Vodafone begins €225k search for mobile internet start-ups

28 Apr 2011

Global mobile network player Vodafone has kick-started a €225,000 pan-European search for the most innovative mobile internet start-ups.

The search began last night with the launch of Vodafone’s annual Mobile Clicks competition at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam. The closing date for entries is midnight BST 12 June.

Already known as the biggest start-up competition of its kind, this year’s Vodafone Mobile Clicks is open to seven markets.

Any start-up in Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Turkey or the United Kingdom that has a mobile site, service or application can compete for the €225,000 prize fund by submitting entries the competition’s website.

Judging will take place over three rounds. Firstly, each competing market will draw up a shortlist of their five best submissions, then a local winner will be selected. Lastly, all seven local winners will be invited to represent their country in a live final at the PICNIC festival in the Netherlands on 15-16 September 2011, where the overall winner will be chosen.

Mobile Clicks judging

This year’s high-profile judges include Pat Phelan, director of product and innovation at Cubic Telecom, Prof Desmond Fitzgerald, VP for research at UCD, Rudy de Waele, founder of Mobile 2.0 Europe and dotopen; Peter Barry, head of VC and Start-up at Vodafone Ventures; Paul Jozefak, managing partner at Mobile VC; Reshma Sohonj, partner at Seedcamp and Lee Epting, director of content services at Vodafone Group.

Each judge will score entries based on certain criteria: originality, creativity and innovation; technical and operational feasibility; economic and financial viability; value to end-users; and finally, the quality of the management team.

Vodafone Mobile Clicks is a Vodafone initiative designed to accelerate innovation in the mobile internet sector across Europe.

Last year’s Vodafone Mobile Clicks winner was Cardmobili, a service that allows customers to replace their points, membership and loyalty cards with a mobile app. Customers simply have to show and scan their mobile phone when required, and the card’s information is stored both in the cloud and on the mobile phone, syncing after every use. Since winning the competition in September 2010, Portugal-based Cardmobili has launched its service on Windows Phone 7, translated it into French and Spanish and also seen its user base increase by 80pc.

“The ethos behind Vodafone Mobile Clicks is to empower ambitious, young start-ups to develop their ideas and accelerate them into market. Since launching the competition in 2008, we’ve been able to extend our reach year-on-year and, with the addition of three further markets this year, Vodafone Mobile Clicks is now a truly international contest,” said Lee Epting, director of content services at Vodafone Group.

“Every year we are impressed by the wealth of exciting and innovative entries developed by the start-up community, and I’m looking forward to seeing this year’s entries, which I’m sure will be no exception,” Epting said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years