Friday night featured 24 pitches – that’s 33% of attendess pitching. We had everything from Airbnb clones to time travelling iPhone Apps, but by the end of Friday, we voted to keep the top 12 pitches, and only 10 teams were formed. However, it seemed some ideas were too strong to be voted out of the weekend, as by Saturday afternoon we were back up to thirteen teams again!
The teams worked throughout the weekend – Pascal and Emeric pulled all nighters with the 15 or so who had brought their sleeping bags – and mentors spent a good amount of time with the team. The hashtagbattle raged on and #swpa was strong in the twitterverse! Finally, on Sunday night, it was time for the pitchfire. People were nervous, but every team pitched their progress – CoVoiturage CEO Fred Mazzella sat in the audience watching along with Kauffman Foundation representative Karen Wilson.
The Jury Members agreed that the level of quality in the pitches was fantastic – the high developer/designer-to-Business/Marketing ratio meant that almost every pitch had a demo to give, some even had live products. At the end of the day, though, it was the teams that utilized their biz guys that really stepped out in front of the rest.
First Place – DropSend
Not to be confused with the actual DropSend, this group of developpers created a product in a weekend that blew everyone away. Their goal was simple: one-click file transfer. Demo-ing their product, they showed how users would have a list of recipient resembling an AIM friends list, which always rested in the background on your desktop (not as an icon, but as a hidden tool bar). Dragging a file onto their name would automatically send that file to the recipient. From the recipient end, if the user were online he would be asked to accept the file – if online, the file would be stored online until the user came online, at which moment he would be asked to accept the file. The product worked, it was simple, and it seemed a few of the judges saw the value – even jury member David Bizer admitted that HackFWD is very interested in the team, and other tech-oriented teams like this.
Second Place – TravellingDucks
A fusion of a DojoBoost startup (UglyDuckings) and a project idea (Time Travelling Apps), Travelling Ducks risked it all with a live demo that ultimately didn’t work. Though the jury got to look at the live demo on an actual iPhone, the group spent most of the time talking about their app, which engages children/families in stories around the tourist attractions they visit. Using the Porte de Saint Martin as their first monument, located just 50 meters from DojoBoost, the app recounts an interesting tale of the history of the Porte. While content creation is a difficult business, the jury seemed to agree that there was room in the tourism market for a smartphone app that will keep children complacent while parents explore.
Third Place – MeetAdvisor
Mal-branded as a “stalker app” (a quote from one the jury members), the team proposed two series which “encouraged serendipity” (another quote from the jury). As a dating service, the app proposed two completely different services for men and women. For women, the app provided discount drinks at partner bars around the city – for Men, the services proposed to keep track of how many women were at different bars around the city. While the women never sign up and thus remain anonymous, the idea is “we put you in the same room together, and you do the rest.” While the jury thought the presentation needed to be adjusted, the idea seemed sound enough and well thought out.
All the teams at the event were offerred legal and financial services in the creation of their company by DojoBoost; already, four of the teams have come forward looking to take advantages of the services.
While this event was great, we think the next one will be even better. Some of our mentors, like Wessel Kooyman from Cole Street, stayed all weekend, and decided to get more involved with the next event in May as an Organizer. We hope to encourage this model of keeping mentors all weekend – though we know not everyone is willing to spend all weekend at an event, the benefit from the teams is 10-fold.