IoT Stars is a high-profile pitching event for Internet of Things startups during Mobile World Congress and I had the pleasure of serving as a judge.
If you’ve ever watched “Shark Tank” on TV in the United States, then you’ll have a good idea what this event is all about. IoT Stars is put on by Marc Pous (CEO of theThings.io) and Rudy De Waele (Futurist) and hosted at the Estrella Damm brewery in Barcelona.
My fellow judges included Francesca Bria (CTO City of Barcelona), Rob Van Kranenburg (Founder of IoT Council), Rosalia Simon Navarro (IoT Smart Cities Director at Telefónica) and Anthony Charbonnier (Startups at Sigfox).
We listened to pitches from six IoT startups and peppered them with questions about technology, uniqueness of ideas, business models and product-market fit. The startups we heard from included:
- CHARGIFI (Wireless Charging)
- FLUIDRA CONNECT (Internet of Pools)
- KOLIBREE (Smart Toothbrush)
- SMART PLANTS (Machine Energy Savings)
- U-SMART TOYS (Large Interactive Toys for Playgrounds)
- MOODNODE (Smart Home)
We heard lots interesting ideas, but in the end our jury had to come together and pick one we thought had the most promise.
In the end, we selected Barcelona-native U-Smart Toys. They have a goal to get kids to put down their game controllers and get back outside. Their touchable, connected, gamified outdoor toys look right at home in a playground and get kids moving in a manner reminiscent to the Pokemon Go phenomenon.
It was a great event with innovative new IoT startups and plenty of time to network with a packed house of executives, entrepreneurs, developers, influencers and the press.