EVENT: Startup Weekend London
LOCATION: Ravensbourne College, SE10 0EW and Club Workspace, Clerkenwell Workshops
DATE: 9th – 11th September 2011
EVENT HASHTAG: #swLondon
- James Hobbis, co-founder, Gruvi
- John Lunn, Sales Engineering & Integration, PayPal
- Jason Hoyt, Vice President, R&D and Chief Scientist, Mendeley
The initial idea behind the event was to let those with business ideas pitch them in front of their peers, team up with interested parties and spend the next 54 hours creating real businesses.
Monika Gierszewska, Marketing Director of Dreamstake, said: "Startup Weekend was filled with ideas generation, deal making, team work and lots, lots of fun! The event was extremely useful to entrepreneurs with business ideas. As they formed teams they had a chance to develop their product, market test it and gain exposure by presenting in front of the audience. It was also a great chance to meet fantastic people from all over Europe. Great event!"
At the beginning of the event on Friday evening 20 entrepreneurs had registered their interest to pitch. This number doubled once the event began, as entrants clearly gained motivation from the initial pitches.
Friday night’s action kicked off with a welcome from James Digby, the Startup Weekend facilitator, including a presentation from Mendeley, a new science startup, led by Jason Hoyt.
Some of the interesting business ideas from the evening’s pitches:
- A crowd-sourced dating site, allowing visitors to vote on who should date whom
- Group trip cinema optimisation
- A car crash reporting mobile app
- ‘TakeMeNow’ taxi ordering mobile app
ClubWorkspace hosted 11 teams formed from Friday night’s business pitches with entrepreneurs selecting peers with the necessary skill sets and resources to contribute and get to work on creating a product.
The intense day of work began at 8am and continued non-stop throughout the day – so much so that a compulsory networking lunch break had to be called in order to detach the teams from their screens!
Work didn’t finish until 10pm when the teams enjoyed a lively social evening until the early hours.
Following a 14-hour working day on Saturday and a late night party, teams miraculously soldiered on the following day from 8am – so keen were they to finish off programming their products and get their presentations ready to show guests and sponsors in the evening.
Each team had 4 minutes to present their business idea to the audience, followed by a set of questions from the panel judges.
By 5pm the press and VIPs had arrived at the packed venue with over 250 people awaiting the final presentations from the teams. Startup Weekend facilitator James Digby kicked off proceedings by welcoming the guests and thanking all the sponsors and entrepreneurs involved – the pitching then began…
- Trade Font – analysing current trends affecting stock market while you sleep
- Lunch on Wheels – lunch deliveries to business parks from local restaurants
- Portal entertainment – week long suspense thriller, involving iPad app, videos, live physical involvement in the story
- TaxiApp – easy taxi booking system for UK giving users different choices of taxi firms with prices and waiting times
- ImClockingYou.com - app counting your waiting time, e.g. Girlfriend shopping, boyfriend being late, and allows you to exchange accumulated waiting time to real prizes
- PartyWithALocal – website and iPhone app allowing you to find local people to meet up/party with
- Rate that curry – rating curry houses
- LUUVV.com – ways of showing what you love
- GetChap – a way to arrange informal meet ups with your friends at short notice
- DeedStars – a way of publicising good deeds
- LifeGadget – system monitoring your body and health
- PopupDeals – instant location-based deals app
- CrowdWrite.co – crowd-sourced note taking
- Social stadiums – app allowing football fans to share their experience online, order food and drinks and buy merchandise
- DatesOut – local fun dating experience
- Playqpid – app for matching strangers for dates
- Foodeedoo.com – the online food market
- Mebetyoubet.com – free betting between friends
- PitchSpring – network for investors
- Invizua – market intelligence for digital agencies
- Decomio – social furniture buying
- Rooomie – sharing bills among flatmates
- Trendset.me – platform allowing users to choose trends for the next season, they vote on products and get discounts/vouchers in exchange
- Unemail – filtering email system
- Baby Birch Box – monthly subscription for pregnant women and young mothers, delivering useful articles, news, tips as well as product relevant for the baby’s age
- Link-a-group – platform allowing groups to find time when they are all available to meet
- Event Knode – event registration system with incorporated face recognition to speed up sign-ins at events
All pitches were of extremely high quality, with great surprise at how much each team managed to do within the allotted 54 hours. Websites were built, programmes coded, apps were even submitted to the respective Apple and Android stores.
At the end five winners were selected, with overall winners being Portal Entertainment. The startup selected to earn a million first was Invizua, while the most fun app was ImClockingYou.com.
The weekend was a great success, with a thriving atmosphere full of energy and business ideas.