Another year at the behemoth Mobile World Congress (MWC) is over in Barcelona. Initially targeting mobile makers and telcos, the evolution of IoT means it now encompasses everything from mobility to wearable tech, smart cities and robotics. It also includes the sister event 4YFN (four years from now), which introduces you to thousands of startups and a plethora of side events.
While most people focus on folding tablet and mobile screens and enterprise offerings, I like to check out the startups. This year I’ve gone remote, and my feet are thrilled to be free of a week of meetings scheduled at pavilions miles away from each other.
Here are just some of the cool startups you should check out from the show:
Payflow is a finance application that allows companies to offer flexible remuneration and a salary-on-demand to their employees; that is, they can get paid whenever they want. The software integrates into a company payroll without impacting cash flow
The salary on demand provides employees with a buffer against unexpected events, reducing their financial stress and avoiding falling into debt cycles. It also helps with saving and education in financial literacy.
Payflow has raised over €12 million with investors including Y Combinator nad Seaya Ventures. The company is the winner of the annual 4YFN Awards .
Peekabond (The Netherlands)
COVID-19 bought the tyranny of distance to the forefront for many families. But remote living is a common reality for many people, and it’s especially tough if you’re trying to bond with kids who may not remember you from call to call.
Amsterdam based start up Peekabond has developed a video messenger app that connects families through science-based play activities.
Peekabond is designed to engage young children and create meaningful moments of connection. The company launched its Virtual Family Challenger at MWC. It offers interactive prompts designed to develop Social Emotional Skills with young children and can capture the response whilst watching videos of the Challenges in the app.
An example of a simple challenge is to see who can hang a spoon on their nose the longest: family members share their funny spoon-holding videos in one chat for the children to watch.
The app is free in the App Store and Google Play Store. It has been downloaded in more than 70 countries.
Perovskia Solar (Switzerland)
Perovskia Solar is a Swiss cleantech startup that prints custom solar cells based on patent-protected technology. The company has pioneered inkjet printing technology to fabricate efficient and stable perovskite solar cells with custom design capability.
This offers an alternative to silicon solar cells, whose manufacturing is energy-intensive and resource-hungry processes and possesses less design flexibility. Also, silicon wafers are made in fixed shapes and sizes, considerably reducing design flexibility.
Use cases include wearables, smart home devices, consumer electronics, and any smart device fully operational in indoor light.
Roka Furadada (Spain)
Roka Furadada is a company founded in Barcelona in 2019. It aims to reduce the incidence of skin cancer and other UV radiation-related skin diseases by redefining sunscreen.
Current UV filters in most sunscreens do not adapt to UV irradiation dose and undergo photodegradation, losing their protective effect, degrading easily and losing their protective effect.
They also contain materials that have a problematic effort on the ecology of marine life.
In response, Roka has developed and patented a new generation of dose-dependent progressive UV filters that will be used to develop a new generation of sunscreen lotions with on-demand protection.
MYHIXEL is a brand focused on men’s sexual well-being, specifically ejaculation. The company offers two combined products developed by a professional sexologist, combing a connected wearable masturbating device (MYHIXEL I) with a gamified 8-week training program (MYHIXEL Play) via an app that helps men control their ejaculation.
What’s most interesting about MyHixel is the speed at which the company founded in 2017 has gone to market with diverse but integrated product offerings fro wearable tech to psychological counselling.
Following four year of extensive peer-reviewed research with leading universities and sexologists, it is the only market solution for climax control.
Qnami is a high-tech company spun out of the Physics Department of the University of Basel in Switzerland.
It uses quantum mechanics to develop new technology. Its focus is quantum sensing to control the state of a single electron, enabling precise measurement beyond that of conventional technology.
Qnami’s solutions are designed for R&D in the material science and semiconductor areas.
Lead image; MWC: Photo: Uncredited.