European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes has named Clear Returns the winner of "Tech All Stars", an EU-wide search to find Europe's best young startup company and celebrate European entrepreneurship.

"Every day, startups are out there creating ideas and creating jobs.
Europe urgently needs the next generation of founders, entrepreneurs, and innovators: people who aren't just waiting for someone to give them a job, but who have the courage, skills and mindset to go out there and create their own.
I hope this inspires other brilliant, budding entrepreneurs out there, women as well as men."
, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said.

The competition is part of Startup Europe, the European Commission's initiative to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU.

Founded by Victoria Brock and headquartered in Glasgow, UK Clear Returns helps companies deal predict and understand ecommerce returns. Returns not only cost retailers time, money and manpower, it can damage their customers’ perception of their business. Clear Returns has a range of smart, cloud-based solutions designed to help online and multichannel retailers minimise returns , giving them the knowledge they need to grow the proportion of products kept by their customers and the revenue kept by the retailer.

The other finalists were:

  • Parx Plastics, from the Netherlands who work with innovative biocompatible technology to make antibacterial plastics.
  • Triggertrap Ltd, United Kingdom - Trigger your SLR camera from iOS, Android, and Arduino

Just over 400 EU registered startups applied for this competition. To qualify, companies had to be younger than 3 years and have raised less than €1m in external funding.
From this talented pool, 12 winning teams from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden were selected. The startups work in different fields such as:  3D printing, cleantech, photography, mobile apps, music, real estate, media content, mHealth and ecommerce.

The 12 came to London on 10-11 June for two days of training, mentoring and a pitching competition in front of top-top-tier investors and venture capitalists including Accel Partners, Index Ventures & Balderton Capital. Three finalists were selected and presented their companies at Founders Forum  London in front of tech and web visionaries including Richard Branson, Chad Hurley, Reid Hoffman, Sir Ronald Cohen and Jonnie Goodwin. In addition to priceless exposure, and networking opportunities, each three finalists get 20 000€ worth of credits on Google Platform services.

About the other finalists

Parx Plastics work with innovative biocompatible technology to make antibacterial plastics and were represented by CEO Michael van der Jagt .The company HQ is in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, with subsidiaries in Bologna, Italy and Ningbo, China.  By applying biomimetics and Nano-technology, a method was developed to make an intrinsic change to plastic resulting in a mechanical/physical property that acts against bacteria and microorganisms.

TRIGGERTRAP @triggertrap create "the awesomest camera triggering tools in the world" on iPhone, Android and open-source Arduino. The company has offices in London and Bristol, UK and was represented by Haje Kamps, CEO. It offers products like iOS and Android apps that add facial recognition, sound, motion, vibration and timelapse functionality to SLR cameras; and high-speed triggers fast enough to capture a bullet in flight.

The other winning teams were Andiamo, a 3D printing orthotics service for children with special needs, neoScores, an OS and device independent web application that dynamically renders sheet music, Commons Machinery, a software development and consultancy startup that helps provide context to digital works, We are Pop Up, an online marketplace for commercial property for short-term (pop up) rentals, KLANG Technologies, the first interactive 3D-Audio Technology for headphones, CADBeam, a mobile application for construction management, Crypho, a web-based end-to-end encrypted real-time communications for the enterprise, LaserLeap, a technology for non-invasive administration of medicines and cosmetics and Nuvovec, who market non-pathogenic viral vectors capable to delivery large therapeutic genes.

More women

Three out of the 12 finalist startups have strong females in the founding team. There was also a significant increase from 2013 in female founding members among the startups that applied.

About previous winners

Previous winners of the Tech All Stars competition have gone on to continued business success. 2013 winners:  Trustev security services from Ireland raised more than $3.80M, while Barcelona-based Cognicor artificial intelligence won in 2012 and has since raised more than $1M.