Smart start-ups

Four European technology startups giving the traditionally innovative US a run for its money

Despite being a young nation compared to those in Europe, for the past century America has been the world’s leader in business innovation, with Silicon Valley being recognised as the international hub of technology and enterprise.

This culture of technology and innovation has become inherent in this part of America, and for many years has left Europe trailing behind. However, recent cultural changes and a push in the EU to promote tech start-ups have seen some interesting projects develop. As the Euro Start up awards approach we look at some of the finest ideas across the continent.

Here’s four European start-ups that are paving the way:

Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstram

Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstram

1) izettle.com- Stockholm, Sweden

iZettle is a revolutionary small card-reader that plugs into iPhones, iPads and a number of Android smartphones or tablets. It makes payment by card possible for traders that would otherwise not be able to afford a card machine.

It’s aimed at competing with, the similar product brought out by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, Square.

You hand over your card to the painter – or carpenter or RAG collector – it is swiped through the device, and then you sign for your purchase. The merchant pays a commission of 2.75% a transaction, and the consumer gets to use their plastic rather than cash in new places.

It has been seen by many as a giant progression towards a cashless, and more efficient Europe.

Photo credit: Coal Miki

Photo credit: Coal Miki

2) LikeOurselves.com – London, UK

This unusual web and mobile app allows people to find like-minded individuals with similar interests within their area.

Users of the app are able to choose to submit a profile of individuals that they would prefer to meet in various categories such as hobbies, spontaneous dates, and a range of different activities.

Though it may be a divergence from the traditional way to make friends, users argue that anything that brings the right people closer must be a beneficial service.

It may become a popular destination for people new to a city or university, though on the other side of the coin, it may have the problem of attracting unwanted users that other social platforms share.

Photo credit: Delgrosso

Photo credit: Delgrosso

3) Lengow.com: Nantes, France

Though there are similar companies out there, Lengow.com answers the annoying problem of having to stay in the house for the whole day when you are waiting for a delivery.

The Nantes-based startup offers a web interface that allows online merchants to centralize and track the distribution of their product catalogues on all online distribution channels. Customers can also track their orders online to pin point the exact time their delivery will arrive.

Though in its infancy, the service is now present in many countries worldwide, Lengow’s system is indexing over 68 million products every day and 15,000 feeds on more than 750 supports in the world.

Photo credit: Craig Does Stuff

Photo credit: Craig Does Stuff

4) Storific – Paris, France

A start up that may not be welcome among students in York that hold part time jobs in restaurants, Storific aims to make dining-out easier. This is done by offering Storific mobile-app users the ability to check the menu of the restaurant they are in, and then place their orders whenever they choose without waiting for restaurant staff.

Some feel that this French start-up has the possibility to fundamentally adapt the job of waiters inside restaurants and ultimately make the volume of waiters in restaurants unnecessary.

They claim that the app substantially increases the amount of orders created by one table and is therefore a positive influence on the restaurant’s revenue. It is certainly something that restaurant managers will be interested in taking on if it creases their orders and reduces their cost on wages.

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