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LeWeb: the digital world of tomorrow


LeWeb: the digital world of tomorrow

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You have to be less than three years old and have received no more than 1.5 million euros in funding: these are the requirements for any firm wishing to participate in LeWeb’s Startup Competition. This year, 21 young companies from all over the world were given a chance to come to Paris and pitch their ideas. Here are some of the contenders:

Noki is an Austrian start-up, whose founders say keys will soon be a thing of the past. This Bluetooth device can be installed on any door lock with three simple screws. Your smartphone tells the device when you are home and automatically unlocks and opens the door. Access can be shared between several people, and temporary access can be given to others.

Upgrading everyday objects is one thing. But British team CrowdEmotion is trying to make smart devices even smarter by teaching them how to read emotions on your face. From healthcare to marketing, the potential applications, they say, are limitless.

So what is the key to commercial success? Nicolas Brussons is the co-founder of Europe’s leading car-share service, BlaBlaCar: “The thing we must do as European startups, if we want to be relevant at all, is to be European, is to tackle Europe as a market,” he says. “So, today, the thing we should avoid doing is having national consumer Internet companies. So you should not build a German e-commerce company. You should build a European e-commerce company from Germany, or from France, or from anywhere.”

Possibly some good advice for French startup Pilo with its ever-lasting rechargeable AA battery. Simply shake it to recharge it. But it is only suited for devices with intermittent energy needs and in movement, such as remote controls and joypads.

And watch out for trigger-happy phone users near you: Italian firm Proxy42 has unveiled an augmented reality game called Simply attach the trigger to your phone, and you can shoot at real people also taking part in the game using your phone as a window into the game world.

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