Launch a business in 54 hours by meeting a group of people with different skills – developers, designers, business dudes. That sounded like a good way for me to get out of my daily routine and see what others are doing in the city. So I attended the Startup Weekend Gurgaon which happened from the 11-13 of November 2011 (gurgaon.startupweekend.org).
Everyone who had an idea pitched. They did it in front of those attending and then the people attending voted on the top 15. Once the top 15 ideas were picked, teams were formed to build a prototype over the weekend. I pitched the idea of creating an app for cricketers. What problem would it solve? It would make tracking performances amongst all players and teams easy and fun. How would it make money? This is where I was not very clear! So despite getting the third highest votes (13; the first team got 22 and the second team got 15) I was unable to get interest from any developer or designer.
An idea without a clear path to profit is not a business, its a hobby.
And I was certainly trying to work on my hobby instead of creating a business. So I let go of my idea to support a team of developers who were very excited about what they wanted to create but did not have the votes to do so. This all happened on Friday night.
Throughout Saturday and the better part of Sunday everyone was developing a prototype. On Sunday night, another round of pitches happened but this time the ones who were voting were a panel of judges from different walks of life – businessmen, venture capatilists, organisers and the like. Everyone who pitched got a bunch of goodies from mobile phones to tablets and a trip to Singapore. Our team got a book – “The Entrepreneurship’s Guide to Customer Development; A cheat sheet to the 4 steps to the Epiphany” which I was super happy about!
The top few teams actually go on to pitch their idea again at a Global level. I found the two teams which did win the first 2 prizes very promising. One was called “JuntaJunction” and aims to solve the problem of finding blue collar workers using an IVR voice system. I think executing this would be a tough task! The second team called their idea “Painless” and want to make finding, scheduling and rating doctors easy. This second idea is the one which I found promising; it is executable, will bring accountability to doctors as well as solve a big issue of finding good ones.
So going back to my question: Is it worth attending Startup Weekends?
YES! Despite the obvious mismatch in the skill set of people attending (50 ideas were pitches, 100 attended, there were very few developers and even fewer desginers) the end result was still very promising. It is a great platform to meet people, build relationships and get out of your daily bubble to see what else is going on in the world around you.
Approach networking as a means to building great relationships irrespective of what that relationship brings to you. Your network should not be a means to an end but an end in itself.
I am attending my second Startup Weekend (delhi.startupweekend.org/) from the 9th-11th of December 2011