Startup Weekend. It’s the adrenaline-driven event that forces up and coming entrepreneurs to push through a business plan with absolutely zero downtime and develop a product that gets you, not just a pat on the back, but the best learning experience on how to get things done you could wish for.
Staying awake is the hardest part. For a continuous three days, lasting from Friday evening to almost midnight-Sunday, around 80 participants gathered together to formulate a business strategy and create a fully formed product ready for pitching.
Held at GridAKL, the event saw a total of twelve teams with vastly different ideas ranging from a “Startup School” platform to digital receipts. The final line up for the night included:
- Startup School – Training people in entrepreneurial skills so they can easily enter a startup as a founder or employee and leave their boring, unfulfilling job behind
- Printless – Digital receipts that make everyone's lives better
- Meet a Local – Connecting you to willing locals who show you the best of a city when travelling overseas
- Procrast – An app to help students stop procrastinating on their assignments and set themselves rewards and consequences
- Precious Sense – A device that protects toddlers from heat-related accidents in cars
- Artfe – Connecting artists to fans in public spaces
- Foodie.Me – Helping people with dietary requirements, especially self-inflicted, to find recipe inspiration
- In Five – Nurturing a curiosity in people with quirks to share
- ExpertEase – Finding experts online when you are stuck on something too specific for Google
- AnchorUp – An online marketplace connecting boat owners with boat enthusiasts wanting to rent a boat and explore the waves
- Share If U Dare! – Where young professionals help personal trainees grow their skills
- My Ad Space – An online marketplace for ad space
Artfé took out the top spot with their idea to produce a platform that puts art into public spaces. Taking art into the world and making it easy for people to appreciate (and purchase), it connects real work from artists and consumers by letting them see artwork outside of a gallery.
“Artfé curates artworks into places such as cafés and restaurants, and each [art] piece has a QR code or URL which takes people directly to the website. They can [then] order the art online straight away,” says Clegg.
“There were quite a lot of strong teams,” she says. “I didn’t actually think we were going to win.”
According to Clegg, the biggest challenge with the event was staying calm and focus with little rest, “just breathing, picking yourself up, and working through it all,” she says.
A first timer, Clegg wasn’t quite prepared for how much energy would be needed for the whole event, but ploughed in headfirst regardless, seeing it as a learning experience like none other.
“I’m not very good in networking situations in a room full of strangers, or public speaking,” Clegg says. She ended up as the “absolutely petrified” presenter for the group pitch on Sunday night, managing to impress the judges nonetheless.
Ultimately, Clegg says the event has been a learning experience that’s offered the chance for personal growth, rather than merely a competition weekend.
Now that she’s gone through it and come out the other side, Clegg has some advice for future attendees.
“You can’t cut corners or fudge anything,” she says. “Be really engaged and do things you wouldn’t normally do. Everyone is there to throw themselves into the deep end. Very few people actually know what they’re doing.”
All images curtesy of Startup Weekend Auckland