FML Blog

From sushi to Twitter fatigue, start-ups are making waves in Europe's media sector

Wednesday, February 25, 2015      Marjolaine Detry      0
The idea for LaterPay GmbH came to Cosmin-Gabriel Ene as he sat in a restaurant trying to decide what sushi to order. As he sifted through his options, he began wondering why he couldn't buy individual pieces of content online in a similar way.

"You pick the sushi you like, collect the little plates and when you’re done, you pay and walk out," explained Ene. "On the Internet you need to pay first, before actually knowing what you are getting for your money."

This realisation inspired Ene to develop the start-up LaterPay, a service-oriented application programming interface that enables content providers to sell digital content at low prices without advance registration or pre-payment. Essentially, it brings the restaurant payment system online.

"LaterPay addresses the problems that users don't like to register and pay for content in advance," said Ene. Whereas generally online payments are completed via advanced registration and the need to provide personal or payment details in advance, LaterPay only requires users to agree to pay for the content at a later date.

LaterPay works by anonymously identifying a users' device after they indicate their readiness to pay for content. Then, LaterPay aggregates purchases across multiple websites, devices and currencies to generate an invoice for payment once an agreed-upon amount, for instance, €5.00, has been reached.

"This means that a reader of a €.05 newspaper article does not need to register and pay for it until he has read 100 articles," said Ene. "[It] allows the user to become familiar with the content before paying for it."

A similar situation led to the founding of another Berlin-based start-up, Tame which is the first context search engine for the real-time web. According to Torsten Müller, the Co-founder and CMO, the creation of Tame was born out of "the frustration of two journalistic co-founders when working with Twitter data."

By taming the information overflow on the social web, "we're saving our users from drowning in the flood of tweets by providing them context through algorithms," said Müller.

A version of this story can likely be found in every start-up: a problem or hole in the market was identified, as well as a way to solve it.

"cloud world was created because of a great business opportunity," said Sven Soltau, the Online Marketing Director for the company, which is a central and neutral B2B marketplace for cloud products and services.

By helping software makers offer cloud-based products to market and sell products online, cloud world is disrupting the way software companies generate leads and sales.

"We generate valuable leads very efficiently," said Soltau. "And by doing so we optimize the marketing investments for software companies."

In comparison, clipkit GmbH, one of the largest online video marketers in Germany and Europe, was founded in 2008 with the goal of bringing together advertisers, producers and website publishers via an easy-to-use video player.

"[We] combine the benefits of a video play, a digital online video marketer and an extensive video archive in one product and offer every website publisher a “carefree” package of content, technology and marketing," explained Marion Linneberg, the Marketing & Communication Manager at clipkit. "A publisher is thus able to use a white label video player, with the look and feel of their site, with matching content from partners like Sport 1, AFP, smash207 or dpa on multiple devices and channels. In the business model of clipkit, revenues are shared between clipkit, video producers and website publishers."

But while it's clear that the innovators are just going to keep innovating, there are still roadblocks to overcome -- which is where the EU could potentially help. Ene, from LaterPay, says that regulation should be limited to allow for more innovation and experimentation.

This sentiment was echoed by Linneberg of clipkit, who said, "As a growing, internationally-oriented company we expect from the EU sustainable, yet fast, measures of promotion and further education in technological fields, especially programming, as well as fewer boundaries for recruiting and employing skilled experts from non-EU countries."

Additionally, Soltau says that clear guidelines for data privacy and data security must be generated.

"Data security and privacy laws are the main stumbling-blocks in Germany for cloud-based software to really kick off," said Soltau.

But while there is still work to be done, there are initiatives that have been positively received.

"The EU is on a good way with the SME Horizon 2020 instrument," said Müller. "Let's see if it works."

To learn more about Berlin's start-up scene, join us on our Start-Up Tour! Meet the innovators of all these start-ups and more face-to-face and focus on what's relevant for your business! More information can be found here.
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