SCB12: Qipoqo Wins Bitcrowd CampChamp Prize

By Silicon Allee |

By Sandy Hathaway at Startup Camp Berlin

Qipoqo, a platform which allows users to barter their services on a quid pro quo basis, was announced as the winner of the bitcrowd CampChamp award on Friday evening. The prize, part of Startup Camp Berlin 2012, includes €40,000 worth of help for the winners.

And it was an impressive achievement – the representatives of Qipoqo had only three minutes to convince a packed room of skeptical entrepreneurs and, more importantly, a stern-faced judging panel as to why they should walk home with the award.

Qipoqo is a new way of bartering for services instead of paying cash for them. Users put a value on something they could offer, like helping someone move, hanging pictures on a wall or weeding a garden, and then accrue points for performing these services. They can then redeem these points for services that they in turn need. Its unique selling point is that the points are redeemable with anyone else on the network.

And to the delight of Celine Schmahl and Saskia Sefranek, the Barcelona-based Germans who pitched the idea, Qipoqo was judged to be the best out of the nine startups. The girls were still bubbling over with excitement when Silion Allee caught up with them immediately afterwards.

Celine said: “We are completely overwhelmed, proud of course, but we are very confident in the business model and in the team. We would like to thank Startup Camp Berlin, because the pitching training yesterday was very helpful, and definitely gave us an advantage. It made us aware of the need to restructure our message.”

Saskia revealed what they were going to do next: “Step one, celebrate! We are going to have a lot of fun at the Startup Camp party tonight. Secondly, we are going to tell everyone who has supported us that we made it thanks to them. We would especially like to mention Ivo Vasilev, founder of Bulk Labs. He got really excited about our idea when we first told him, and he really motivated us to move forward, and he advised us on our business model and what changes to make. We won because of his help. Third of all, we are going to get working…”

Qipoqo pitched eighth out of nine, and in the running, here are the other eight:

Skach: A new kind of chess game where cards introduce an element of randomness to intermittently decide how chess pieces must be moved. The idea is to increase the complexity so that masters will feel challenged and amateurs will have a chance. It would be downloaded to smartphones or computers so that players can engage online with enthusiasts around the world.

Crowdspan: An online peer review platform which will link to Facebook, identify the influencers amongst your friends who you regularly turn to for specific topics and get the advice you prefer, delivered to you by people you are likely to agree with depending on the context. Have a friend who always knows the best restaurants serving the kind of food you want to eat? Crowdspan will find those people as well as the people that those people turn to for restaurant recommendations and create a peer group that you can query at any moment on where to go.

Jamanised: For those who love a unique twist on a fruity, savory or boozy spread for their breakfast bread, Jamanised offers an online platform to customize your dream choice to be delivered to your home. Astonishingly, the market for jam in the UK is already more than £160 million (€192 million).

Klash: A presentation that began with pictures of naked people running across football fields to the horror and pleasure of a packed stadium. The idea was revealed to be a way to challenge – or rather play truth-or-dare – with users. It was presented as a new way brands can engage audiences, and ultimately utilize customers as billboards to their networks.

LiveCollege: A peer-to-peer collaborative learning network to connect teachers of common and niche subjects with students eager to learn from them. The motivation to use this platform rather than have the experts establish themselves was described as a value in bringing more and greater audiences and visibility.

LouLouBox: Presented by a team of passionate mothers with a concrete vision, this is a customised kit that can be made-to-fit for your family, containing exciting and easily usable age-appropriate activities for kids.

Spitzeljagd: This pitch revealed a concept that would offer real life challenges to gamer-crazed enthusiasts, delivered via smartphones and paired with vendor-investor promotions.

UI-Check: A service offered to help companies test the user interfaces of the software they are developing with a crowd-sourced feedback group that is always available.