walk, Shodan, Flutura, RoboEarth , Jelly, Wibbitz,  and  Age reduction act in this domain. Other start-ups transform our relationship with space, and create new dimensions and perceptions, like Scentee, Digital Lollipop, inForm, Sono id2studio, Mobike3dscanner, Omote 3d scan, Opendesk, 3D printed batteries, and Contour Crafting imprimante;
  2. Our body is measured on multiple aspects. Several apps display analysis and trigger call-to-actions accordingly: Breathometer, Peekvision, Smartdiapers, Cryanalyzer, Owlet Smart Bottle, OMsignal, Melon, Parkinson voice initiative and Electronic tatoo (from last year), Moodies, Simsensei. Somme innovations turn our body bionic: Password Pill by Motorola, Smart Tooth, 3D printed bones, Skinprint, Neurocam, No More Woof (dedicated to dogs), and RoboRoach;
  3. Our behaviour is assumed to evolve, as suggested by Hapifork,, Stir Kinetic Desk, Hotseat, Soma Analytics, Happify, Menthal, Coffee Who, Sociometric Solutions. Or it can be predicted: Cignifi, Lenddo, Gigwalk, RTMDx, Cidesi Autonomous, Fireme!, Twitter personality analysis, and Liveson (“when your heart stops beating, you will keep tweeting”).

One take-away is that the Internet of things is the new gold-rush: connected devices will be more important than PCs, tablets and Smartphones in a 3 years time, and it is going to change the way we think. A next move wil be to transform connected objects into inter-connected objects, getting more value by crossing the data created.

In a funny and brilliant speech, Dun Stewart unfolded some opinions and true surprises about predictions:

  • Predicted failures are Googleglass and Smartwatches because of a form factor problem;
  • People stop wearing fitness objects after 6 months;
  • Phablet are non practicle, don’t feet in your djeans, still they sell very well. Nobody likes phablet but they are a sales hit, third largest consumer market, why? People have more than one phone, like women have more than one purse!
  • Traditional TV viewing is stable overall, but in Canada OTT TV cuts the amount by one half;
  • 4k will boost Netflix and demand for bandwidth: fiber is welcomed;
  • Consumer entertainment is all about video, peak time, and downstream;
  • Social media is an option for business but it won’t be ten years from now.

To go one step further in the future: 10 SciFi short films collected by Laurent Dupin.

Who are the 2014 awards?

  • Brck (Kenya) providing equal access to Internet, even in extreme conditions;
  • Clic and walk (France), collecting real time data with 50 000 consumers taking pictures, and ingesting comments;
  • Digital Lollipop (Singapore), research project making taste and smell part of the digital world;
  • Jelly (US), asking questions to your social network by sharing pictures;
  • Mobile3dscanner (Switzerland) from Zurich University, 3d scanner on smartphone;
  • Shodan (US), first public IoT search engine;
  • Simsensei (US), prototype of virtual therapist by avatar, detecting depression and anxiety;
  • Skinprint (Netherlands), e-health and 3printing research project for processing new skin;
  • Soma analytics (Germany), smartphone app preventing burnout;
  • Wibbitz (Israel), watch rather than read your newspaper in a short video on your smartphone. Becoming the ‘play button for the web’, whereever your are, watch a short video.

2 additional start-ups-related stories were presented:
  • Dominique Buende from QuickDo (Cameroon) is Orange Social prize winner. He develops a network for publishers and e-reading, disseminating knowledge through digital tech in Africa. He designs BookBox combining a mobile and self-powered mediatheque implemented in universities, cultural centres, bookstores, and a range of dedicated e-readers;
  • Nicolas Shea initiated a peculiar venture, called Start-up Chile: its aim is to welcome startups in Chile, helping them to start their business using Chile as a platform to go global. It created a terrific game play for start-ups, valuating entrepreneurs’ social activities, & building social equity. We will come back to this amazing uptake in a next post.

image credits: Titan Aerospace, Quantified Self, phablet, skin-print_Netexplo
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    future of TV - Leading by InnovatingNicolas is a senior VP at Orange Innovation Group. Serial innovator, he set-up creative BU with an international challenge, and a focus on new TV experiences. Forward thinker, he completed a thesis on “Rapid Innovation”, implemented successfully at Orange, and further developed at He tweets @nicobry

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