I was delighted to be invited back again to Techchill for a second time. Last year my involvement was more reporting and moderating on a panel but this time its great to get more time at the actual event and only reporting.
Last night, after a blustery, sideways landing into Riga (amazing piloting from the Ryanair pilot) and settling into my hotel room in the Old Town part of the city and I began researching the people that had already arranged to meet me through the networking app for the first day.
Talque to TechChill
This year at Techchill they are using a tool called Talque to help attendees arrange meet ups and networking. It gives you full access to attendee profiles, arrange meeting points and times and it has an excellent messaging facility system as well. I personally have been using it to arrange to meet people for interviews and firm up locations. I have found it to be excellent tool with great connectivity through a free phone app or on the laptop and it updates instantly.
Clive had travelled to TechChill from the UK to find new users of his prototype MyKA (My Knowledge Assistant).
His innovation will change cloud based “searching” to finding. He describes it as a “knowledge engine”. Clives’ immediate target market at this stage would be Journalists and Edtech but this technology can be utilised to any sector and he wants to start here first.
This cloud-based technology is focused primarily on open data sources like Wikipedia and websites such as Data.Gov.ie and it is primed for fact checking and sends you alerts when your current/past source has updated their information. This makes it very unique to current sources of fact checking, where a human would need to remember to do it. They see this as a digital data library that can offer instant information and analytics.
How it works..
You pay an initial subscription and the programme is embedded into Word, Microsoft Office, Intranets and websites and it mines the data and then it marks where the content was found. This means you can identify your source at all times. He likened the idea and premium to Netflix. This source of fact checking is an ideal tool for journalists.
You can ask MyKA to search for something (in long tail) and it responds in written and speech methods and it also denotes where the information has come from as well. The team at MyKA envisage that this tool will put an end to searching per se. Most of the time when you put a request into Google it comes up with the closest answer. Sometimes it will then go on to “over-answer” and take you off topic. MyKA’s mission is to share, curate, display and analyse data, faster and more accurately than any other model out there.
They are currently looking for investors at this stage but with the hopeful addition of adding some of the larger Irish businesses and state agencies that appear to be in the pipeline, this could be quite an energetic startup. It has big dreams and a team of analytic based (not) nerds (I quote). I feel that once they get the support they need it will be picked up very quickly.
Feeling out the Venue
After my chat with Clive, I walked around the venue for a while familiarising myself with the new layout of the event. The emphasis this year seems to be more on sitting down and making time to talk. The attitude here at Techchill is very relaxed and informal and with soft chairs dotted around making conversation and networking easier by far.
With the well lit, main ground floor area as the startup section, it makes for unrelenting opportunity to meet up with investors and if necessary transfer their conversation to the Deal Room or indeed the Karma VC room which are both quieter and more formal.
After a few photos and listening in to some of the conversations going on in the main stage areas, I returned to the top floor to meet up with my second meeting of the day.
QR codes for shopping, its’ been done right? Well yes it has been – but not to its fullest potential. I loved the story of vision I heard from Janis Grislis today.
He was in America last year and saw a young couple come out of a major shopping mall and they were completely overladen with bags of shopping. As they were walking out of the store, Janis saw a large banner promoting some goods within the shop. It dawned on him as he was watching them, that they may have only just spotted that promotion and most likely wouldn’t want to re-enter to take advantage of it. This was where the idea of QR codes came to him. Wouldn’t it be handy if you could instantly purchase something by simply snapping it on your phone and not have to worry about checkout lines and payment protocols? With that in mind he came back to Latvia and brought a team together to make this vision a reality.
This concept was Janis’ and together with Roberts Jurkjan and Olegs Balss back in September last year they moved swiftly from prototype to clients within six months. After unfortunately not sourcing funding in the latter part of 2018, this dynamic team led by serial entrepreneur Janis, decried the lack of funds and bootstrapped their concept and fired ahead anyway.
Only yesterday (20th of February) their website went live and after getting the support and mentoring they needed from ESTLAT Accelerator they now have 3 paying customers from a very wide array of sales pain points that they fulfill.
When asked about uploading QR code readers as an app to facilitate this tool, he reminded me that all iPhones have this function automatically in their onboard camera setting. This was why QR codes can work so effectively for consumers as so little outlay of effort is required. The same facility is a available on Android also, however, you need simply to switch it on in the settings.
The great thing about this service is there is no initial set up costs and only has a 3% per sales cost taken at the point of sale, so no fiddly follow up afterwards. The full service should be ready to launch in its entirety this March so definitely one to watch for 2019.
Working the Startup Crowd
While the startup area at Techchill is a frisson of excitement, I loved the addition of the Swedbank Latvia Startup Haven available to sit in and discuss all they needed to with potential partners and secure those important connections.
There are endless sources of water and coffee surrounding the main startup area to keep the conversation hydrated and caffeinated. There literally were “watercooler moments” during the day, shame I didn’t have the camera to snap them at the time.
I saw one more business / concept owner today. He currently runs a successful business of his own in Latvia but only 6 weeks ago thought of another one that would very much compliment what he does now. He has asked that we not discuss it here in detail yet, but I thought I would demonstrate the level of conscious effort to conduct thorough market research and the thought planning and Beta testing that businesses here strive to do. He came with props, passion and possibility. I hope to see this gentleman again when he makes his dream a reality. This certainly is the event to start it at.
Watch out for TechChill19 Day 2 coming soon….