By: Rick Stomphorst
Startup Weekend takes concepts to product and/or business in 54 hrs. Starting Friday night October 19, 2012, a group of some 100 entrepreneurs came together to conceive, vet, build, and pitch their preliminary results (product) to a panel of judges at the Peel Startup Weekend, put on by the RIC Centre in Peel. I participated on Sunday to coach some teams, providing feedback to their draft pitches.
As a coach, our job was to mentor the teams, using our years of experience to ask questions the team’s likely haven’t thought of, help them refine their pitches, ensuring they’re presenting what points the judges will expect to hear. We walked the fine line of providing experienced constructive feedback, ideas, and thoughts, while not overwhelming them with the plethora of obstacles which waits ahead of them.
One team I coached was the “9-1-1 Text” team of 4. Their idea is to allow people in an emergency situation and who are unable to speak (for whatever reason) to “dial” 911. While texting 911, their location would be transmitted. One huge value-add is transmitting their location to the 911 operator. This task can often takes 30-90sec alone (“where are you?”), meaning an additional precious 30-90sec before the arrival of a first responders. Sunday afternoon they pitched to the judges. Their “ask” of the judges was to gain connections into the phone carriers and call centers to further validate their idea.
Friday evening launched with 30 pitches, ending late Sunday afternoon distilled down to these 11 ideas, pitched to a group of 4 judges, with ~100 people watching. Most pitchers had a prototype product, crafted business solution to a business problem, revenue generating ideas, and importantly, their ask.
- Emergency Response App – mobile app to generate efficiencies in a Hospital’s emergency treatment of mass casualties
- Amray Solar – next generation solar panels, 2x more efficient.
- piparu.com – pintrest like app for funny videos.
- CardDrop – QR codes with dynamic content and pix
- DeptStep – Broker app for dept consolidations
- 9-1-1 Text – Text message to 911 centres
- PTLights Inc. – Portable traffic light for emergency services.
- MyBlood – app to track warfarin impacts to person
- Learnville – Create online courses. Virtual classroom
- We Owe You – tracking your incidental lending of money (coffee, drinks, dinner) between your circle of friends. Includes payback functionality.
It was impressive to witness these budding entrepreneurs, whose idea was just a concept 50 hours ago, provide their final pitch on Sunday late afternoon.
Congrats to CardDrop for winning! I hope the momentum started this weekend will continue for these teams and result in products and companies, and more jobs. Silicon Halton donated $100 prize money.
Rick Stomphorst is the Principal Consultant at SearchVelocity.ca, providing recruitment to technology companies to identify and acquire high-value technology staff. He brings 25+ years experience with software companies, including five software start-ups, and IT professional consulting firms. Rick is also the co-founder of Silicon Halton.
The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.