What we saw @ the Athens startup weekend teams. A brief review of the Athens startup weekend
Niobium Labs participated as a sponsor in the Athens startup weekend,an intense 54 hour event that aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs meet and form the basis of a new company.
It all started on Friday 9/2, from around 40 ideas we had to go down to 15, so 60 seconds was all they had. Nervous but bold the participants took that time and one by one pitched their idea. There could be only fifteen so the process took its course and after an intense hour the participants self regulated the results and formed into teams.
The level of the ideas was surprisingly high and the commitment of the participants admirable. Most were eager to learn and adjust and took in the recommendations, proposals and critique from the mentors (more about them) blended it with their experience and transformed it into something anew.
And why wouldn't they? Having the opportunity to have your idea analyzed, discussed and stretch tested before you even take the first step is something that anyone starting a company should envy.
Especially having your idea under the spotlight of Microsoft evangelists, world class web designers, startup consultants, proven entrepreneurs and coaches with might is an opportunity not to be missed.
During this weekend, we met some interesting young people with innovating ideas, we talked to them and we tried to help them by giving feedback and advice but mainly by offering a different point of view.
It's remarkable how many people were receptive to new perspectives and how they would calibrate their initial ideas based on the feedback they got from all the mentors.
Here are the projects as we saw them,in a particular order.
A Network that intends to bridge the gap between early stage startups and seed fund investors.
A nice prospect even though it faces great established competition from day one.
Our tag line is that all that you need to build your startup is to just do it.
This project needs to differentiate from the competition that is well established and respected. We suggested a pivot to a LinkedIn game with simple game dynamics and powers emerging from the virtual talent you acquire.
their pitch :“ Let’s create the next generation of coding talents”.
This team had an interesting approach, they immediately understood that they had to build on top of competition (all can code, codecademy), they want to focus, as we understood it, on teaching the concepts and the mindset of programming rather than what is usually offered by other learn2code platforms.
The problem was that even though they had a prototype they chose not to present it in front of the judges and their 5 minute presentation didn't focus on the game dynamics of learning and how they would implement that.
We believe that focusing on a "parent -child" selling proposition with a well structured game dynamic would give their concept an edge. We loved the concept, but we strongly believe they should focus on a unique value proposition as well as a better marketing pitch.
— Niobium Labs (@niobiumlabs) February 11, 2012
Kinect Life( 3d place)
“Kinect Life is Kinect for all”
Motion gestures is definitely going to be part of our lives in the near future and these guys aim at putting a hand on that!
Their proposition: adjust the level of the effort needed to interact with kinect according to various profiling methods.
Nice implementation and a demonstration of their project during their 5 minute pitch!
We unfortunately had little to no time to talk with this team. These guys were up to their necks coding the kinect SDK into building awesome stuff. However we kinda failed to fully grasp their business model and their revenue strategy during pitch time.
our first thought when we heard their 60 second pitch was
#asw4 disrupt the way we order our coffee?Let's do it
— Niobium Labs (@niobiumlabs) February 10, 2012
Their idea is to be able to pre-order food and drinks through the use of mobile phone and skip the queues. We feel in love with the idea. We even started thinking ourselves ordering frappe next to the beach during Greece’s hot summer. Hard go-to-market but huge potential to disrupt the entire retail industry.
We have to admit that we didn't fully understood that. They worked in mysterious ways, flirting with psychology, psychometric personality results and the content the user is supposed to be seeing in his social media feed. They proposed that people should get their content timeline (facebook or other) based on their personality instead of who their social circle or declared interests(facebook likes) are. They concluded with a Facebook application that performs psychometric tests and matches content between different users based on their profile compatibility and similar personality traits.
“I had one of the best times of my life, it was extremely fun and all the people were super, everyone was helpfull. “ said one of the team members when asked about her startup weekend experience.
The automated content discovery industry is super hot, which in other words means a lot of competition form startups with millions in the bank. We cannot argue on whether or not the personality profiling is an interesting twist for better algorithms since we are not experts in the field. Anyhow, this idea needs to prove it’s business case.
A crowd sourced decision making platform, where corporations will be able to choose a cause of corporate responsibility based on suggestions from users and NGOs. Great idea that solves a not so tractable problem. The issue with pitching these kind of idea is how do you quantify the gain for large corporations. We suggested that the team focuses on hyper local and real time pledges, in order to be the facilitator for minimum-budget, quick-response actions that would maximize earned media coverage and community engagement.
The team’s idea was that Supermarkets should bid for your shopping list. Even though it sounds like an interesting idea, we believe that it would be difficult to be implemented, mainly due to practical reasons. Interesting concept that tries to gain from arbitrage between prices in different grocery stores. However, the logistics are huge and these guys will have a pile of problems to address.
The idea is to create your own e-shop in facebook and start selling to your fans, without redirecting them to another website. In this way, companies can get advantage of their facebook page in order to attract potential buyers.
The simplicity of this idea is its strong point. It has a straight forward go-to-market plan and the team is versatile and competent. We believe this can be a hit if they enhance their game concepts in order to incentivize small retail sellers as we advised.
Instead of looking for offers and hotel ratings on the web, offerme suggest that clients should be able to make vacation requests and businesses can make custom offers directly. When a deal is reached, the company gets a commission.
— Niobium Labs (@niobiumlabs) February 11, 2012
Offerme is a reverse actioning site that focused on the long tail of Greek tourism professionals. Great potential that builds on top of the strategical advantage, operating in a county that the travel industry is 20% of GDP. We advised them to go with an island hopping iPhone app, in order to have a high value marketing gimmick.
Based on the old saying:
We have a lot of stuff why not trade them?
Instead of 1 to 1 trades, the team had the idea of creating circles of multiple swaps between an unlimited number of people. They plan on focusing initially on books and games swapping.
We did not had the chance to talk with the team during the entire weekend, but they delivered the most consistent presentation in our understanding. The idea is simple and builds on the proven concept of economy of exchangeable goods, as AirBnB indicates.
We only saw their 5 minute pitch on Sunday. Where were you guys hiding?
a platform that enables location based sharing/renting of various stuff
Fashion Fairy is your personal stylist. You upload photos of your clothes and Fashion Fairy suggest the best possible outfit combinations. In addition, it recommends clothes that you should add to your wardrobe.
Interesting idea from a very experienced and competent team, but with an open question on scaling, especially on the cloth recommendation service.
Yummy Mummy (Niobium Labs mobile innovation award)
The idea is to create an app that will help you find homemade food anytime, by connecting users and people who cook at home.
This is the most disruptive idea of the competition, therefore we have chosen these guys for the Mobile Innovation Award. We will comment in subsequent post on the concept of our verdict.
USEUM (First Place)
The winning team created a 2-way bridge between art lovers and artists. This web platform will help art enthusiasts discover emerging artists based on their artistic preferences. Vice versa, new artists can showcase their art to a broad audience.
Useum is the typical example of a solid idea with a prototype and traction that proves the business case that was sky-rocked from a clever marketing concept. The AR art preview app that the team build over the weekend was the marketing sparkle that transformed this idea from a boring community of weird art enthusiasts into a mainstream content sharing app with a glimpse of awesomeness. We will follow their progress in Berlin.
This team had a romantic mood. Their idea was to combine technology and romance, by enabling you sending recorder messages to your lover for Valentine’s Day.
What these guys pulled off in less than a weekends time is extraordinary. A fully functional service with awesome design and execution. Great product development from an awarded and proven team.
You can find more about the teams here
and something about the order: It's our suggestion if you want to enter the startup world, a suggestion based on the names and of the startups
- build your network and find people you can work with! create your personalStartupnetwrk
- Learn to code or find somenone that allready knows (we suggest you start learning anyhow)
- Kinect Life = move... take action
- Stop laying around coffe houses all day, orderro that coffee
- metoo? yes you can do it too
- You have be be responsible for your actions and have the abiliy to adapt. something like Respondability
- You may be smart, but you are not the smartest eksipnoteros
- some times simple is all you need, stay lean shopalyzer
- Instead of trying to look for resources/people talk about your idea and let other people find you Offerme
- keep only the necessary. Trade away anything that you don't need swapmapp
- use what is allready out there rentareto
- Do it in style Fashion fairy
- Do that and you might win Useum & Yummy Mummy
- Even if you don't succeed and end up failing, fail fast and fail by design at the end of the day, love is all you need Lovechirps