On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the global tech world was in Dublin for the hottest tech trade fair of the moment, the Web Summit. Now in its fourth year, the Summit was closed out by a “fireside chat” between Paypal founder Elon Musk and Irish premier Enda Kenny, with a record total of 10,000 attendees from around the globe.
Wednesday night in Dublin was kinda messy, in a free bar-meets-nerd way. Think Mardi Gras for geeks with flashing neon sunglasses and nite-glow cocktails.
“This is an event like no other,” event founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave said. “It is a melting pot where entrepreneurs can share experiences, collaborate on new ideas and have the opportunity to meet people who have blazed a trail in their respective fields, as well as pitch their business ideas to some of the leading investors in the world. In four short years, the Web Summit has become the ‘not to be missed’ event in Europe and has helped put Dublin and Ireland on the global tech stage.”
And you know what? He’s right. It was awesome.
One of the highlights of the Summit are the 1,000-odd start-ups looking to sell themselves to investors.
After two days of trawling the fair, here are our favorite wacky new apps that may or may not become the next big thing. Oh, and to keep you on your toes, we’ve inserted one fake startup. Can you spot it?
Juke. You are a bar owner. You pre-select from a database up to 10,000 songs that you wouldn’t object to being played in your bar, then, when the punters come in, they can choose from the songs on their smartphones. So, a virtual jukebox.
Fonesense.com. Get paid three cents every time your phone rings by simply agreeing to have your ringtone replaced by the jingle of a well-known brand. So, instead of “ring ring,” you get, “Always Coca-Cola.” You get less money if your phone is not at full volume. In tests, users saved approx 5€ a month on their phone bills.
Jomiinteractive.com. A smart water bottle monitors your water intake throughout the day and tells you whether to drink more or less.
AnyBetApp.com. Bet on anything—literally anything—with your friends. The difference being that if you bet that, say, Lou Vega is dead, and he isn’t, you have to pay up because the money is already gone off your debit card.
Beezinga. Imagine for a moment that you are a beekeeper. Good. Now, Mr Beezinga sends you a monitor you put in your hive that uploads hive details: honey production, death rates, etc, to the cloud. Then you can see what’s going on in hives all over the world. It’s Google Analytics for bees.
24sessions. Skype advice. Whether you need therapy, help making jam or advice on how to change a car tire, an online tutor rated by the community is on hand to help you.
We Swap. A social bureau de change with a one percent commission. Matches you up with private people wanting to change money in the destination you are headed to. Don’t worry, you don’t have to meet up and hand over cash—you get a debit card.
ePastor. Need a better Pastor? Vicar going on holiday? Simply hook up your church to Skype, and beam in a more charismatic version, rated by the community.
Carmanation.com. Airbnb for car parking spaces.
Parku. Also Airbnb for car parking spaces.
Inflow. Pocket psychologist. Type in how you are feeling, and this clever app will tell you how you are feeling. It will also tell you how your friends are feeling, provided they have told the app how they are feeling, and if they are feeling bad you can give them a virtual hug. That should help.
DAQRI. 4D program that among other things projects zombies into your Google glasses to encourage you to run faster when training.
Alcohoot. Breathalyser for your smartphone that books you a cab home if you are too drunk to drive.
Choremonster. Makes your kids want to do their chores by allowing them to purchase prizes with the points they accrue. A very fancy star chart.
Funifi. Makes your kids want to do their chores, by allowing them to purchase prizes with the points they accrue. A very fancy star chart.
Le Cab. Sidestep snobby French cab drivers by hiring an iPad-toting chauffeur-driven car.
(Oh, and by the way: ePastor is the fake one.)