Category: StartUps


Alvin Wang Graylin about Mobile Search in China

Minfo is the leading mobile / wireless search platform in China. Alvin Wang Graylin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Minfo. They started four years ago and have already reached over 13 million users. They have just signed a cooperation with China Telecom to be the exclusive mobile search and mobile advertising provider. This will give Minfo access to over 350 million China Telecom subscribers, over 100 million with mobile internet access.

Alvin told me about the differences to Internet-based search and how the satisfy the mobile users. Mobile Search is not entering one keyword and get a list of links back, it is more about answering one question. Minfo is offering SMS-based and Mobile Internet based services. Searches via mobile web are taking around 50% of all searches (and 50% via SMS), but is increasing rapidly. They developed a semantic search method and support several languages.

Here is the Video Interview filmed at the Monaco Media Forum 2008:


Where do all the Fotos go? Flickr vs. Facebook.

If you talk about a Foto-Community, you might talk about Flickr. But things are changing and Social Media is changing the way people use their content.

Flickr and Facebook launched in February 2004, but facebook kept its platform only for a closed user-group. In Mid 2007 facebook opened its platform to the public and the success story of facebook began.

Flickr reached 2 billion fotos in 2007 and now hit the 3 billion mark in 2008. The quality of fotos on Flickr is great and a lot of professional fotografers us flickr to publish their fotos.

On the consumer generated content side, facebook is growing rapidly. Within the last two years Facebook has become THE biggest Foto-Community worldwide. Its Foto-Application is one of the most favorite application. A year ago there had been 4 billion on facebook, today there are more than 10 billion.

Facebook Statistics
3 billionth Foto on Flickr (see comment)


Twine, a Web 3.0 platform, is now open to the public

Twine is a smarter way to keep up with what you’re into.”

Collaborate, manage, organize and share information using Twine, a Semantic Web or Web 3.0 service created by Radar Networks.

I am testing Twine since June 2008. The theme oriented “Twines” (Groups) are very useful to share ideas and save important information on one place. Yesterday they opened twine to the public.

I created three Twines with already over 60 members and I would be happy if you join and share your links and ideas:

Twine: Digital Conversation & Social Maps.

Twine: Marketing 2.0.

Twine: Ahead of Time.


The Top 20 of Social Networking Platforms

Top 20 Social Networks - August 2008

Here are the latest numbers of the Top 20 Online Social Networks.

Besides the well-known platforms like MySpace or Facebook there are some important trends and changes happening right now.
Elsewhere in the social networking space, Facebook continued to narrow the gap on MySpace, a trend we also noticed last month. Unique visitors to the site grew to 38.2 million, representing a more than 10% month-over-month increase and a 100% jump year-over-year. MySpace saw 61.3 million unique visitors – up slightly from last month, but still essentially flat compared to the same period last year. And business network LinkedIn grew 146% year-over-year to 10.8 million unique visitors.

Twitter is apparently growing rapidly. According to stats just released from Nielsen Online, Twitter recorded 2.3 million unique visitors in August (US-only), an increase of 422% from the same period last year. Moreover, visitors to Twitter spent 55% more time on the site on average – a total of more than 7 minutes per user. Those numbers point to rather robust growth for the site, especially considering many of its most rabid users access it through a third-party client like Twhirl or Tweetdeck.


The Ultimate Electro-Driving Experience

Monty with the new Tesla RoadsterThis week the brand new Tesla Roadster created by Tesla Motors was in Munich for exclusive test-drives.

The electro-roadster has enough power to race with a Porsche 911. The Tesla shows his 250 horse powers in an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 second. With a reach of over 400 km it is the perfect sports-car for a trip to the bavarian alps.
Tesla Motors has already over 1100 reservations (and down-payments of 50.000 USD) in California. In Germany they will first offer a signature series limited to 250 cars delivered in 2009.

While George Clooney is already driving his Tesla in Hollywood (he was the first customer), Arnold Schwarzenegger will get his electric Roadster next month as the 10th customer.

Tesla Motors is creating huge attention and plays an essential part for the way to an emission-free future.

Tesla Motors develops and manufactures electric vehicles with exceptional design, performance and efficiency, while conforming to all U.S. safety, environmental and durability standards. The Tesla Roadster is the only highway capable production electric car of any kind for sale in the United States. With a 0 to 60 mph acceleration of 3.9 seconds, a 13,000 rpm redline, and the fastest top gear acceleration of any production car tested by Car & Driver magazine in 2007, the Tesla Roadster is unique in providing super car performance, zero emissions and extraordinary efficiency. For more information, visit


The Future of TV Shopping, T-Commerce?

Two intersting new Video-Shopping Portals:
– The Talk Market

What do you think about shopping like this?


Current Demographics on facebook in Germany

facebook logo facebook demographics in Germany
Status: June 30th 2008

Total User in Germany: 622840

0-18 Years: 68500
19-29 Years: 405600
30-39 Years: 115.580
40-49 Years: 21.480
50-59 Years: 5.400
60+ Years: 5.140

We filtered these numbers via Via: Facebook Ads.


Location Based Social Network “Plazes” acquired by NOKIA

What a great news today:
Berlin, Germany based Plazes, a location based social network, has been acquired by Finland-based Nokia, the companies are announcing today. The price is not being disclosed.

Congrats to Felix and his whole team.
I invited Felix to speak at our “Trend Slam” Event in Munich (see, where he found one of his VC Investors.

Read the full announcement here:


UEFA EM 2008 on IPTV platform JOOST

UEFA EM 2008 on Joost.

It’s one of the most exciting tournaments of the summer.
The quarterfinals of Euro 2008 begin tomorrow. Of the 16 qualifiers, only eight will go on – and some powerhouses will be notably absent.
From now until June 29, we’ll add twice daily recaps and previews of these hotly contested matches from the Magazine.
If you just can’t get enough, or want to relive any of the action, you’ll be able to catch up on all the best football and more until the end of July.
Get your football fix now.


Twitter is growing rapidly

Twitter is growing 30.5% per month, soon attracting 2 million visitors per month.

The Twitter competitors Jaiku and Pownce are much smaller.

You don’t know Twitter, yet.

Here is a very simply explanation of the system and why people use it…


Ahead of Time: Israel.

Israel is considered one of the most advanced countries in the Southwest Asia in economic and industrial development. The country has been ranked highest in the region on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index as well as in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. It has the second-largest number of startup companies in the world (after the United States) and the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside North America. In 2007, Israel had the 44th-highest gross domestic product and 22nd-highest gross domestic product per capita (at purchasing power parity) at US$232.7 billion and US$33,299, respectively. In 2007, Israel was invited to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which promotes cooperation between countries that adhere to democratic principles and operate free market economies.

Ahead of Time: Israel.

Despite limited natural resources, intensive development of the agricultural and industrial sectors over the past decades has made Israel largely self-sufficient in food production, apart from grains and beef. Leading exports include fruits, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, software, chemicals, military technology, and diamonds; in 2006, Israeli exports reached US$42.86 billion. Israel is known for its development of cutting-edge technologies in software, communications and life sciences. This developement have evoked comparisons with Silicon Valley. Intel and Microsoft built their first overseas research and development centers in Israel, and other high-tech multi-national corporations, such as IBM, Cisco Systems, and Motorola, have opened facilities in the country. In July 2007, U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought an Israeli company Iscar, its first non-U.S. acquisition, for $4 billion.

Silicon Wadi is an area with a high concentration of high-tech industries in the coastal plain in Israel, similar to Silicon Valley in California, in the United States. In fact, Silicon Wadi is considered second in importance only to its Californian counterpart. The area covers much of the country, although especially high concentrations of hi-tech industry can be found in the area around Tel Aviv including small clusters around the cities of Ra’anana, Herzliya, Caesarea, Haifa, the academic city of Rehovot and its neighbour Rishon Le Zion. More recently, clusters have been established around Jerusalem, with its two new science parks at Malha and Har Hotzvim, as well as towns such as Yokneam Illit in the North of the country and Israel’s first “private city”, Airport City, near Tel Aviv.

Many international technology companies have research and development facilities in this region including the likes of Intel, IBM, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Philips, Cisco Systems, Oracle Corporation, SAP and many more. Because of this, Israel is often referred to as the Silicon Wadi and is known to be second only to Silicon Valley in the level of its innovation and ingenuity. In fact, Newsweek Magazine recently named Tel Aviv as one of the world’s top ten “Hot High-Tech Cities”. Intel developed its new dual-core Core Duo processor at its Israel Development Center located at the Merkaz Ta’asiya ve’Meida (Scientific Industries Center) in the city of Haifa. In 2006, more than 3,000 start-ups were created in Israel, a number that is only second to the US.

Ahead of Time: Yossi Vardi

Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s startup guru. For nearly 40 years he has helped to found and nurture over 60 companies in industries that include software, Internet, telecommunications, and energy. At 26, in 1969, he co-founded his first business, Tekem, one of the first software firms in Israel. Vardi was also the founding investor in Mirabilis, which created ICQ, the first Internet-wide instant messaging program. The company was launched in 1996 by his son, Arik, and three friends, and sold to AOL in 1998 for about $400 million. The sale helped open the floodgates for numerous Israeli entrepreneurs.

Today Vardi remains active in investing and building startups, including; Gteko, which was sold to Microsoft; Airlink, which was sold to Sierra; and Tivella, which was sold to Cisco. His expertise has been sought by companies all over the world. He has been an adviser to the chairmen of AOL, Siemens, and Amazon, among others.

Yossi Vardi is inviting creative entrepreneurs to his “invite-only” conference, called Kinnernet, every year. His creative conference is supporting the entrepreneurs spirit in Israel and is one small element why Israel is considered one of the most advanced Hotspots in Southwest Asia.

Article via Ahead of Time.


The German Entrepreneurs Spirit

When you think of creative and successful entrepreneurs, the world looks to USA? Self-made millionaires, Silicon Valley startups and powerful brands. But last week at the Entrepreneurs-Day 2008 at the beautiful lake Tegernsee you could discover a different view. About 200 Entrepreneurs and Investors from Germany and Switzerland gathered for a two day conference to exchange knowledge and to talk about collaboration opportunities.

Quote: Reinhold Messner

There was still fog over the peaceful lake when I entered the conference hotel. But suddenly I was surrounded by an motivating atmosphere and the sun broke through the fog. The room was packed with a diverse range of people from young twens up to grey haired seniors. There have been smart technicians who developed new technologies for efficient power-consumption, young internet-geeks who designed innovative web applications, as well as pensioners who are now active Business Angels and supporters of young enterprises. But I soon realized that all participants shared something in common: The Entrepreneurs Spirit. This spirit consist of three key elements:
Curiosity to do things differently and to develop the future,
Passion to motivate other people and their team
and the Love about their work and what they do everyday.

The program consisted of a variety of successful Entrepreneurs: Innovative Start-Ups presented their business, Senior Chairmen talked about their experiences, the politician and leader of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP), Guido Westerwelle, presented his view on the dynamics of globalization and finally the famous mountaineer, Reinhold Messner, gave a motivational speech.

Article: Juergen Habichler

So if these people develop the companies everybody is talking about in the next couple of years, what are they working on? And who is really ahead of time?

Jürgen Habichler, Chairman of Cleantech Invest, introduced one major innovation area, called Cleantech. Cleantech is focused on the principle of sustainability and include a wide field of technologies and services, from alternative energy, environment protection to efficient transportation technologies. Solarion develops new ultra thin photovoltaic solar cells and will enter a new market for very flexible and light solar cells while ensuring low production costs. The company ScatterWeb develops wireless sensors for energy management within buildings. And the company PURE trades carbon assets and integrates innovative financial concepts for companies. So Cleantech is definitely a branch to watch closely in the near future.

Dr. Cornelius Boersch, CEO of Mountain Partners AG and Initiator of the Entrepreneurs-Day, is an expert on new media and internet ventures. The conference featured 42 startup presentation. Each speech was limited to 7 minutes and already split the speakers into two group, the experienced elevator pitches and the technology-fanatics who focused on too many details.

One major trend in internet technology is the development of online video. HiClip is young startup who develops white-label solutions for online platforms and websites. They developed a powerful solution for distribution of videos as well as a nice video-player.

Another open market space is secure voice communication. Secusmart is a Spin-Out of Nokia and offers the first practical solution for secure voice calls. Government, CEOs and VIPs can only use huge telephones with many extra equipment to do secure telephone calls via their cell. Now Secusmart offers a cryptographic solution to make any Nokia phone into a secure device.

Unternehmertag 2008 LogoSo the near future will bring us alternative energy solution, new media landscapes and secure mobile communication. These powerful ideas will define and create the trends of the next decades. The entrepreneurs will do their best to make these innovations happen and to establish their technology in the market. So my personal conclusion was, even if the region of lake Tegernsee looked so calm, the Entrepreneurs-Day 2008 was an event where entrepreneurs shared their spirit to create new successful businesses. So you don’t have to travel to the US to find dynamic entrepreneurs, they might be closer then you think…

— — —
Rottach Egern, Tegernsee, April 2008
Article by Monty C. M. Metzger


Samwer Brothers invest in Facebook

Oliver Samwer invested in Facebook.
The german samwer brothers (Picture right: Oliiver Samwer) invested in Facebook.
Rumors say that they bought 0,3% of the company for 60 Mio USD. Due to the big currency gab between Euro and Dollar they “just” invested 40 Mio Euros.
The Samwer brothers will also be strategic partners to build up facebook in europe and especially in Germany.

Reuters says: “German Internet entrepeneurs, the Samwer Brothers, have become the latest new shareholders in social networking site Facebook, Alexander Samwer told Reuters on Tuesday. Samwer said the brothers had taken an undisclosed stake in the company and would now become their strategic partners in Europe.”

Read more on Reuters or Techcrunch.


The digital plaster

Today I found the digiatl plaster.
An Innovation made in England by Toumaz.

Digital Pflaster 2

Toumaz Technology believes that demands on healthcare throughout the developed world are changing. The combination of the global demographic trend towards an ageing population coupled with a sedentary western lifestyle and poor diet is leading to higher probability and earlier onset of chronic disease. Factoring in the growing patient demands for personalised treatment, medicine and services, the result is huge cost pressures on healthcare.

Healthcare information systems in use today were mainly designed to manage acute illness, such as infections and injury, making them ill-equipped to cope with the growing requirement for pervasive monitoring of long-term conditions. With healthcare budgets already overstretched and fewer carers – professional and non-professional – available to meet these increased needs, the forecasted additional demands are simply unsustainable using current practice. A new paradigm is required.

Digital Pflaster 1

Read more…


Croatia Deluxe – my new project

Katarina and I started a small project called “Croatia Deluxe”.
This summer we traveled around in Croatia a lot and found some exclusive location which we want to share with our friends: delicious restaurants, luxury hideaways or hotel and some cool bars.
We are selecting each recommendation very careful and we will add locations step by step.

Give me your feedback….

Croatia-Deluxe Website


Open Social – Google’s Online Social Network

Open Social - Google’s Online Social Network
Google launched its counterproject to facebook – it is called Open Social.

I found a great Review on Marc Andreessen Blog. Here are some quotes:

Open Social is an open web API that can be supported by two kinds of developers:

  • “Containers” — social networking systems like Ning, Orkut, LinkedIn, Hi5, and Friendster, and…
  • “Apps” — applications that want to be embedded within containers — for example, the kinds of applications built by iLike, Flixster, Rockyou, and Slide.

Open Social takes the Facebook platform concept and provides an open standard approach that can be used by the entire web. Open Social is an open way for everyone to do what Facebook has done…

…including Facebook itself, potentially — more on that below.


Car 2.0 – The new Boom of electric cars.

Reimagining the Automobile Industry by Selling the Electricity.
Software industry hotshot Shai Agassi has a well-funded plan to shake up the auto industry with a new approach to the electric car.

Via Business Week and AlarmClock.

Shai Agassi startled everyone at SAP when he left the company. Only 39 years old, Agassi was expected to some day take over the helm at SAP. At his departure from SAP Agassi indicated that he would be focusing on alternative energy in Israel.

The new system will sell electric fuel on a subscription basis and will subsidize vehicle costs through leases and credits.
“We’re basically saying this is just like the cellular phone model,” he said. “If you think of Tesla as the iPhone, we’re AT&T.”

Shai AgassiNow news is breaking that Agassi has raised $200M for his startup called Better Place. The startup has raised $100M from Israel Corp. as well as funding from VantagePoint Venture Partners, a large New York investment bank that wasn’t immediately identified, and angel investors including Edgar Bronfman Sr.

Agassi plans are to shake up the business model for electric vehicles. It will sell or lease electric cars to consumers in packages with monthly service fees (Agassi uses the cell phone plan as an analogy). Better Place will also operate networks of charging locations and service stations. One of the problems with electric vehicles is that you can’t make it too far from your home base before you run out of juice. Better Place stations will just replace your battery so you can get on your way. Agassi plans to pilot the project in a few countries next year and begin mass deployments in 2010.


Google acquires Jaiku

Gratulation and my best wished to Jyri !

Jyri commented the deal:

We’re joining Google because we see big potential in what we’re doing – potential that we want to realize as services that our Jaiku users love, and other mobile and Internet users too. We’re not planning to disappear: you know we use Jaiku to communicate with many of the people that are personally dear to us. While it’s too soon to comment on specific products and our development plans, we honestly believe that together with the engineers who we’ve befriended at Google we can build great new things that we couldn’t do alone.

Via Jaiku:

Google acquires Jaiku.

Jaiku is joining Google. While it’s too soon to comment on specific plans, we look forward to working with our new friends at Google over the coming months to expand in ways we hope you’ll find interesting and useful. Our engineers are excited to be working together and enthusiastic developers lead to great innovation. We look forward to accomplishing great things together. In order to focus on innovation instead of scaling, we have decided to close new user sign-ups for now.

But fear not, all our Jaiku services will stay running the way you are used to and you will be able to invite your friends to Jaiku. We have put together a quick Q&A about the acquisition.

Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen, Jaiku Founders.