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Four growing European startups to keep an eye on

Loek Essers | April 25, 2014
Europe's startup scene is as diverse as any in the world, and young companies with unique value propositions are expanding quickly.

Europe's startup scene is as diverse as any in the world, and young companies with unique value propositions are expanding quickly.

That, at least, is the view from up-and-coming entrepreneurs at four quickly expanding European tech companies who took the stage in Amsterdam Thursday during The Next Web Europe Conference.

Companies selected to present their business strategies at the conference went through a multistage vetting process. First, conference organizers selected companies based on revenue, website traffic and employee data showing their growth rate between 2011 and 2013.

The organizers then presented a list of five companies each from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, the U.K., France and Sweden to prospective attendees, who were asked to vote on which of the five from each country they wanted to hear talk during the conference.

One of the selected companies, France-based KelBillet, has found a niche in the travel sector by providing a meta-search engine that aggregates a list of travel options from multiple transportation providers on one page. Travelers can select the mode of transportation — like bus, train or airplane — and weigh factors such as cost and comfort. The company also offers a marketplace where people can resell their unused non-refundable tickets.

The service is currently only available in France, but with 1.5 million unique visitors per month, and having generated more than €20 million (US$27.6 million) in sales for its travel company customers, it is looking to expand to other big countries in Europe. KelBillet did not disclose which countries specifically figure into its expansion plans.

Also taking the stage was Showpad, a Belgian startup that offers an online platform and mobile app that aim to align marketing and sales departments to help companies increase revenue, said David Du Pré, Showpad's vice president of sales.

Staff in sales and marketing departments can upload and share price lists and marketing material on the platform. The mobile app lets salespeople, who typically carry tablets, view the data in an easy-to-read format.

Rather than replacing existing sales and marketing systems, Showpad wants to integrate with and add to them, Du Pré said. Showpad's customers include companies like Volvo, Audi and Heineken. While most of its customers are based in the EU and the U.S., Showpad has customers in countries all over the world, Du Pré said. The company charges a fixed price per user per month and offers a 30-day trial service.

Another quickly growing startup is Spanish social gaming company Akamon. It has about 20 million registered users, of whom about 2.5 million play every month, said Akamon CEO Vicenc Marti. The company mainly focuses on Europe and Latin America and will probably break the €1 million monthly revenue barrier this month, he added.


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