Why do start-ups get competitions so wrong? I’m in shock after preliminary evaluating the LeWeb start-up competition. For starters, three companies out of the sixteen had their landing pages in their local language, French, Italian and Spanish. The Italian and the French were, at least, also available in English, not so the Spanish one (shocker!). If you are selected for an international conference stage, the least you can do is translate your damn website. The fact that’s called “International“, should give you the cue.
Now, apart from the language issues (kudos to the other French start-ups for finally realizing that the world doesn’t speak French), half of the websites where rather uninformative. Two of the start-ups had only a Rocket Start landing page with no information whatsoever on what they’re doing. Just for the record, a cryptic quote like: “We are marrying fashion with technology” is as useless as saying you are the next generation social application.
Landing pages are about giving information to your users about what problem do you solve and how do you do it. This was the issue with the other half of the start-ups. Most of them had a vague description of what they did, but not what the solution was about, which is as useful as a having a bag of salt in the middle of the ocean. Zero. Nada.
I really really want to write about your company, but you’re making my job look more like a Connan Doyle novel than tech reporting. Our friends at The Next Web just posted a very timely article on what are start-ups getting out of conference competitions. It’s funny to see how every single one highlight the importance of them getting exposure to a big crowd. Why is it that you don’t want that?
Finally, some conferences are starting to run pre-conference bootcamps for start-ups, which is a huge improvement from what was going on last year, but still, many entrepreneurs fail to do their homework. I said it last year, and I’ll say it again, for god’s sake, have your contact details on your website, not an ugly, stupid and useless form that no one uses.
All in all, I’m giving the LeWeb start-ups a D in communication and message crafting. I’m tempted to build a small service that, in exchange of a small fee ($10-$20), I’ll personally review your website before any conference and make sure it makes any sense. Do you guys think it will work?
UPDATE: I started getting people interested on this so I created this form so you can send your site.
Come on people!! We can do this much better!!