After a frantic weekend of coding, networking, sleeplessness and brushing up on presentation skills, the winner of Startup Weekend London is Pollarize.me. Sunday night saw 18 presentations of wonderful ideas all competing for the opportunity to be fast-tracked into Telefonica’s incubator, Wayra.
Matthew Munro on behalf of the winning team was giggling with exhaustion and excitement, “We didn’t even hear our names, we thought we had’t won. We’re really, really excited!”
Pollarize.me is a simple way to create an A/B question and distribute it to friends across all social networks. A handy tool in a start polling situation or even to help make simple decisions about daily questions. We’ve seen similar polling applications in the past, like Quipol but the rapid prototyping of Pollarize.me within a single weekend impressed us all. It was a decisive product, well presented and perfectly formed for presentation.
On Friday evening around 130 people gathered at Google’s new Campus in East London. By the end of the event nerves had disappeared through networking and the quiet chatter of the event’s opening had become a roar of enthusiasm.
The hot-house process of having to create something so quickly meant that the campus had a real buzz around it through the final afternoon. Prototypes were created and participants were running through their final presentations.
The intense working environment clearly ensured that a mass of ideas was distilled into a selection of amazing pitches. The final few included ideas to recycle pacemakers, new ways with the mobile wallet, a fresh take on mobile calendars, social organisation, ethical trading and dynamic games environments that could be edited on the fly.
We had a tricky task on the judging panel, but the pitches not only carried the message of the new products, they were also very entertaining.
Deborah Rippol is the European coordinator of Startup Weekend, “In the past 54 hours, people came here, had an idea, pitched it, worked their asses off and then pitched in front of a jury which chose the one with the most ability to forward. The magic happens when people mingle and realise that they can build something with strangers. They are like-minded people and I think there is real chemistry.”
Campus learning environment
The new Google Campus really lends itself to the weekend’s activity. The right combination of inspiring space, working zones and presentation area meant that the event appeared to run like clockwork.
Eze Vidra is the head of Campus at the Google venue clearly enjoyed the event, “I’m really excited to see the Campus populated in the first event we have had here. We’re all about supporting community and helping facilitate innovation.
“I was one of the coaches and judges here. I really liked seeing the progress between Friday and today. There were so many original pitches, then on Saturday people were just really confused. By Sunday though, I was amazed at the quality of the prototypes.”
It was a privilege to join the judges at Startup Weekend London. Though it was a serious decision to make and my fellow adjudicators thrashed out the process with surprisingly little bloodshed, it was also a lot of fun. To see creative entrepreneurs in action is inspirational and I can’t wait to see many of the projects surge ahead in the coming year, finding their own way.
If you missed this event, fear not. You can test your entrepreneurial and development mettle again soon. The next Startup Weekend is in June, find out more on the Startup Weekend London website.