Tonight I went to my first meeting the Betagroup in Brussels. Betagroup is a community for people they have some kind of relation with web entrepreneurship or are “innovators of a new industry.” They connect and help people who want to create businesses, invest in business and people who have web related professions. Also, they provide a great marketing opportunity for their members. All this is done trough a blog, a LinkedIn group and IRL meetings. I haven’t figured out their visions yet, but the concept is great and has a lot of potential, as the group as 2000 members, and tonight at their 14 Betagroup meeting there were over 300 attendees.
The meeting is self was somewhat generic with some opportunities for networking before and after the presentations. Jean Derely, who is the founder of Betagroup, introduced the presentations. Tonight five companies presented their businesses or ideas Yaxo, iDiscover, Twoodler, Bebuzy, ErgoTools. However, I think the audience (atleast those I talked to) mostly saw potential in Yaxo and Bebuzy. You should take a look at them right away (or wait I few days until I have done some more research and will blog about it and then look). But, summarized Yaxo offers a service that you connect to your online store to have instant communication with salespeople. It might sound like something that is already on the market, but they have found some new spins to the idea. Bebuzy is still in Beta but is a very intelligent and interactive “yellow pages” of services. I especially liked all this because how well build it is and how much time it will save for both customers and service providers. This is definitely a site to be aware of if you live in Belgium.
IDiscover also had some potential, it a pda-game that they want museums to buy for student groups. It is based on the idea that you can combine; social activities and learning, museums and games. Which you accomplish by giving a group of students and individual pda during their museum visit, which gives them tasks and problems related to what the museum is showing. Thus, the student collaborative to solve the problems: it is a social and fun game where you learn about museums. Great idea, but they need a lot of money to scale it, because the Belgian market is not so big.
I think that the meeting presented a lot of potential business. But, I am still a bit confused about what goal is for Betagroup. Is the meetings only for networking? In that case, they need a bigger venue as the network was very non-flowing because of the small space (you might literally step on someone’s toes if you turn around). Or the mission is also for the entrepreneurs to help each other with for example, legal, technical, business regarded matters? In that case, maybe at least one presentations should be about “tips for future web entrepreneurs.”
All in all, great meeting point for web entrepreneurs, where I managed to meet some interesting people and to which I will definitely come back. But perhaps they should have an even clearer goal or make room for their purpose?
Mashable saw more potential in Twoodler than I did and posted this article: Twoodler: The baby toy that twitters