To identify the most promising Internet companies in Europe Informilo asked some of the Continent’s most active investors to nominate companies outside their own portfolios. While companies copying existing business models are doing well we chose to spotlight innovative European technologies or business models, from early to late stage. We did not include music and gaming as categories for this list, choosing instead to focus on e-commerce, advertising and media companies since these sectors are a big focus of the DLD conference in Munich January 22-24. Some of the start-ups on this list are well known, others are below the radar but unlikely to stay that way for very long. Below find our picks for the top 25:
What it does: A social shopping game and a fashion discovery platform
Why it’s hot:Winner of Amazon’s global startup competition in 2011, it’s raising a new round from Accel Partners, a backer of Facebook, and New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a backer of Groupon, to expand into the U.S.
Lookk (Garmz GmbH)
London, England and Vienna, Austria
What it does: Platform connecting fashion designers and their fan base. The best designs are selected by fans and then offered for sale to members.
Why it’s hot:Founded in 2009, LOOKK won a Seedcamp challenge in 2010, and in 2011 raised seed capital from Eden Ventures and Carmen Busquets, the savvy investor from Caracas who was a major founding investor in Net-a-Porter. Other investors include 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, Kima Ventures and angel investors Sherry Coutu, Richard Titus and Tom Hulme.
La Plaine Saint Denis, France
What it does: Online, member-only daily discounted sales events for consumer goods.
Why it’s hot: Vente Privee is the originator of the online sales events business model. With an annual turnover that is cresting €1 billion and with 14 million members and a healthy 15% growth rate after ten years in business, it just entered the US market in a joint venture with payment industry heavyweight American Express.
What it does: Made to order designer furniture platform that groups buyers to procure items at lower prices.
Why it’s hot: Growing fast: 40% increase in sales per month. Made.com just raised €7.2 million expansion capital from US-based investors Level Equity and Brent Hoberman’s PROfounders Capital. The money will fund expansion to the US.
What it does: Online retailer of gifts and affordable art from leading museums and galleries
Why it’s hot: Culture Label is creating a new category in ecommerce and merchandising. Customers include Amnesty International, Saatchi, MiMa and the British Houses of Parliament.
What it does:Easy-to-use ecommerce and social shopping platform for retailers of all kinds
Why it’s hot: Three young founders with a track record at Stardoll and IdentityWorks (branding agency) are setting out to simplify online shopping. It shares an office with two hot startups — iZettle and Wrapp — both of which are backed by Creandum.
What it does: Online ecommerce platform for crafters
Why it’s hot: Founded by Alex Circei, the Romanian serial entrepreneur with a flair for creating successful and award-winning ecommerce ventures, Storebeez is one of nine recent graduates of the Oxygen Accelerator in London.
What it does: App-based digital gift card platform.
Why it’s hot: A multi-billion dollar addressable market and an all-star founding team, hailing from Rebtel, Spotify, and Groupon, and including the former CEO of H&M, enabled this Swedish startup to raise €5.5 million in venture capital after only a couple of months of activity in Swedish market. The investment brought Niklas Zennström in as a board member.
What it does: Fast delivery of retail purchases made online or through mobile devices.
Why it’s hot: Shutl, which was seed funded by Hummingbird Ventures and business angels, aims to revolutionize delivery of consumer goods purchased online by couriering items directly from high street stores to consumers in seven cities in England.
What it does: Online eyeglass retailer
Why it’s hot: Just three years old,Mister Spex , which is now active in Germany, Spain, the UK and France, has estimated annual revenue of about €20 million, far more than U.S. clone Warby Parker.
BlablaCar (formerly Comuto)
What it does: Car-sharing platform
Why it’s hot: The French company has attracted 1.3 million users in three regions, with 100,000 more per month signing on.
What it does: Mobile platform for hailing Black Cabs in London and paying fares by credit card
Why it’s hot: Hailo claims the largest single-city smartphone taxi driver network in the world, with more than 10% of London cabs signed up. More than 100,000 consumers have downloaded their taxi booking app since launch in November 2011.
What it does: Payments platform allowing consumers to pay for items after delivery.
Why it’s hot: More than 12,000 online merchants use Klarna’s platform. It enticed Sequoia into making a rare investment in a European venture and should achieve revenue of €84 million in 2011. In December Klarna announced an additional €117.5millionroundoffinancingtodevelopnewgeographicmarkets, andtoexpeditegrowthinexistingmarkets.Withthisroundit expandsitsinvestorbase,addingDSTGlobal,foundedbyRussian investor Yuri Milner, and late stage investorGeneral Atlantic Partners.
What it does:A fee-free platform for e-billing and payments
Why it’s hot: With a growth rate of 60% a month, this Danish-born venture recently raised €13.42 million to expand the business. It is now active in 190 countries; customers include the EU’s new procurement platform, as well as the UK’s National Health Service.
What it does: Online takeaway food platform
Why it’s hot: A Danish start-up backed by top-tier investors, including Silicon Valley’s Greylock, Just-Eat has acquired seven smaller rivals and is entering a joint venture in France to boost its sales and geographic reach.
What it does: Zeebox offers web, iPhone and iPad apps to connectuserswiththeirTV-watchingfriends,sotheycanchat,shareandtweetaboutwhatever’son.
Why it’s hot: One of the first companies to figure out how to capitalize on the fairly recent consumer habit of watching TV while using Facebook and Twitter.
BSkyB liked the idea so much it acquired 10% of Zeebox, which was founded by former BBC technology executive Anthony Rose.
Tel Aviv, Israel
What it does: Developer of a video plug-in for blogs and other media platforms.
Why it’s hot: Launched in 2009, the start-up says 31 million videos have been viewed on its platform to date. Raised seed funding from French super-angel fund Kima Ventures.
What it does: Internet music video channel
Why it’s hot: Offers music videos 24/7; its four million users can create their own video mixtapes. TapeTV also broadcasts live concerts and other events. Revenue is reportedly €20 million annually.
What it does: Platform for managing, serving, and selling original video content.
Why it’s hot: Second-fastest-growing media company in Europe according to the GP Bullhound 2011 Media Momentum List. One of four “Cool Vendors in Media” in a report by Gartner Group in May 2011.
What it does:Social app to manage and share the highlighted content of ebooks. It supports iPad and Kindle formats.
Why it’s hot: Readmill is pioneering ebook social applications. It hit the ground running long before launch in December 2011, with an investment by SoundCloud founders and Atlantic Ventures, followed by Passion Capital and Index Ventures, the same VC fund that backed and profited from last.fm.
Whatitdoes: eDocument management application for university students and researchers with social networking features.
Whyit’shot: The founders aim to outdo existing bibliographic management tools. It is now endorsed by dozens of Ivy League and top tier universities in the US and Europe. Investors and advisors include high-profile angels that made their fortunes with Skype, Last.fm, and Warner Music.
What it does: An add-on for Twitter to support chat (instant-messaging )
Why it’s hot: Based out of White Bear Yard, Stefan Glaenzer’s incubator, the founders of bonfire.im have already founded three start-ups between two of them. Bonfireadds presence to Twitter, contributing to the move away from IM-specific services like MSN Messenger or AOL’s Instant Messenger. It uses its own chat infrastructure so the service works even if tweets are delayed.
What it does: Filtering and data mining software that targets social media.
Why it’s hot: Datasift enables companies to track and filter trending topics, sentiment and geolocation data from Twitter, for a variety of business uses. It recently raised €4.7 million funding from IA Ventures and GRP Partners and established data partnerships with Lexalytics and Klout.
What it does: Social video advertising: UnrulydistributesvideoandrichmediaformatsacrossplatformsincludingYouTube,Facebook,Twitter,premiumpublishersites,influentialblogsandmobileapplications.
Why it’s hot: Unruly has excellent “social” skills that it applies to marketing video clips. Since its launch in2006, Unruly has worked on more than 1,400 campaigns for many of the world’s biggest and brightest brands. It also created a new authoritative Top Viral Video chart, whichitdescribesas”theworld’slargest,mostcomprehensivedatabaseofonlinesocialvideos. The chart is used by major media outlets.
Palo Alto, Calif.
What it does: Online display advertising innovator with its own predictive engine.
Why it’s hot: Now a Palo Alto start-up backed by the Bessemer Ventures, this France-founded business serves up more than 50 billion ads for its 1,000 ecommerce customers, to help them increase their post-click sales. Criteo is generating annual sales of €157 million. The company says 98% of the marketers that try the service convert to paying customers.