That's all folks.

Tech Brew is now an archive site and there will be no new episodes.

Tech Brew Interview with GetSmily – Part 1

David HachezWhat began as a research project in a lab at the Université catholique de Louvain has now flourished into a fresh analytics startup thanks to a meeting of two Davids. One the coder and visual detection specialist, the other the marketer and previous entrepreneur.

In this two part interview, we speak with David Hachez about his latest project, Get Smily, which helps web site owners make much better online experiences by tapping directly into the emotional responses of the users. Emolytics as David calls it.

Dark Sister

Dark Sister

We find out all about the experience of creating a university spin-off, the process and support mechanisms in place for that and just what exactly marketers can find out about how their users feel when navigating their websites.

Then in Part 2, we move swiftly to the question of investment, exits and a different beer.

 

GetSmily – Part 2, “It’s not an exit, it’s an entrance”

La FumetteThis is part 2 of the Get Smily interview with David Hachez. It makes sense to listen to part 1, but … it’s up to you.

In part 1 of the interview we really focussed on the product and the kind of information marketers can derive from emotional analytics. We thought there was a logical break at this point as the questions quickly turned to investment. We also swapped from drinking Dark Sister to La Fumette at exactly the same point.

So in part 1 of the interview, we’d just reached the point where Andrew asked David, “What’s your exit strategy?”. Quite a question for a project that had not at that stage formed a company and had barely launched.

GetSmily Interview

Let’s see what he answered while throwing Elon Musk and sausage flavoured beer into the mix!

Tech Brew Interview with Mustr

Avec les Bons Voeux (Dupont)

Avec les Bons Voeux (Dupont)

Mustr helps PR agencies and companies better organize their network of journalists and bloggers. We welcomed back Raf Weverbergh to tell us more about Mustr and how it works.

Every company and PR agency manages their own lists of contacts, such as the names and addresses of journalists and bloggers. When a company hires a PR agency, the most common way for the company to share their contacts is via Excel. As soon as that spreadsheet is generated, it is already out of date. Further, it is now a challenge to keep the information up to date at both the PR agency and the company. Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview with MuseStyle

TechBrew Ep33MuseStyle.com is a new online fashion platform which helps women identify and purchase the latest fashions. We interviewed Sarah Levin Weinberg, co-founder, about how they got started and their challenges.

MuseStyle was co-founded by award-winning fashion designer Cathy Pill, and Sarah Levin Weinberg, a specialist in digital marketing. The fashion startup aims to “connect women with brands.” To do this, they’ve built an online retail platform and database which is fully integrated with several suppliers.

The MuseStyle platform allows shoppers to browse recent styles identified by any one of a number of “muses,” people who are considered influential in fashion. Once a muse discovers an outfit or accessory they like, the MuseStyle team works at identifying the actual products and brands used and matches them with their supplier’s database. Thus someone, looking at a photo on MuseStyle featuring the latest jacket from Gucci, can immediately click on the image and buy that product.

TechBrew Ep33 interview

The allure of MuseStyle however is they also identify similar products at varying price levels. Cathy and Sarah’s vision is to make fashion accessible to women of all income levels. Even though someone can’t afford the Gucci jacket doesn’t mean they can’t match the style.

It’s really important for founders to know their assets and limits. Make sure the team is full of complementary people. (22m10s)

To bring all this together requires technology and people. They recognize they can’t do it all themselves and have been bringing in team members from various places to fill out their needs. Although they are just over a year old now, they’ve learned a lot in that time.

Saison de Dottignies

Saison de Dottignies (De Ranke) in a FunKey cup!

Sarah shares more about their business, lessons learned, challenges, and much more in the podcast. She also shared her experience with the MIC Boostcamp and how the accelerator helped them. Despite our lack of fashion sense, we enjoyed learning more about the industry and MuseStyle’s place in it. We think you’ll enjoy it too.

We paired this episode with a couple of bottles of Saison de Dottignies from De Ranke Brewery. It was refreshing and the right beer to kick off our mega recording session.  Thanks to the FunKey Hotel for hosting us in their conference room and plying us with coffee. We needed it!

 Get Inspired. Click. And Shop. (28m45s)

Startup Weekend Liège Focusses on Cleantech

This June ( 13-15th ) there will be another edition of the Liège Startup Weekend. This time it will focus on cleantech as its theme.

So do you need to be a specialist in cleantech to take part? No, like all startup teams, a variety of skills are needed and welcome. So the usual array of designers, marketers, coders, lawyers and researchers are welcome to sign up and give it a try.

As it is a cleantech event, the organisers are working with Greenamity to reduce the carbon footprint of the event and we think this is the first carbon neutral Startup Weekend. Sponsorship for the consultancy and offsetting services offered by Greenamity is provided by Comptaline.

What if you can’t attend the whole weekend to work on a project, but you’re still interested in seeing some of the outcomes? Well, for just €10 you can join on the Sunday evening and watch the final presentations and prize giving.

When: Friday June 13 from 6pm – Sunday 15 June to 9pm
Where: HEC Liège, Rue Louvrex 14, Liège 4000
How Much: €65 – 80 depending on the type of ticket you buy. You can register directly here.

swliegecleantech-FBCover1

Tech Brew Interview with Pull Review ( Redux )

techbrew-032-pullreview_quoteSoftware is created by humans and humans always have scope for improvement. Performing code reviews is one way to improve software, but they are often seen as time consuming and disruptive. What if your code review could be automated? That’s where PullReview comes in.

Code reviews are important. If you’re a software developer, then you’ve heard this refrain time and again. However, many organizations only pay lip service to that phrase, very few actually make the effort to embed reviews into their processes. The act of asking a peer to review your code means you are disrupting that person and potentially disrupting their flow. Fear of being too disruptive can lead developers to hold off on committing until they’ve made substantial changes, thereby making the review even longer. And so on. Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview with Qustomer

Do you get sick of carrying a bunch of loyalty cards around that bloat your wallet and that you end up forgetting to use most of the time? Qustomer.com offer you a unified loyalty card where you can collect all of your points and track your rewards on your smartphone. And if you don’t have a smart phone you can still just sign up with a regular paper card available at participating stores. Continue reading

Interview with Leo Exter from Hack For Health

Leo Exter talking about Hack For Health

Leo Exter talking about Hack For Health

Have you always wanted to join a startup, but lack a solid, credible idea? Or tired of solving the same problems at hackathons? Hack for Health may be your answer.

On Tech Brew, we’ve spoken a number of times about how much we like weekend startup events. They are fun, safe environments to experiment with ideas, team building, and pitching. If there is a downside to these types of events, it is that a lot of energy can be expended simply producing a viable idea and figuring out the team leadership. So what if you could skip that? Continue reading

Congratulations QwerTeach

So MIC Boostcamp 5, where I was the lead coach, is now over for a few more months.

Congratulations to QwerTeach on winning the Grand Prix.

Thanks also to Andrew who also offered his time to help the Boostcampers.

We’ll be back next week with a full interview of another startup beginning with Q, the digital loyalty card providers, Qustomer.

In the meantime here is a list of the other finalists for you to explore:

And a photo of the 3 prize winning teams.

MIC Boostcamp 5

 

If you can’t find €10 to attend Betagroup, how the f*ck will you finance your business?

As many of you may be aware, BetaGroup recently moved to a pay per event model and an annual subscription model for entrance to the monthly meetups. This is common elsewhere in the world and I’m not arguing the pros and cons of a paid vs free model here. But come on people, if you can’t stump up the price of a pizza to be able to attend an event with several hundred who will be helpful to you in the success of your early stage startup then I don’t see how your venture will ever get off the ground.

You have to work at it a bit, things don;t just fall into your lap, but if you do stand up, speak out and network effectively there you can get any of the following:

  • find team members
  • find suppliers
  • recruit testers
  • get new customers
  • connect with journalists
  • connect with investors
  • widen your network
  • get feedback on your idea from people that have been there
  • free beer
  • grow some ambition
  • get the support of your peers

The current situation is what it is. Sign up and or pay the cash on the door per event. Students go for free.


I am not affiliated with BetaGroup, this is just my personal observation. And I’m interested in seeing how BetaGroup may have to change to offer clear value to paying members.

Tech Brew Interview with UXPro.be

UXPro.be on Tech Brew

UXPro.be on Tech Brew

“You’re always one click away from being uninstalled!”

This is the sobering answer that Paul Davies from UXPro.be gave as to why companies should care about better user experience. If you lose the app user, you lose the direct line that you have with that user that can help build and improve the relationship.

That’s what UXPro.be is all about. The Antwerp based startup gives app developers and owners with the opportunity to continually test and get feedback about the usability of their app. Their tools can be embedded into most apps, allowing you to test in the wild, across a multitude of devices, under real, not lab, conditions.

In this lively interview we discuss lean usability with Jan Moons and Paul Davies, founders of UXPro.be and Andrew gets hot under the collar about the Lufthansa app.

We recommend pairing this episode with Marckloff, brewed at La Ferme au Chene in Durby. Enjoy!

Marckloff Beer from La Ferme au Chene, Durbuy

Marckloff Beer from La Ferme au Chene, Durbuy

Tech Brew Interview with Cheqroom.com

Vincent Theete - Westvleteren 12

Keeping track of inventory is a challenge for any business. If your business is large enough, an investment in asset tracking systems is merited. But for smaller businesses, such systems can be cost prohibitive. Cheqroom aims to fill that need by leveraging smartphones and QR codes.

Vincent Theeten conceived of the idea for Cheqroom when managing the IT assets for a small company in West Flanders. He found there was a lack of affordable tools to accomplish what he needed, so he decided to build one. He combined forces with two other developers to build Bitmunks and built the first version, securing that vital first customer. Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview with Whiteboard

Raf Weverbergh - Cuvee des Trolls

This episode was originally recorded in March 2013. Since then Raf has continued whiteboardmag.com, tech.eu started and Raf created a startup of his own, getmustr.com

If you follow technology startup news, then you are probably familiar with the likes of TechCrunch, ReadWrite and Engadget. Although each provides news about startups around the world, they are heavily focused on the US startup scene. What about providing similar news and opinion sites for Europe? Is there a demand for this type of site? Raf Weverbergh set up Whiteboard to find out. Continue reading

Give me a place to stand

“Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will move the world.” – Archimedes, ( bloody ages ago )

Good old Archimedes, always trying to move something. 10 out of 10 for effort, but he would probably have had a lot more success if he’d had a little help from his friends. Continue reading

15 Great Events And Groups To Join This Autumn

There’s an impressive array of events happening over the next few weeks in Belgium. If you’re looking for ideas or team members for your startup they are a great place to network and move things forward. If you’re already working on an idea … don’t go to too many events. Stay focused on your idea. Pick wisely.

If you can’t make it to any of these events, check out the list of meetup groups below. They may have something for you.

20-22/09/2013Hack for Health, Genk Join a team working all weekend to help solve problems in healthcare.

BetaGroup on 24 September and October 22 If you don’t know BetaGroup, where have you been ;-)

30/09/2013The Lean Entrepreneur Day with Brant Cooper, Brussels One day workshop followed by a public conference in the evening.

30/09/2013BizCamp #9, Roeselare (18.30 – 22.00) Come along and give a presentation about something you have learned. NO SALES pitches!

04-06/10/2013CoEntrepreneur Weekend Mons First in a series of 3 this year. Startup Weekend format.

17/10/2013Running Lean Workshop with Ash Maurya, Brussels One day workshop with the author or Running Lean.

18-19/10/2013Apps for Energy, Kontich Weekend hackathon for energy related apps.

Recommended Meetup Groups

One of the best ways to keep up to date and learn new skills is to get out and learn from your peers. There’s a pretty solid network of meetup groups in Belgium now. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but I have attended all of these groups and run one of them ( WordPress ) and can recommend them all.

I’ve tried to put together a blend of tech, business and a few things in between.

  1. Brussels WordPress Meetup
  2. Content Strategy Meetup Belgium
  3. Elastic Search User Group – BeLux
  4. Finance For Statups
  5. Laravel Meetup
  6. Lean Startup Circle Brussels
  7. UX Antwerp

As well as new members, any meetup group is always looking for:

  • sponsorship to pay for food and drink
  • sponsorship for a venue or access to a regular venue where they can hold their meetups
  • speakers

If your company is aligned with any of these groups and can help, they’re always happy to hear from potential sponsors and speakers.

So join a group, wrap up warm and get out and about in your community this Autumn.

Quick update

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Please excuse our appearance, we’re having a bit of a redesign in the wild.
Things will be back to normal after the weekend.

**********************************************************************

Hi listeners. I hope you all had a great Easter break. Andrew is still away in Borneo taking a well deserved break and I’m about to publish 2 more episodes that we recorded before he left. The first is with the inimitable, Raf Weverbergh of Whiteboard Magazine, the other with the “about to crack America”, Vincent Theeten of Cheqroom.

But before that, a few of announcements.

First of all, congratulations to Yambla for winning the Microsoft BoostBamp. We interviewed them in our last episode, so if you don’t know what they do, check it out and find out what winners sound like.

Secondly, there will be a half day workshop on April 17th at the ICAB on Rapid Paper Prototyping. Early bird ticket have sold out, but there are a few tickets left and you can get 10€ off with the code TECHBREW. If you’re building any kind of digital product, come along, it’ll save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Full workshop details here. Tickets here.

And finally, there are two new local Startup Weekends on the near horizon. You’ll have to make a choice though as they are both on the same weekend of May 24-26. You’ll find full details on their respective web sites:

Brussels http://bit.ly/raSeTE

Luxembourg http://bit.ly/R72Yj1

Meet Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director of Open Source Communities at Microsoft and member of the Apache Foundation

Open Source and Microsoft aren’t two phrases you’d naturally place in the same category, unless you’d been watching Microsoft closely over the past few years. But this Wednesday March 13th. 15.00 – 17.00, you’ll have the opportunity meet a key figure in the Open Source community who works at Microsoft.

Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director of Open Source Communities at Microsoft will give a talk entitled,

OPENING UP OPPORTUNITIES FOR STARTUPS AND SMALL BUSINESSES 

He has been an active member of the Apache Software Foundation since 1999, has a deep understanding of Open Source technologies and platforms and more than 20 years’ experience in the Open Source community including creating the first official Linux association in Italy.

He’ll talk about successfully running a startup or small business, give tips on making technology decision, creating interoperable  systems, using the cloud and making money.

The presentation will be followed by a session of Q&A and a cocktail. Come ready with your questions.

Venue: ICAB – Madera Room 4, rue des Pères Blancs, 1040 Brussels http://goo.gl/maps/Z97HQ

To register, please send an email to Raymonde Gyssels at rgy@abe.irisnet.be

The event is organised by The Software in Brussels cluster, in partnership with the Microsoft Innovation Center Brussels.

 

Tech Brew Interview with Yambla.com

IMG_3575

Traditional organisations are managed from the top-down: management defines the vision, the  strategy to attain the vision, and (hopefully) aligns the company to deliver on the strategy. But even great leaders can’t know everything: there is tremendous knowledge and experience to be found throughout the company. The trick is how to tap into this resource. One way is via Yambla.com.

Started 6 months ago by Yoeri Roels and Jordan Vermeir, Yambla is their answer to promoting ideas through organisations. As employees at their previous company, they were frustrated with the challenges they encountered trying to get their ideas heard. Promoting an idea from the bottom-up is filled with challenges: first you have to convince your boss it is a good idea. Then your boss has to also be convinced he won’t lose credibility if he takes it further. Repeat until the idea gets to the CEO, if it survives. It’s like struggling up a steep hill, in the snow, with ninjas attacking you along the way!

Organisational entrepreneurship, or intrapreneurship, appears to be a growing trend: have you noticed any job advertisements requesting people who are entrepreneurial? A quick search of ‘entrepreneurship’ on Monster.com brings up 1000+ results. However, making entrepreneurship work in a large company is not trivial.

There are two factors without which [intrapreneurship] can’t get off the ground:

  1. Encouragement and support from senior management
  2. Reassurance that even if the ideas fail the intrapreneur will not lose his or her job or be “punished” in other ways

(Ernst & Young. Igniting Innovation: How hot companies fuel growth from within. Nov 3, 2010)

Yoeri & Jordan

Which brings us back to Yambla.com. The idea behind Yambla is to make the process of generating ideas in a company a social and collaborative experience. Before you pitch your idea to your boss, you use Yambla to gain support from your peers.

First you post your idea, somewhat like a Facebook status message. Your post is then shared with one or more Super Awesome Ovals (circles) of peers, each of whom could be from your department or from a cross-functional group. Each person is able to comment and like the post, demonstrating their support for the post and helping to refine it. Once the idea has enough support, it is automatically promoted to the next level in the organization, your manager. But in this case, you have the support of your peers.

Of course there is much more to Yambla.com, but it looks like a powerful tool for organisations who are seeking new ideas or want to engender a culture of innovation. However, it will only work if the company – and management team – embrace the process and actually take the ideas seriously.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about Yambla, how they started, their steep learning curve, and who they admire. We paired this interview with a Chimay Cent Cinquante, a smooth beer brewed last year for Chimay’s 150th anniversary. If you can’t find it, try a Chimay Rouge instead.

Enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out our calendar for upcoming events in Belgium.

Tech Brew Interview with BetterStreet.org

IMG_3497Welcome to 2013 and our first podcast of the year! Last year was full of passionate people pursuing their ideas and this year promises no less! We kick off the year interviewing the winner of Startup Weekend Liège, Jean-Marc Poncelet, about his company, BetterStreet.org.

Last year Belgium hosted two Startup Weekends, one in Mons and the other in Liège. We were able to join the teams in Mons for a day and posted some videos, but we were not able to make it to Liège. So we asked Jean-Marc to come to us instead.

When Jean-Marc set out for the Startup Weekend he had no real expectations for the event, just that he wanted to try something different. During the pitch night, he found two others who wanted to improve the appearance of their local neighborhoods, an idea which resonated with Jean-Marc. Months earlier, Jean-Marc started photographing problems in his neighborhood and uploading them to Twitter and Facebook. Continue reading

Announcing the Brussels WordPress Meetup

Because I don’t already have enough on my plate …. I’ve created a Meetup group for people from all walks of life who use WordPress.

So if you’re a writer, a techie, a designer or a business owner who relies on WordPress, come and join us on the 19th of February for the inaugural meeting.

We’ll be organising “Show and Tell” style presentations,  “Ask an Expert” sessions and running a job board for any kind of WordPress related activities.

The first meeting will be a chance to get to know each other socially, assess skills and needs and plan out how we go from there. What is sure is that we’ll meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month.

Back to Tech Brew though, our next startup interview will be published on February 4.

Brew Work City

2013-01-11 16.38.09

Regular listeners to the podcast know that we’re made up of three key ingredients. Startups, beer and a dash coworking.

We discover most of the embryonic startups we interview through places like the BetaGroup coworking space and the events they host.

Well things aren’t so different over here in New York where I’ve been spending the past few months. And the good news is that American beer has come on leaps and bounds and it’s no longer difficult to find a decent beer. But imagine my great delight when they installed this gizmo at New Work City, one of the coworking spaces I’ve been frequenting during my stay.

It’s called a keginator and you hook it up to kegs of your favourite beer. That’s right, they now have draught beer on tap right here in the kitchen at NWC. It’s a pretty cool set up with two beer taps and a dedicated seltzer tap to keep you sensible and productive during the working hours.

So if you’re one of the increasing number of Belgian startups heading West looking to forge links with companies and investors over in the USA I can highly recommend NWC as a port of call whether it’s for a spot of coworking or to attend one of the many events they host.

And if you do visit, make sure you  say hi to these friendly guys, Tony Bacigalupo and Peter Chislett who keep the wheels turning. Who knows, they might even offer you a beer. Cheers.

Dear BetaGroup, We Love You Just the Way You Are

Ay ay ay ay ay. So Jean Derely is stepping down from BetaGroup.

Ramón Suárez, the new “face” of the BetaGroup wrote a very fitting tribute to the well loved Jean, Thank You Jean

But while it was maybe a shock for some people to hear that Jean was leaving, the people now running the BetaGroup have always been deeply involved in it’s organisation anyway so it’s not that big a switch.

I think the BetaGroup format is great. It’s a social gathering of the Belgian startup tribes. I’d hate to see the format change too much, but I do think there is scope for some improvement.  And now, in light of the change of guard and the new year approaching  is probably best the time to reflect upon some tweaks. Here are my thoughts. Chime in on the comments if you have your own. Continue reading

Give a Belgian Startup a Christmas Present

The Europas Tech awards are taking place in Berlin this coming January and there are a number of Belgian startups listed under the peoples’ choice category that I’m sure would be very grateful for your support and more importantly votes.

Here’s the list in alphabetical order. Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview with Kukoo

Tijs Vrolix

It’s our season finale!

Time to celebrate the end of the year with Tijs Vrolix, Kukoo Mail, and FREE Beer!

Tijs has been working on ideas to improve his productivity for years.  His latest project, Kukoo Mail, aims to improve your productivity by removing one of the distractions in your day: checking email. Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview with Soonfeed


Virtual events is a growing industry which is forecasted to become an $18.6b market between 2013 and 2018. Unlike physical events, online happenings are not necessarily limited to a local geography. But how do you find out about what online events are coming up? That’s the role of Soonfeed.com.

“Billions of moments online everyday, but few of them I would actually like to be at.”

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a noise? This philosophical question could also be applied to events: if no one knows about it, then according to Soonfeed founder, Richard Medic, it isn’t really a ‘happening.’ Soonfeed connects people to the “happenings online you don’t want to miss.”

Importantly, Soonfeed is not about meetups or other physical events. The site is focused specifically on future online events: webinars, live tweets, chats, hangouts, etc. It is a way for users to discover upcoming online happenings, join them, and share them. Joining a happening early allows organizers and attendees to start the conversation early, building up the buzz and interest ahead of time. Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview iCourses

Online learning is a hot topic these days with lots of hype about sites such as Udacity, Sebastian Thrun’s latest venture, and the Khan Academy. What if you want to do something a bit more focused and more hands-on? You get the theory, but you are having trouble translating theory into practice? This is where iCourses fills the gap.

Created by co-founders Ramon Suarez, Pascale Van Den Driessche, and Mateusz Kukulka, iCourses.be features courses which are “based on the professional knowledge that our teachers use in their daily jobs.” They recognized the need for something more interactive based on their experience with clients. For example, people understood the need to embrace social media for their business, but lacked the expertise on how to implement a cohesive strategy. So they built courses to help individuals, and companies, get the necessary experience.

This episode, we drink a Lupulus Brune while we interview Ramon about the idea, the challenges, and the impact online education is having in the world today. Andrew and Ramon also get pretty … errr… philosophical about whether or not online education makes sense. It’s a lively debate about education which we’re sure many of you have opinions about.

Enjoy the discussion and feel free to share your thoughts here about online education. Do you think it will be successful? Why or why not? Discuss.

Enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out our calendar for upcoming events in Belgium.

Tech Brew Interview D-Sight

We’re constantly making decisions, but these are typically small, what-to-eat-for-dinner type decisions which don’t require a lot of thought. But what about the decision to build a new bridge? Or how to respond to a health care crisis? These types of scenarios involve a lot of data which needs to be evaluated to make an informed decision. This is where D-Sight‘s software can help.

Based on methodologies developed in Belgium, D-Sight offers desktop and web-based software which provides a structured way for organizations to evaluate their data to find the best decision. The organization must outline the criteria for the decision and the relative importance for each variable, which the software then uses to formulate a decision. More importantly, the software also highlights the ‘stability’ of the decision, meaning how susceptible the decision is to changing if some of the criteria varied.

We spoke with Hugo Pereira, D-Sight’s marketing manager, to get a better understanding of this two year old company and to share a few bottles of Deux Nigauds. During our time with Hugo, we discussed the methodology, the use cases (e.g. Canadian Ministry of Health), how university spin-offs are structured, their transparent pricing model, and much more.

Enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out our calendar for upcoming events in Belgium.

Movember Belgium 2012 : Support Team BetaMoWorkers

BetaMoWorkers - Movember

Support the BetaMoWorkers

It’s Movember time again and this time the guys and gals at the BetaGroup Coworking Space have joined forces to create one team and raise even more money to help combat prostate cancer. I did it last year and kept the Mo and I haven’t looked back! I can thoroughly recommend it as a bit of fun and a great way to raise money for a very good cause.

If you want to join the team, donate or feel you can help in some other way you can get all the information on their team page

Go there NOW.

Selection of Video Vignettes From Startup Weekend Mons

Startup Weekend Mons was a great success. More than 30 pitches were presented on Friday night with eight teams coming together to build their business in 54 hours. By the end of the day Sunday, all eight teams remained and pitched their business in front of the panel.

In the hours before the final pitch, we took a couple minutes with each team to hear about their project and their impression of the weekend. Check out what they thought:

 If you’d like to use the videos in your own website, go ahead. No need to ask.

Social Sitters ( Winner )

[youtube width=”500″ height=”281″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulO9MXocpgY[/youtube]

 

Campchart.com ( Lean Prize )

[youtube width=”500″ height=”281″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZqeCwzQcwo[/youtube]

 

Powwup ( Geek Prize )

[youtube width=”500″ height=”281″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj6Tb2GILOo[/youtube]

Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview – Meal Queen



Have a dinner party coming up but you don’t have time to figure out the menu or shop? MealQueen.com might be the answer you’re looking for. We spoke to co-founder Rafaela Sebestyen about MealQueen and their road to launching the business.

Rafaela and her co-founder had a vision to enhance the cooking experience. Their theory is people like to cook and enjoy the food, but often lack time to plan and prepare for it. If you work long hours, then you’ll know it’s sometimes challenging to find the energy to plan, shop, and cook.

MealQueen.com simplifies the process for you. Using their website you browse the available recipes which are offered by their partners, such as local restaurants. When you find a recipe you like, you select it and then pay for it and the ingredients.

The partner is then sent the information and they prepare your ingredients for pick up the next day.

In our interview we discuss MealQueen’s journey from idea to launch, including their experience with Startup Weekend and Founder’s Institute. Listen in as Rafaela shares her experience while we drink Witkap-Pater Tripel.

Enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out our calendar for upcoming events in Belgium.

 

Tech Brew Interview TagTagCity

You may have seen tags just like this one spring up on building and monuments all over Belgium this Summer. These tags are the brainchild of TagTagCity and are available for any organisation trying to develop a social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) strategy. And the tags aren’t just applicable to organisations. Any entity within an organisation can have a tag making TagTagCity a key player  in the realisation of the “Internet of Things”.

PalmI speak to co-founder, Stijn Vander Plaetse, about their customer acquisition strategy, how they can help small shops take the leap to having a presence on the web by going straight to mobile and their plans to create a major platform that others can build upon.

The importance of a marketing hook

Ramon Suarez - iCourses

Tomorrow Andrew and I will be interviewing Ramon Suarez about a new teaching company he’s started called iCourses.

Launching in such a competitive market and when there is just so much marketing noise is tough. But their marketing gimmick caught my eye. You see, it can pay to be bold.

It’ll be Ramon’s second appearance on the show and at least he won’t have far to go as we record at the coworking space that he runs.

You can see the treatments of the other team photos on their site and we’ll publish the episode in about 3 weeks.

Tech Brew Interview Wondergraphs


Every beer has a history. In part that’s what makes the variety of beer in Belgium so fascinating. At least that’s our justification: research and … err… development!  This week, as we sampled two beers, Brice (blonde) and Joup (brown), we learned a bit about the history of Hombourg* and spoke with Dirk Stevens and Kim Gressens about their company, Wondergraphs.

Frustrated with analytics and graphing software available on the market, Dirk and Kim decided to ‘scratch their itch’ and Wondergraphs was born. Four years on, they are set to re-invent how you analyse your data.

They realized that the analytical tools used today did not match the way that we talk about data. Interfaces usually involve dragging field names into different combinations to create a query. But when we speak about data, we don’t say: “Add SalesRevenue in the first column, add SalesMonth to the 2nd column, group by quarter, output the sum per quarter.” Instead, we say: “Graph sales revenue by quarter.”

So, in their latest version, they’ve ditched the usual interface and created one that is more natural; a box into which you tell WonderGraphs how you want to visualize your data. It is a very simple but powerful idea. By also offering suggestions on data combinations, it promises to be very easy to learn on-the-go.

In our interview while discussing their design goals and the ramifications for usage, we also discuss being a self-funded startup, lessons learned, and the value of feedback. Also, don’t forget to check out our calendar for upcoming tech events in Belgium.

*Since 1591, Hombourg was divided by followers of the society of St. Brice and the society of St. Joseph. A local resident even remarked that it was impossible for two people from different groups to marry. This division has dissipated over the last 2 generations and is now commemorated in these beers.

Tech Brew Interview Sybil

At the beginning of a software project or startup, you are typically a handful of people. Working side-by-side, you learn about each person’s strengths and weaknesses, leaning on each other as needed. But what do you do when you are working with a bigger team and don’t know everyone’s talents? Sybil, a new application by 8th Color, helps you discover the knowledge already in your team.

Martin Van Aken and Christophe Philemotte, co-founders of 8th Color, joined us for an interview to talk about skills management and how their tool fits in the market place. Sybil fills a need they discovered while working in different development teams: every member of the team has specialized knowledge but there was no consistent way to discover who knew what. Continue reading

Tech Brew Interview data.be

Episode originally recorded on 27 April 2012

In this episode, we decided to be a bit more adventurous with our beer choice, so we drank Kriek Boon. It was neither terribly bitter nor sweet, which suited us perfectly, as well as our guest, Toon Vanagt, one half of the data.be team.

Data.be was conceived at the first Brussels Startup Weekend (read Gilbert’s thoughts on Startup Weekends) where Toon met his co-founder Eric Rodriguez. Their aim is to make information about businesses more transparent and  accessible to anyone. Each year  businesses  file documents with the government including new business registrations, financial statements, bankruptcies, shareholder movements and other data of interest to companies looking to better understand their competitors.

These records are in the public domain, but they are disparate, difficult to access and not designed for companies that need to access information as its lifeblood. Toon and Eric’s vision is to liberate that data and make it more accessible in one place. Users of the service can  also set watches that will alert you to new registrations, updated information, and more.

Listen to our interview with Toon to understand more about what data.be offers and the challenges he and Eric face in disrupting the status quo. Also be sure to check out our calendar for upcoming events in Belgium!

New Startup Weekends Announced

If you’re a regular listener of Tech Brew, you’ll know that Andrew and I are great fans of Startup Weekend.

A whole slew of Startup Weekends are being organised in Belgium over the next 6 months and registration is now open for the first 2 events in Mons and Liège

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe before the early bird tickets run out. It’s all about the hustle!

Twitter @swmons and@swliege
And if you haven’t already done so, get our email updates so that you don’t miss another Tech Brew episode. There’s a great interview going to be published on Sunday with a company that was born at a Startup Weekend.

Tech Brew Interview WooRank Redux

Episode originally recorded on 23 March 2012

In the Belgian startup scene, a lot of people know Jean Derely as the founder of Betagroup. He is also the co-founder of WooRank, a popular website that reviews your website and provides recommendations on SEO, mobile, usability, and more.

In our most recent interview with Jean, we drank some lovely Canaille while he told us about the latest changes at WooRank: moving from (mostly) free to paid usage. A lot of startups struggle with the balance between the need for a sufficiently large user-base and the need for cash to support those users. WooRank was no different, except that they made a conscious decision to let it grow while they focused on other activities. The challenge WooRank faced was how to convert their large user base into paid users?

Jean tells us about the process they took to get to this point, why they re-wrote the software, and who won their bet on first day conversions. Check out the podcast to hear more from Jean and about upcoming events in Belgium.

TechBrew is back

We’re back. As you can see we’ve been very busy and have some new specialist equipment courtesy of our friend Ramón Suárez at the BetaGroup Coworking Space where we usually record episodes.

This Friday we’ll hit publish on the WooRank redux episode in which Jean Derely tells us how his company’s revenue changed when they radically changed their freemium model and charged money for WooRank. Gasp!

We already have 6 other episodes recorded and ready to release and a packed recording schedule to take us through to the end of the year.

So subscribe to Tech Brew by email and be the first to hear interviews with WooRank, Data.be, Sybil, Wondergraphs, TagTagCity and MealQueen.

We’re Going Pro

Blue SnowballAs our long suffering listeners will know, we don’t always have the best sound quality here on Tech Brew. It’s a common complaint on all new podcasts. Up until now it has all been recorded on an iPad using the built in mic.

But today we’re recording our first episode with our new microphone. We’ve done a few tests and we like the results.

So Dear listener,  Tech Brew is about to get a whole lot easier on the ear. And we’re testing it out on the lovely people from Wondergraphs later today.

But before that, that we’ll publish WooRank Redux, a recent interview that we did with Jean Derely about the positive changes on the company’s revenue after changing their freemium model.

And for all episodes we’re now moving to an interview  only model, but don’t worry, you’ll can still get all your events news over on the calendar page.

Tech Brew Interview Lovely Charts

3 Schteng

3 Schteng

In this episode we sit back and sip a beer from the eastern cantons called, “3 Schténg,” while talking with Jérome Cordiez of Lovely Charts. As an alternative to Microsoft’s Visio, Lovely Charts really focuses on improving the user experience and producing, … lovely charts.

According to Jerome, “UX should include fun and desirability,” and he applies that in his latest version of Lovely Charts, an iPad app. Targeted at people who just want a quick way to diagram something, Jerome’s focused on getting the application out of your way. You want a square? draw it with your finger. A circle? same thing.  Drag them around to the place you want, join them together, and more.

Beyond Lovely Charts, Jerome also opened up a bit about his experience with the App Store. The Lovely Charts iPad app hit a high after a few tech media outlets picked it up. However, it takes a lot of work to sustain it. As he says in the interview, “I can’t imagine that the majority of apps are profitable. It’s really a winner takes all world.”

Enjoy the interview and also remember to check out the calendar for upcoming events.

Tech Brew Episode 14 – Lovely Charts by Techbrew on Mixcloud

Here’s a demonstration of the app at work.

Lovely Charts for iPad from Jerome Cordiez on Vimeo.

Tech Brew Interview Grant Snap

Cuvée du Vieil AubelEvery entrepreneur knows that finding a source of funds is probably the hardest part of starting a company. You already have the idea, you have the ambition, you may even have people you want to work with. But how do you pay for it all? One solution is to apply for grants.

Every year, €375 billion is granted throughout the EU. However, the application process often takes a long time and effort. Enter GrantSnap.com. Co-founded by Scott Wagers,  Vladimir Blagojevic and Jonne Deprez, Grant Snap’s goal is to ease the overall process and provide an interface for coordinators, people who manage the submissions from various people.  By breaking the process down into “clear, actionable steps,” the online tool coordinates the gathering of the information necessary for a grant application.

Having recently won  the fall session of the Founder’s Institute, Vlad and Jonne Deprez sat down with us to talk about the project, funding, challenges, and the business model. And of course we enjoyed a nice beer in the process, a Cuvée du Vieil Aubel from Eastern Belgium.

Tech Brew Episode 13 – Grant Snap by Techbrew on Mixcloud

Redesign and Video Tips

We’ll be publishing the next episode of Tech Brew, an interview with two of the founders from GrantSnap.com on Monday.

Almost as exciting, we’ll have a redesign online then as well which will spruce up the look of the site a bit and enable us to publish a new series of quick  video business tips.

If you can’t wait for your fix, you can listen on Mix Cloud http://i.mixcloud.com/CBFHsW

Tech Brew Interview Checkthis

Deus

Deus sparkling beer

Happy New Year! We’re back with another great interview. This week we sip some bubbly Deus and hear about the plans for Checkthis.com just days before their launch. Co-founder Frédéric (Fred) della Faile and Pierre de Schaetzen joined us to explain the project, the inspiration, and why Fred sold his sports car.

“Between nothing and a blog,” is how Fred describes Checkthis. Born out of a friend’s need to quickly publicize his band without setting up a website, the idea of Checkthis is to enable people to easily create and share a page on the web that can contain videos, photos, text, maps, sounds, and more.

Tumblr with a purpose

The user interface of Checkthis is very easy to navigate. Start a new page, click on the type of content you want to add, insert the text or links to videos, repeat until you’re done, hit publish, and share. You don’t even need to sign up or log in.

After beta testing the product over the last few months, the Checkthis team is ready to launch the latest version. By watching how people were using the site, they were able to figure out how to make Checkthis more useful and intuitive. Already we see how it fills a gap for a lot of people. Not everyone wants a blog, they just need a way to group various media so they can share it.

Tech Brew Episode 011 – Check This by Techbrew on Mixcloud

In our interview you will learn more about Checkthis.com, find out which brand is the Coldplay of beer, and discover upcoming events in Belgium. Enjoy!

Quick update: The new version of CheckThis.com is live and they have been TechCrunched http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/between-nothing-and-a-blog-check-out-checkthis-a-cool-new-micro-publishing-tool/

Tech Brew Interview Vladimir Blagojevic of Lean Startup Circle Brussels

Last night, ( 22nd December 2011 ) was the inaugural meeting of the Lean Startup Circle Brussels. As Andrew and I were both attending anyway and as it was the Tech Brew recording day, we decided to interview Vladimir Blagojevic who set up the group. This is our first video interview. Enjoy. And if you’re curious about this episode’s beer, we settled down to chat with the Christmas edition of Palm.

There are two videos in this episode. The first is an interview that we did after the group met and the second is the introduction to Lean given by Vlad and Nick Boucart. The slides accompanying the introduction are also included at the end of this post.

Transcript

Gilbert: So Vladimir, you’ve just had the inaugural meeting of the Brussels Lean Startup Circle and it seemed to go very well. Why do you think Lean Startup is still such a hot topic?

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Tech Brew Interview Pieter Dubois from Paycento

This week we’ve devoted a bigger part of our show to speak with our guest, Pieter Dubois. Pieter loves to talk, but thankfully, he always has something great to say. So stick with us for the full 50 minutes while we discuss Pieter’s first startup, Paycento, startup life as a rollercoaster and working with investors in Belgium.

While sipping a Hopus or three, Pieter explains his new micro-payment company, Paycento, which will be launching their private beta at Betagroup on December 20th.
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Tech Brew Interview Djengo

Orval Carton (via Wiki Commons)

After a short break, we’re back! Andrew’s got his voice back and Gilbert has recovered from Startup Weekend! It’s still a busy time for events as we wind up 2011, so be sure to check out the events calendar.

This week we are drinking Orval, which is apparently the only beer that is masculine in french. Also in the realm of amazing, Spotify has arrived in Belgium along with Google Street View. Having already created a stir in the media regarding privacy, we couldn’t help but share a couple of stories about Google Street View, including one about the ladies of the night. Go ahead, we’ll wait…

Now that you’re back, time to get to the real story: Djengo. Anissia Tcherniaeff was nice enough to join us to tell us more about their carpooling service. We’ve seen a few of these before, but Anissia and her co-founder think they have found a better solution: work with event organizers and the HR departments of large businesses.

Continue reading