London and New York start-ups net top prizes in PITCH Awards at Dublin Web Summit

1 Nov 2013

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An iPhone view of a panel discussion taking place on the Main Stage at the Dublin Web Summit this week. Image via Mark Holland (www.markfholland.com)

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Two tech ventures from London, UK (Import.io), and New York in the US (Placemeter), scooped the top prizes in the international €500k PITCH competition for start-ups that ran during the Dublin Web Summit in the Irish capital city this week.

The two overall winners were whittled down from a shortlist of 150 finalists after each of the shortlisted finalists pitched for two days in front of thousands of people, including some of the leading technology pioneers from around the globe, venture capitalists and angel investors.

The overall contest was presented by the cloud services giant Box, with its founder and CEO Aaron Levie judging the €500k competition.

The winners were announced during the Dublin Web Summit at the RDS yesterday evening, just before Levie took to the stage for a fireside chat, and before innovator and serial entrepreneur Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX) wrapped up proceedings during a panel discussion, which also featured the head of the Irish Government, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD.

The winning start-ups

Import.io won the Later Stage Company Award in the PITCH contest, while Placemeter won the Early Stage Company Award.

From its London headquarters and its San Francisco office, Import.io is pioneering technology in order to ‘structure’ the web more coherently. The idea is to make web data more open to everyone.

In all, Import.io employs 16 people.

"We are focused on growing our company and it means a lot to us to win an international competition like this," said Andrew Fogg, co-founder of Import.io.

He said his co-founders David and Matt and the entire team would be "thrilled" with this recognition of their efforts.

Placemeter was set up in New York in 2012. Employing six people, the tech venture works in the big-data space. It has devised technology that aims to automatically extract ‘measurable data’ from live video streams.  

Placemeter’s computer-vision technology is designed to be able to count how many people are walking by, calculate how heavy traffic is and determine what is happening at a location within the visual range of the technology.

“This is a great recognition of our project, which is very ambitious, and validates what we are trying to do – to change the way the community interacts. We are delighted to win this award," said co-founder Alexandre Winters.

For this year’s PITCH competition at the Dublin Web Summit, start-ups from some 90 countries, including Kenya, Bangladesh and Peru, submitted entries.

The US led the way with 16 competing start-ups and Ireland was well represented in third place with 10 ventures pitching during the summit.

Dublin Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave described the standard of finalists as "truly amazing" for the 2013 competition.

"We can’t wait to see where these guys are in 12 months’ time," he said.

Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com