This weekend, over 50 budding and experienced tech entrepreneurs came together at Startup Camp Sydney 4 to build 10 new startups in a weekend.
The campers, most of who had never met before, were split into teams of 5 to go through the ideation, prototyping, launching and pitching of a business within 48 hours.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
It should be said that while the camp was for 48 hours in reality most of the work had been done in the first 24 hours in preparation for the launch session on Saturday night, making their efforts even more impressive
Organised by Startup Camp founder and boss Bart Jellema, with the help of Patrick Dreissen this time around, the purpose of Startup Camp is to act as “exercise for entrepreneurs”. The goal isn’t really to create 10 viable businesses, rather, the plan is to show people how much can be achieved if you just get started and focus and to expose entrepreneurs to good (and bad) habits so that they can take the lessons learned onto their other projects outside of the camp.
There is also the added benefit of acting as an intense bonding session between members of the startup community. I know as a participant in the first Start-up Camp Sydney , almost 2 years ago now, that I still keep in touch with many of the people I met on that weekend.
Even though this is entrepreneurial “practice” I was really impressed with the quality of the startups this time around. Even more impressive was the air of confidence and excitement in the room on Saturday night. Normally teams are dead quiet before the launch session, working hard to get projects to a presentable level – but not this time. Instead, teams were chatting amongst themselves and with each other and talk was not so much about technical details but the commercial side of the startups – business models / traffic models / market focus and so on.
It has to be said that if startup camp represents the standard of the local startup industry then we’ve matured immeasurably over the past few years helped, in no small part, by programs like this.
So let’s get to the startups (titles are clickable)
A much needed service, DealPinch is an aggregator of Groupon style deal of the day sites. There are a few reasons to choose DealPinch over signing up to every group buying site. First of all you can receive all the deals in a single email instead of having to subscribe to all the individual sites. Secondly, you can filter your interests so as to receive offers only for things you really want. I really liked DealPinch and see aggregation services like it becoming a key part of the increasingly massive group-buying ecosystem
iapps 4 me is a site that connects people who have problems that could be solved with an app, and developers who might want to create those apps. The reasoning is simple. You have an idea for an app but don’t have the skills and don’t have the desire to get the app made. With iapps4me you give away that idea in the hope that it will get made by someone who is capable. For developers there’s a market research tool built in where you can find out how many people might be interested in buying your app and what price they would be willing to pay
Uni Whiteboard aims to make it easier for students to share and collaborate on class notes. Students can also vote on notes and contributions. The site was created by a couple of uni students who obviously see a need for this type of service, so it should be interesting to see how it goes.
uInfluenceMe is positioning itself as an open competitor to things like LinkedIn recommendations. The site is incredibly simple, which forms a large part of its potential. Putting out a positive message about how someone has influenced you can be done in seconds. People who have been recommended can then display badges on their website or blog.
There’s also the option to put a call out for recommendations, something that I’m not sure I’m as much of a fan of, but that aside I’m digging the fact that the team has created a site that uses social media to share the love.
MyMedistats aims to help with the task of monitoring basic medical details like vaccination reminders, allergy information and so on. eHealth is becoming an incredibly crowded industry but MyMediStats aims to differentiate itself by focusing on specific parts of the the game and making the collection and sharing of that information as easy as possible.
Mix education and social gaming and you get GradeGame – a new site which aims to turn your grades into a game that not only sees you compete against classmates but also against other people in your year and across your whole university.
As one of the founders, Sean Marshall explaines “A student who is already achieving at a high level has very little incentive to push themselves for additional marks under the current system. By showing them that by scoring 2 additional marks they can improve their ranking within the course, students have that reason to try a little bit harder”.
Using the site is as easy as uploading the electronic transcript the uni sends out to students. Within seconds that information is turned into comparative data based on other students’ results.
At the moment the team is focused on allowing students to earn badges and awards, view leader boards and build a profile of their academic and non academic achievements while at university. The profiles students create will then be used to create a recruitment portfolio for their resumes, and to qualify students to tutor their peers in subjects in which they have received high marks.
As Seth Priebatsch said in his TEDx Boston “School is a game, It’s just not a terribly well designed game”. Word!
Polycloset is a site that taps into the unbelievable success of Polyvore, the online style and shopping website. Polyvore has a feature called “sets” which allows users to mix and match clothes on the site to create style collages. Users can also add in their own clothes to Polyvore but the process of taking pics, cutting out the clothes in those pics then uploading them can be beyond the skills of many people. That’s where Polycloset comes in.
For just 35c an item, the Polycloset team will do all the hard work of cutting out the actual clothes from your pictures for you creating what is essentially a digital closet. This also enables users to mix and match their existing clothes with clothes for sale on the Polyvore site.
Sounds like a much needed tool.
TrendingLimit is a social media monitoring service that focuses on keeping results simple and of high quality. They do this by focusing not on monitoring all the information on the net but just the important things. They do this by appointing field experts to ensure that only quality sources are being checked. Their theory is that “High quality sources results in high quality outputs, the information that’s actually worth knowing about.”
DateRate is an anonymous feedback tool for people who have been on a date.
Simple and quick to use, DateRate allows you to provide your dates with with short links to your profile, through which they can then rate you according to different criteria. The whole process takes your date 1-2 minutes and they will be incentivised and compensated through promotions the site aims to run.
DateRate compiles aggregate data which is randomized to protect the identity of dates people who have rated you.
Checking into FourSquare can be a pain sometimes. QRmeHere aims to make that easier for end users by using QR codes placed strategically around cafes/bars etc. so that checking in is as simple as using a QR code reader. The extra upside for the business is that they can embed a suggested message in the QR code e.g. “I’m at Bob’s Café where the coffees are the best in Sydney” so that not only are they more likely to get more check-ins but also more likely to get positive messages associated with those checkins.
There they are.
“Winner” on the investor pitch day was PolyCloset with 2ndplace going to QRmeHere and 3rdgoing to MyMediStats. Honourable mentions also went too DealPinch and DateRate
The “winners” in my mind were PolyCloset and Dealpinch because they left the startup camp as genuine businesses with potential (amazing that they could do that in what was essentially 1 day!)
Other than that I think Gradega.me has massive potential in that it’s at the intersection of a couple of huge trends and that uInfluence.me, while not having alot of business potential at the moment is a great example of the type of positive social entrepreneurship we’ll see more and more of in the future.
Congrats to all the teams as there were no dogs this time around. I’m keeping a close eye not only on their projects but the entrepreneurs who attended. Something tells me we’re going to be hearing a lot more from many of them over the coming years.
And if you’d like to check out videos from throughout the whole weekend, you can keep entertained for hours on the Startup Camp You Tube Channel