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The Europas Preview: Examining SketchFab, BlaBlaCar

The quality of start-ups shortlisted for tonight’s Europas just goes to demonstrate the booming European technology scene. The vast differences in culture, language and business across the region leads to a huge variety in technical innovation which is well represented across the 22 different award categories.

Based on the positive response from my look at Wooga and Lyst, let’s throw the spotlight on a few more of Europe’s great success stories ahead of the party.

Sketchfab - Dyn - Europas

Nominated For: Best Entertainment Startup (Audio or Video), Lightweight (less than 12 months and/or less than $134,000 USD in funding)

The internet was a 2D universe until SketchFab created an environment for people to design and view 3D models. The claim that it’s “like YouTube but for 3D files” is backed up by the fact that you can simply embed SketchFab for free anywhere on the web. There are sites that offers ways for 3D makers to display and upload their 3D models but until SketchFab’s founders Cédric Pinson and Alban Denoyel plunged into entrepreneurship, there had never been a way to truly see the models in real space.

Tapping into the collective frustration around CAD visualisation tools, SketchFab is a business that solves a professional problem for designers while simultaneously creating an open platform for anyone to use these tools.

However the story behind the story is around the rapid advancement of 3D printers and scanners, something I’m sure the company is keeping a keen track of. If SketchFab could partner with the key printer manufacturers and provide a 3D download option then they are suddenly sitting in the much converted technology sweet spot that connects software and hardware.

BlaBlaCar - The Europas

Nominated For:
Best Transport, Travel or Environmental Startup, Best French Startup

While this may lose a bit of the Kerouac romance that comes with standing in the rain with your thumb in the air, BlaBlaCar is a safe and effective tool for long distance car sharing. Most importantly, it is a fun name to say.

However, it is not just a frivolous and quirky branding tool, the name comes from the fact that you have to indicate how chatty you are on a scale of  “Bla”, “Blabla” or “Blablabla”.

The site provides a range of features to create a secure, trust-based community with easy connections between drivers and passengers. Features like improved trust and transparency is encouraged with an improved ratings system and mandatory phone number verification. When you’re talking about car sharing, BlaBlaCar is an intriguing option and very in-depth when it comes to helping match up the right passengers with each other.

We’re excited to see BlaBlaCar, SketchFab and more startups at Tuesday’s Europas event. We’ll be tweeting from @DynInc all night long and yours truly will be presenting the Best Culture Startup award.

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