Four promising tech startups and a €20,000 investment. Last Thursday at Het Kasteel, startups Buku, Tubber, Bondex and RCPTS pitched their company during the first G-Force Pitch Event.
The four startups competed for a €20,000 investment, in a room full of fellow entrepreneurs and investors. G-Force Capital normally invests up to €100,000 in promising tech startups in Groningen, the most recent being tckl, founded by Marc Schriemer. “With this event, we also hope to strengthen and improve contacts between investors and entrepreneurs”, says G-Force fund manager Marco de Jong.
Spotify for books
First up to pitch is Jeff van der Laan, co-founder and CEO of Buku. “Back in college in my first year, I spent a fortune on books. And I only used about half of them. So from then on, I decided to copy books instead, which is what a lot of students do to save money. With Buku, students pay a monthly subscription fee and get access to all the books and course literature they need. We now have a little over 20 educational publishers on board and we’re active in the Netherlands, Curacao and Suriname.”
Textbooks are sold for the same price worldwide, which means they’re simply unaffordable for students in Suriname. “They have to copy them too, which means there’s really no market for publishers. But with our platform, we create a market where there previously wasn’t one and help students there. We want to use the investment to bring Buku to Mexico too.”
Airbnb for ships
Renting a sailing yacht is easy as pie with booking platform Tubber, with over 12,000 boats in over 600 destinations worldwide. “We’re currently the market leader in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and have about €2,5 million in yearly revenue”, says Tubber’s General Manager Tessa van der Valk.
The added value of the platform? “We work directly with boat companies and take care of all the paperwork and insurance. We’re already doing quite well here in the Netherlands, but now is the time to grow worldwide.”
“There’s over 350 billion in savings and with current interest rates, that money isn’t doing anything”, says Daan Ellens. “Bondex is a blockchain based trading platform where you can buy and sell bonds. And because we use blockchain technology, we effectively cut out the middle man, making bonds trading easy and accessible.”
Bondex has worked hard these past two and a half years to develop and build the platform. “We currently have about 700 people interested in using our platform”, Ellens says.
Marc Tuinier of RCPTS thinks the chatbots are future of digital marketing: “A lot of brands offer cashbacks or prizes when people upload their receipts, but they have to be checked manually. We’ve automated the process and developed chatbots to take care of the communication, as well as asking them a few questions to get more relevant marketing data.”
But what about privacy? “We’ve got that covered too. We use safe servers to store the data and everything is anonymized, so we can never trace receipts back to individual customers.
And the winner is…
After careful deliberation, there were two winners instead of just one, because the audience overwhelmingly voted for a different winner than the judges. The audience voted for Buku and the judges chose Tubber as their favorite.