This week I, along with most of the Paris Startup Scene, will head down to Nantes for a few days. No, it’s not for some arbitrary set of French holidays (that was last week), instead it’s for Web2Day, a 2-day startup conference that gathers some of the best local and international startups and digital businessmen around its lovely city to discuss the web, today & tomorrow. With startups like Clever Cloud (on which Rude Baguette is hosted), Lengow, iAdvize & more calling the city home, Nantes is no stranger to startups, and regularly punches above its belt as a hub for startup activity.
With France’s Prime Minister, the former Mayor of Nantes, currently battling to put a second airport there (presumably, an international airport), Nantes is an exciting city to check out, and it seems this year’s conference will go above and beyond last year’s, which saw Junior Minister Fleur Pellerin, IBM Ventures’ Deborah Magrid & more.
With the event just days away, Web2Day has published the 36 startups accepted into the Web2Day startup contest, which will take place at the Nantes coworking space Company Campus. The list includes quite a few familiar names, like “Powerpoint-killer” Bunkr (we covered their launch earlier this month), the “Google-killer” Qwant (whose search engine was revealed to be powered by Bing), and Dropbox-killer Infinit (whose peer-to-peer ‘cloud’ storage system syncs your files to your computer via other Infinit users’ computers).
The competition features some other familiar startups. Nantes-based social media monitoring service Bringr will be competing, as will Bordeaux-based Dokker, a service that lets you build a resumé out of publications that you’ve written – a Slideshare for white papers, if you will.
Gidsy GetYourGuide Zaarly knock-off Stootie will be there – the team is quite enthusiastic, but the product hasn’t had the traction (or at least, none that they’ve spoken), so I’m curious to see what they’ll have to wow judges.
There’s also a handful of startups I’ve never heard of – always an opportunity to be blown away. Of the 36 startups who will pitch on the first day of the event, 8 of them will go on to pitch the second day in front of the master jury, which includes Patrick Amiel, Corinne Delaporte, Jean-Christophe Dichant, Catherine Barba, Patrick Robin, Cédric Giorgi and Mathilde Christiani.
3 winners will have the chance to network one-on-one with investors on a Giant Elephant. Yeah, that’s no a typo. Nantes is home to a giant mechanical elephant (talk about being rooted in digital, right?), and the Elephant will be ‘walking’ around the event space throughout the two days – the Elephant is about 20 meters high, and can fit about 30 people at a time.
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