Today, at Startupbootcamp Amsterdam, we’re opening applications for our new NFC & Contactless Interactions accelerator program. It marks months of preparations: we talked to over 60 NFC specialists and companies that want to be part of the the emerging NFC & Contactless technology ecosystem.
We found and analysed over 200 startups working actively in the field. This has confirmed our belief that these are the technologies of the future. We also realize that timing is important – for this future to reach the tipping point, action is needed now. This explains why we’re proud to announce the kick off for the first NFC & Contactless Interactions accelerator program in Europe.
So what makes NFC so different? On the face of it, there doesn’t seem much difference between swiping a card or touching your phone in order to pay for something in a store. There are countries, like Japan, where the preference is clearly for the phone. But the world of NFC and contactless interaction is so much broader than simple payments.
In fact, we’re witnessing a whole wave of successful implementations of this technology in other industries where “a card just can’t do what NFC can do”. 10,000 NFC ad panels go live across the UK, Nokia shows wireless charging car cradle with NFC, NFC transport tickets are launched in Russia and so the list goes on. In January 2013 this trend was also extensively documented by the international NFC Forum, who identified five major market opportunities for NFC: apart from payment they named retail, transport, health care and consumer electronics. Check out their extensive presentation!
The results of our own research at Startupbootcamp of more than 200 startups which use NFC and proximity wireless technologies are perfectly in line with the trends described above.
A significant number of them (61 startups) focus on using NFC and QR in marketing and advertising. They are working on new possibilities for market research, better targeted advertising, easier and more engaging loyalty programs, as well as a tighter connection between the physical world and social media platforms.
21 startups are focused on providing better shopping experiences and 8 companies have schemes to improve catering. 14 startups are active in mobile health care. Other startups contribute to a diverse range of fields, from transport and tourism to pets, music and gaming.
This shows that the focus in the field has moved from the technology itself to understanding customer needs. Moreover, several consumer NFC satisfaction surveys provide impressive results. The lowest percentage of satisfied customers in one study was 92 percent. The highest saw a 98 percent satisfaction rate: extremely rare numbers for a new technology. High customer satisfaction, as well as the ease of use, drives some experts such as Gemalto CEO to forecast NFC dominance in the future.
Among the 200 analysed startups, 34% are based across Western Europe with the UK leading with its 22 startups. This is followed by 10 Spanish companies, 7 startups in Finland and many more in other countries. Almost the same number of startups was found in the USA. 9% of companies are Canadian.
7,5% of startups that we discovered are located in Eastern Europe. However, NFC guru Dan Armstrong (and one of our leading SBC mentors) considers Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Slovenia to be home to a lot of very interesting startups. He also names Brazil and South Africa to be among the most interesting prospects for implementing NFC.
We also see that the founders of NFC startups are, on average, older and more experienced than the founders of more general startups. This is probably explained by the level of technological complexity. It has taken time for this business to blossom.
Can’t wait to see examples of the startups in NFC & Contactless? Here’s our pick:
– Israelian Kupoya introduces a new approach to in-store marketing and loyalty
– British Tapestry lets customers collect and curate items in store on a mobile
– American HealthID Profile makes personal health management easier
– Belgian Selinko lets objects tell their story and provides an anti-counterfeiting solution
– Israelian tag-a-bag – never lose your luggage when travelling.
– Colombian uPet helps you track your pet and keep its vet data close
– Belgian TagTagCity provides innovative solutions for tourists
– British Proxama has a wealth of new ideas in interactive advertising at events and concerts, as well as a novel murder mystery
Know of even better examples? Running a startup yourself? Now is the time to get in touch!