My objective of this article is to save my thoughts on what I had experienced during this meetup. DAY-01 –
- EVENT 101: COMING TO KNOW ABOUT STARTUP-WEEKEND
TLDR: Came to know of the event through meetup android app I am a user of meetup.com and they have their android app which keeps sending notifications regarding the events. So, on that good friday, I got a notification regarding this event. I browsed the website to get more information on the event. As I was reading their articles, I became very interested in their well-planned agenda. For me, this would be the first startup event for which I would be going. I had always wanted to be part of a space where people discuss innovative ideas and build the solution and experience the wonder. As I was browsing their website, I felt: This is it. I have to go. I was happy enough, called one of the organizers of the event, clarified my doubts regarding the event, registered for the event as a hacker. (They had categorized participants of the event as: Hustler (Business), Hacker (Coding), Designer(UI)). I assumed that I would be late, just hurried and reached Paypal office in Shollinganallur. I was happy to reach on time and just registered again at the entrance.
- EVENT 102: GAME OF PITCHING IDEAS BASED ON RANDOM WORDS
Participants from various background, company, colleges had come. Organizers had a beautiful way to boost all of them and get together as a team. Sequentially, participants would shout some random word, all these were collected. Teams were formed. Each team had to select set of words and had to come up with an idea and pitch. And all this had to be done within 5 minutes. Pitching of ideas to be done in 1 minute. Everyone had to come out of shyness, just participate, share ideas, collect them, fit them into some common theme, build it up and try to showcase it to audience.
- EVENT 103: PITCHING IDEAS RELATED TO FINTECH
Now starts the real part. People are encouraged to think of ideas related to FinTech. Pitch the idea to the audience within 1 minute time. Best part of this event is the extent to which ideas can grow. You can watch people sharing ideas, opening new dimensions to your thought process. I also got encouraged to think of an idea, which was made almost on the spot. Some awesome ideas were shared regarding financial literacy, money management, loan sensing etc, just to name a few.
- EVENT 104: CHART PRESENTATION OF IDEAS and VOTING
Each participant who pitched an idea was given a chart to present that idea with some blueprint of the flow. It would contain few bullet points which will cover the business model of that idea. Who are the key resources, participants in the scenario. People can cast a vote on a particular idea by putting a sticker on the chart.
- EVENT 104: FORMATION OF TEAMS
The top ten ideas based on the number of votes were selected. Each person was asked to come on stage and present his team requirements, whether he needed a business person or a hacker or a UX person or a strategist. Whoever is interested in an idea will join the team. A well-planned buffet-style dinner was arranged. Networking of people resumed. Participants get to meet other participants who run companies, startups, growth-specialists, marketing specialists. A good opportunity to meet people and network and share ideas. DAY-02 –
- EVENT 201: TEAM DISCUSSION
Even though people are clueless regarding the practical nature of the idea, this is the interesting part, things become clearer. The idea is ripped apart, what are the different use-cases related to the idea? Whether it would be used on a daily basis? The idea is added with more layers, more features.
- EVENT 202: MEETING MENTORS
The best part of startup weekend is an opportunity to meet mentors, present the ideas, get questioned by them, get their encouragement. Some of the mentors were already running startup companies. They have already gone through the experience. The way they see the other side of the ideas are amazing. The experience of mentors adds up a lot of value to the thinking process of the team towards solidification of the idea/ liquidification of idea, or creation of another idea from scratch. They provide new lenses to look through the ideas. You get to learn a lot while interacting with the mentors. Some of the mentors are also investors. There was one participant who later told that what he had learnt for months together in his college, he learnt them in few days as part of startup weekend.
- EVENT 203: VALIDATION OF IDEAS –> PIVOTING
As ideas get validated, we will come to realize whether the product would stand in the market, be well received, be engaging or not. The process of validation of ideas with the mentors and with the other participants allows us to have a kind of mini-survey and we realize that we need to pivot. I assume many of the startup companies would have pivoted from their initial idea and I am sure there would have been more pivoting.
- EVENT 204: LET THE HACKING BEGIN
Some of the teams started with building a prototype for the idea, even to the extent of creating an android app or a web app. DAY-03
- EVENT 301: BUSINESS MODELLING
Each team had to prepare business modelling for their product. They were given a business modelling canvas, which basically had some columns with various points like: Key Partners, Value Proposition, Customer Relationships, Revenue streams, Cost Structure etc. This canvas was very handy to be used to create a presentation of the product. These are the key parameters for business creation which had to be kept in mind. Business Modelling Canvas
- EVENT 302: MEETING MENTORS
We got to meet different set of mentors. Again this was an opportunity to discuss the possibilities of the product. How it would be used by different age-groups? Whether it would help a family to solve a problem which they face on a day-to-day basis? Whether it would help a unorganized retailer to solve his problem at a low infrastructural cost? Whether it would redefine the way people spend, pay, save money? These were some of the discussions we had.
- EVENT 304: PRESENTATION CREATION, MOCKUPS
This is another interesting part of the event where team get together and create a presentation which would be pitching of ideas in front of judges. What info has to be put into the slides, what should be the name of the app/product? What should be revenue model for the product? What is the launch plan? What is 1-year plan? What is 2-years plan for the product? What is the team structure? How do you plan to catch the audience? All these ideas were thought of and put in the presentation. Mockups of the app/product were created so that demo can be shown during presentation.
- EVENT 305: PITCHING BEFORE INVESTORS
Here’s the final interesting part. Teams pitching their ideas before judges. Judges coming with lots of experience. They know the market in and out. They know the emerging startups. They are aware of product-stragegy, product-innovation. This was a right place for startup-enthusiasts to present their product ideas to the judges. Their response and their feedback adds a lot of value to the whole participation.
- EVENT 306: PHOTO SESSION
Take-away points from the event:-
- Learnings from the organizers
Maintain feel good factor for the participants. Keep up the energy and enthusiasm of the participants. People Engagement is important. Gamification of the event is in their hands.
- Learnings from the participants
Have energy and enthusiasm. Communicate. Whatever the idea maybe, however it might be, just discuss. Meet people, Take initiative. Dance :). Be creative. Be innovative. There are lots of awesome tools waiting to be used. For example, prezy, mockit, fluid-ui etc.
- Learnings from mentors
Are you trying to solve a problem faced by people? How frequently this problem being faced by people? What is the level of pain of this problem faced by people? How do you foresee whether this idea is replicable or not? How do you make money out of your product?
- Learnings from judges/investors
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Be clear. Be concise. Be focused. How do you differentiate yourself from other ideas/solutions? Are you creating a value from your idea/startup? Investors have very finite time to listen to pitches, so be very clear about the problem you are trying to solve, while presenting. The situation now in the startup space is very encouraging for any person with determination. This was not how it was few years ago. Thanks to Paypal which provided a space for this event.