After running open, public voting through end March, NEXT Berlin has announced the 12 finalists that will be pitching at its upcoming conference on March 23rd – 24th. The contest that is, once again, organized in conjunction with Deutsche Telekom’s incubator hub:raum, who added about today’s announcement via representative and jury member Peter Borchers “We are thrilled that so many start-ups have submitted their fantastic ideas and that it is going to be a real international competition.”
The finalist list is very diverse in terms of area of focus, including startups focusing on edutech, traveltech, BaaS, ‘influence engine optimization’, any many more. Geographically, it covers a fairly broad range of European countries, with 3 from Germany (which, not suprisingly has the largest representation), 2 Austria, 2 Portugal, 2 Italy, 1 the UK, 1 Sweden, and 1 from France, Algolia. Algolia was founded by Nicolas Dessaigne and Julien Lemoine, both R&D veterans from Exalead, and as highlighted in a profile we did on them late last year, offer a pretty powerful BaaS (backend as a service) tool enabling developers to deliver Google-like instant search inside their apps. Having generated a bit of buzz upon being selected late last year as one of the 20 participants at Seedcamp Paris, selection as a finalist at NEXT will also give them another bump in nternational exposure. You can learn a bit more about them and check-out their pitch here.
The startups will be competing in front of a top-notch jury which includes Peter Borchers from hub:raum, VC Rob Moffat from Balderton, founder consultant Paula Martilla, Nicole Glaros of the incubator TechStars and social commerce expert and Etsy Country Manager Caroline Drucker. In addition to the increased visibility afforded to finalists competing in the final round, the winner will also go home with a prize package worth €20k that includes prize money and coaching.
We’ll be at NEXT Berlin rooting all the finalists on, and especially Algolia, so tweet us or send us a message on Facebook if you’ll be there as well. As a reminder, we’re also co-hosting with the Digital Club Franco-Allemand a breakfast, a panel titled “How can we build French-German relationships in the digital age”, and networking drinks (sign-up here) during NEXT Berlin. You can get more details on all these events here.