Posts Tagged ‘startupweekend’

Startup Weekend Day 3 – 60 sec pitch, Customer Validation, Business Value, Wrap Up and Lessons Learnt

Day 3 of the weekend was entirely focused on validating the target customers, revenue numbers, business models and completing the proof of concepts for the pitches to the judges at the end of the day.

How did the morning begin, well we found out that we did not have to develop a platform as there was one tried and tested platform, so it would make it easier for the team to develop a proof of concept. This also opened up an alternate revenue stream for implementation and hosting which was really great as that was one big business risk.

We also had a great discussion with one of the mentors, Sean Krepp of Grameen Foundation, who is currently involved in a lot of data collection and monitoring, on the business models, value propositions, risks and how to laser focus on a customer problem.

Dry Run for Final Pitch

Dry Run for Final Pitch

The strange thing about Day 3 – Sunday was that the energy levles were ebbing towards empty as the timelines etched towars the finish line. The first checkpoint was at 12 noon where we had to present the first draft of the final pitch presentation to the mentors who were around as a “dry run”. Thank God for the mentors because they were relentless in their pursit of information, updates, validation of customers, revenue models and business justification.

The afternoon was slow as we got all ready for the presentations with finalizing the documentation for the presentation. We emptied the rooms and organized the ares for the last pitch. Well finally the judges arrived, and it was with great fanfare that the final pitches began, and of course Databud was the first off the tracks, and we had a great time “first presenters” always do.

The Guest of Honor, Hon. Ham Mulira, arrived during the pitches, and from my vantage point seemed to enjoy the energy and vitality that was going on. He seemed to be going back in time to when he was younger I think, coding in C on those UNIX machines.

Databud Final Pitch to Judges

Databud Final Pitch to Judges

Well after the speeches, the judges went to to deliberate and we had a few words from the Guest of Honor. Just as Hon. Ham Mulira was getting up, one of our mentors, Reinier Battenberg, did a Kanye West, and asked the attendees in the room to give the lead organizer, Richard Zulu, a round of applause for organizing such an event and being such a community leader.

Hon. Ham Mulira was eloquent, in touch with the times and gave a great rendition of his days, but his take away quote as “You do not have to be great to be start, but you have to start to be great”. After he introduced two of his guests, great manners for a big man.

Once the speeches were done it was time to wait for the judges to come back and announce the top three apps of the evening which were Sonda, MyZiki and BetOM.

While we may not have won we had a great time, for me it was a great learning experience and a once-in-a-lifetime event. Of course now I will be attending hackathlons and similar events whenever I can get a chance to improve and further develop my skills.

Final Pitch to Judges - Front View

Final Pitch to Judges – Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE:

Follow the experiences from the first two days at:

  1. Startup Weekend Kampala – Day 1 – Ideas, Pitches, Teams
  2. Startup Weekend Day 2 – Platform, Mentors, Coding, Product Positioning, Decisions during Execution

 

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Startup Weekend Day 2 – Platform, Mentors, Coding, Product Positioning, Decisions during Execution

Day 2 started well, but what I can say is that it was a rollercoaster of a day I must say with ups and downs but well here it is. The day started early as there was a lot of energy from the night before, I got to the venue by 8:00am checked in and setup my laptop as I waited for my team mates to arrive.

The plan of the day was to develop a navigable prototype as a proof of concept that this is possible. Once I had a cup of caffeine, oh yes so much of this stuff is needed for such events that a dedicated coffee maker is inevitable … it was off to meet the mentors who were moving around and talking to the different teams.

The first mentors, Reinier Battenberg and Deborah Elzie, offered the first blow of the day, we were not the only players in the market and a new player had just launched 3 weeks prior to the startup weekend and they had lotsa datasets. This was the first crushing blow to our flight in the clouds, however on talking with other mentors the advice we got was “differentiate yourselves from the competition” – now this is the beauty of having mentors around because they help you navigate the valleys as you find them.

Well back to work we went, as we prepared for the 12noon checkpoint with renewed energy. The focus of the 12noon checkpoint was to practice the 60 second pitch, and sent targets for the 4pm checkpoint. This checkpoint provides a valuable status check from the “code product” to focus on the business model, value proposition, revenue and cost projections, etc … basically the business side of the apps.

Well it was back to work code, revenue models, more research on how to differentiate ourselves from the competition. Between noon and 4pm, all I can say is the rooms were intense with coding, thinking planning, etc.

In summary Day 2 was execute on the run, re-think and refine while on the run. What an experience … we worked long and hard into the night getting ready for the final sprint towards the finish line …

UPDATE:

Follow the action for Day 1 and Day 3 at:

  1. Startup Weekend Kampala – Day 1 – Ideas, Pitches, Teams
  2. Startup Weekend Day 3 – 60 sec pitch, Customer Validation, Business Value, Wrap Up and Lessons Learnt

Startup Weekend Kampala – Day 1 – Ideas, Pitches, Teams

This was my first time at a Startup Weekend or a Hackathon so I was looking forward to the experience and to see what really goes on under the hood at this event. So why was I here, well I have had this idea brewing in my head for a long time and so I decided why not take a shot at it and see what it is.

The idea was an “opendata” platform similar to Google Public Data (http://www.google.com/publicdata/directory) and lack of any government initiatives in Uganda leaves an opportunity for such an intervention.

I got to the venue at 4pm, started mingling with the people who were already there, some whom I had met the previous night at the Google Sponsored Pre-Event Bootcamp ( http://startupweekend.org/google/google-sw/) whose focus was Gaming on Android. As more people walked in the energy in the room became intense, with excitement, “geek” words flying left right and center, and a concentration of geek activities, game consoles out, rock music, movies as we waited for the “festivities” to begin.

The introductions were led by Richard Zulu, GTUG lead, and there were presentations by Ben Maina, CEO Rupu Limited who provided excellent ideas for how to manage startup growth based on lessons from a stratup then Apiyo Laboke, Mara Foundation on how startups can receive support from VCs.

Nextup were 60 second pitches for the different ideas available, well being my first time, I decided to go first with the Databud pitch. 60 seconds is a very short time and I was not able to complete my pitch, but it seemed to be well received. There were 34 additional pitches made by the end of the evening.

Next step was voting for the pitches, where each attendee was given 3 stick-it notes to place on the projects they are interested in. This was the moment of truth for the product pitches since those without sufficient votes would be whittled down … Of the 35 pitches available only 16 were selected to move forward ….

Now that the work was done, the next step was to attract teams of which DataBud attracted 3 members and we were ready to get to work …

Unfortunately we lost Internet connectivity and so there ended Day 1 … It was exciting, high tension and now crunch time …

UPDATE:
Follow the rest of the days actions at

  1. Startup Weekend Day 2 – Platform, Mentors, Coding, Product Positioning, Decisions during Execution
  2. Startup Weekend Day 3 – 60 sec pitch, Customer Validation, Business Value, Wrap Up and Lessons Learnt
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