The Europas, the annual European Tech Startup Awards, ended last night with a triumphant win by PeerIndex the social ranking service, which clinched the Grand Prix award. The result was based on both public online voting and expert judges, recognising the startup’s significant market traction against a much larger competitor, with less resources and a clear path towards both a big consumer and business market. VC DFJ Esprit offered a £50,000 convertible loan note to the Grand Prix winner on the night.
After 22 expert judges picked their favourites from 400 entries, and those results where combined with approximately 40,000 public votes from the tech startup industry, clear trends started to emerge from those marked out as Winners and those Highly Commended in the awards.
While London once again held it’s own as a crucible of tech startup innovation in Europe, with Conversocial, Pusher, OneFineStay and Mixcloud among those taking honours, there was a marked drift Eastward and North in Europe, as startups from Berlin (Amen, EyeEm, 6Wunderkinder) and Belgrade (Nordeus) won their category or were Highly Commended, while companies from Copenhagen (Podio), Stockholm (iZettle) and Helsinki (Rovio, AngryBirds) showed that European innovation remains strong even in smaller countries. Bucking that trend to the North was Busuu from Madrid which won the Education category, showing that tech entrepreneurship is alive and well across the breadth of Europe.
A packed crowd of almost 500 people started their evening with a short welcome video recorded by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who encouraged startups to set up operations in the city.
Speaking personally, I think it’s now beyond doubt that European tech startups can punch out to a global market directly from a European base. While Silicon Valley remains the leviathan of the industry, tech startups from Belfast to Belgrade, London to Ljubijana, are grabbing the opportunity to reach global markets with world beating products and services.
Below is a full listing of the awards winners. Further down are some photos from the night and here. Including me arriving on a Harley (hell, you gotta do it once, right?)