Cloudy Forecast for the Future!


VPS.net writer Jessica Furseth went to the TechStars Demo Day in London to see how up and coming businesses are harnessing the power of the cloud…

Start-up accelerator TechStars held its annual London Demo Day last week, to a full house and roaring applause, at the Genesis Cinema in Whitechapel. Eleven companies showcased their businesses after three intensive months on TechStars’ accelerator programme.

TechStars runs startup nurturing schemes in six US cities in addition to London. Only about one percent of applicants are approved for the 90-day mentorship experience, which also comes with a $118,000 investment in exchange for seven to 10 percent equity in the company.

Buzzwords on the day included intuitive and adaptive technology, real-time insights, and sleek interfaces. Being ready for mobile was another hot topic. But most prevailing was the idea that cloud computing lay at the heart of every single one of these new companies’ success stories.

Here are four companies from the day who are doing some especially interesting things with the power of cloud…



Online is not the natural turf for a bank, said co-founder Jonas Piela, but Avuba is looking to change that. Unlike standard bricks-and-mortar banks, setting up an account with Avuba’s mobile-first bank takes less than five minutes. You only need your mobile phone number to do it, and if you want a bank card, you just scan your ID. Avuba will go on to integrate with third parties to offer a wider range of financial services, as the plan is to become a platform for financial services across Europe.



It started at the CERN particle physics laboratory for co-founder Mait Muntel, who has taken his background in mathematical optimisation and applied it to Lingvist. His goal is to make language-learning faster, with the aid of contemporary language science. Rest assured, the complexities happen in the back-end, while the front-end of the software is simple for the user, adapting itself to the individual as they progress. The app works across web and mobile, even registering things like hesitation to determine which bits of grammar need extra practice.



No one likes to answer the same questions again and again, but for most companies this has been an unavoidable and time-consuming part of running a business. Enter Pubble, whose software streamlines the Q&A process to create a database of answers. Local authorities, colleges, charities, and small businesses could see their support costs cut by up to 40 percent, said co-founder John Dineen, explaining that Pubble uses natural language processing software to direct people, regardless of whether the question is asked via chat, email, or Facebook, back to previously answered questions on the website.



Having to queue to buy food and drinks at music and sports venues is certainly an area crying out for a technology solution. At least this is what co-founder Richard Howard is hoping, as Shortcut launches an app that lets people order from their seats. Instead of queuing and potentially missing out on the performance, visitors will be able to order via a convenient app, and have their snacks delivered to their seats. Venues should like this too, as the cloud service means they only have to pay for the seasonal months.

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