Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beta Group evening in Brussels

This evening I attended the meeting of Beta Group in Brussels. The event took place in one of the classrooms of the University of Brussels, home of my business school… It felt like a big return to the past since it’s been at least 14 years since I last visited that part of the world and in fact it hasn’t changed on bit… There were five presentations of startups that I found refreshing, not particularly because of the quality of the demos (sometimes too technical, low energy and not that assertive), but because I saw people creating fun stuff and prusuing visions and dreams of their own. Here’s a couple of companies I think are before good market opportunities:

  1. Oxynade, because aggregating the information about events in a way that is clever, usable and relevant irrespective of the user’s device is a growing need, especially if they decide to make the whole thing transactionnal and allow tickets to be purchased and sold over their platform.

  2. Plot Point Prod, because there is a big opportunity in product placement in videos online and VOD, especially during a period of economic downturn when consumers are likelier to stay at home and therefore need to be reached through channels they will use for entertainment. To make their case they very cleverly opened their “Stratag√©mistes” channel on YouTube and I think the entire audience enjoyed watching their stuff.

  3. Proxyclick aka Click ‘n Lunch, because it simply makes sense for a lunch ordering platform to act as an intermediairy to allow caterers to deliver food to people at work and beyond. Their idea to offer a “virtual canteen” is interesting even though the operational challenges must be quite daunting.

During the event I heard someone ask the presenters of the last presenting startup (Seetiz) about Seetiz’s scalability. An interesting question, even though growth is not an objective per se. I think companies are better off making sure they’re great, solid, disciplined, high-quality and fun places to work before they attempt to grow. Growth is a by-product, a consequence of something fundamental: the enthusiastic urge to profitably serve customers in a consistent manner such that they become eager to stick with a company as a supplier. So, the list of this post is not meant to identify potential “high-growth” companies, but merely to say why these three stand out in my opinion.

Definitely refreshing to be spending some time with people who innovate by pursuing their own quests in the wonderful and often mesmerizing world of business.


  1. Thanks for the write-up and deeming Oxynade a company entering an interesting market. We agree :)

  2. De nada Robin. Looking forward to the next opportunity to speak to you.