The Best of Rhineland Finals

On By Oliver Thylmann in inside

Henning, Timo, and me have never been ones for startup competitions, especially those you need to pay for, and we still think a lot about the effort involved versus the potential benefit of such events.

After the Cologne Future Award, another award recently appeared on the horizon, namely the Best of X, or more specifically the Best of Rhineland. The pitch conveniently taking place in our co-working space, Startplatz, submission happening via Ambassadors suggesting companies and then voting on the final 8 … We actually had nothing to do but wait, and yes, we made sure we were nominated. You have to do something. Needless to say, we were in the final 8 and pitch day came along.

Photo: Banneyer / EXPRESS

And it was one of the best startup pitch competitions I have seen. Companies were early but good, pitches were well above average, and the invite-only crowd really wanted to be there and proved for great networking. To get a feeling of the atmosphere at the event, check out Google Photos.

On to the final 8. In alphabetical order, here are the startups that presented.

  • AdBlock Plus, one of the most used AdBlockers in the world. Their long term vision of a web full of ads that people like is a strong one though.
  • Evopark, something I desperately want, especially in any airport car park, because through RFID you just drive into the carpark and then drive out again, no paying, no ticket,… very nice idea and could possibly work.
  • Heartbeat One, is gathering data on medical practices to give everyone a better view on the quality of the practice. It would be great for choosing doctors and is not only stupid patient ratings. Watch out.
  • InfanDx, was the odd one out, being really deep in the medical space, with a test system for early infant diagnostics, who did not have enough oxygen during / directly after birth, to decrease infant morbidity. Having three kids, I can fully relate and they need to be successful.
  • manuelONE provides the one app to find all your instruction manuals for electronic appliances. The end of searching for manuals, all of them, there, at your fingertips, searchable, and no second thought about throwing the paper ones away. Three years and there are no more paper manuals in the packages?
  • readfy is the first company that transfers the successful freemium strategy from the music and games industry to the e-book market. The founder (there is no female form of this is there?) spoke so amazingly fast and still without any “ähs” and “öhs”.
  • is a toolbar to allow you to purchase anything in any store with one click. Sounds too good to be true and will depend on them getting users and stores not locking them out. Cool if it works out at scale. Shops will hate them.
  • tift enables staff schedules via algorithm and enables automatically perfect human-resource allocation. Often tried and a real problem for anyone who ever worked in the hospitality business.
  • Tripsuit finds personalized and perfectly matched travel recommendations based on your interests… I think I am too simple for that one, but if they can give me a good suggestion for Croatia I’m in.

As you see, it was a really nice lineup and I have rarely seen that many good pitches. Hence I am twice as happy about our second place. First place went to Heartbeat One, something that would really improve the doctor landscape, getting the best ones bubble to the top. Young team, but they deserve the first stop. Congratulations to them and also to AdBlock Plus for placing third.

We are happy to have placed second against such a strong competition. Additionally, I had some great talks with potential customers, partners, and investors at the event. Thank you Jan C. Küster and KPMG for organizing this great event.

Picture of Oliver Thylmann
Oliver Thylmann
Co-Founder of Giant Swarm, Responsible for all our existing Customers, Compulsive First Adopter, Developer Whisperer and Geek.

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