Betapitch 2012

Last night at the People in Beta Festival we had another Betapitch, where I was honored and delighted to be part of the jury along with Fadi Bishara, Jörg Rheinboldt, Thomas Mygdal and Philipp von Bieberstein.

And boy, was that a series of excellent and sometimes hilarious pitches – the best lineup of pitches I’ve seen at Betapitch yet.

We saw everything from a B2B marketplace for photovoltaics; a social event planning app; an app suite for conference organizers; a much more efficient database processor; and plenty more. Keep an eye on the Betapitch website for details and links.

In the end, we settled for two winners as our scores tied both at the #1 spot:

Go Europe (not web presence yet as far as I can tell) boasts a top notch team, and a big vision: Easily plan your trip across Europe. It’s a huge undertaking given the fragmented European market of rail, bus, air and other transportation.

Solarbrush is a very engineering-focused company with a simple, but powerful vision: Increasing the efficiency of solar panels in dusty and sandy regions (where solar power is biggest) through a robot that autonomously brushes the sand of the solar panels – cheaper and less dangerous than human cleaners, and because it’s dry cleaning it doesn’t waste any water. It’s a clear cut problem and solution, and if they manage to just increase solar power efficiency by a couple of percentage points, it makes a huge difference.

As one participant pointed out at the party afterwards as his unified theory of pitches, “Robots always win”. But even accounting for the robot factor, I never expected to hear a crowd cheering like this for a solar panel cleaning solution.

I’m sure we’ll hear quite a bit about both of them in the near future.