The latest edition of Startup Weekend took place this past weekend at The Alley in New York City. It was an awesome weekend that saw over 200 attendees, 52 pitches and 15 teams. If you’re unfamiliar with Startup Weekend, it’s a global hackathon focused on gathering aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch ideas, form teams, present to a panel of judges and potentially move forward with the next startup sensation.
This weekend we saw a wide array of interesting ideas. The sharing economy was a big theme lead by Linesnapp and Grazer which are profiled below. Giftbo aims to help boyfriends around the world do a little better at picking the right gift for their significant others for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Glimpse wants to be the snapchat for text messages, developing a clever method for sending “destructible” texts showing one word at a time, making it impossible to screenshot but in a manner that is still easy to read. MyUserName got the unofficial award for the most fun presentation with their funny but surprisingly relevant idea of helping new parents to secure their newborn’s social media names now, instead of years down the road. And Cupple Hub aims to help couples find other like minded couples for activities around town in an online dating type experience.
Teams presented to a panel of judges including Charlie O’Donnell, Partner at Brooklyn Ventures, Liz Crawford, CTO of Birch Box, Wendell Lansford, CEO of Offerpop and Hilary Gosher, Managing Director at Insights Venture Partners. Teams got about ten minutes to present, including some time left over for Q&A from the judges. After seeing all of the demos (and breaking for a hearty Italian dinner served in the main room) the judges gathered to discuss what they saw and selected the three winners:
Cultivated Cup is a b2b solution, enabling coffee growers to sell directly to roasters, cutting out the middle man which streamlines the entire process to be more efficient, benefiting everyone from the farmers all the way down to the consumer level.
Here in New York, we love our take out, but the same handful of go to spots nearby can get a little redundant. Grazer is a mobile application that enables locals to sell their specialty dishes directly from their kitchens to other locals looking for a unique dining experience. As opposed to other new startups like Share your Meal, which focuses more on hosting dinner parties for a price, Grazer aims to cultivate an entirely new way to discover culinary gems but still have the convenience and comforts of eating a home cooked meal at your own home. Simply launch the app and see who is cooking what around you. Easily place an order, receive a confirmation with the address and head on over to pick it up. Cooks and customers are vetted through Facebook authentication, ratings and Grazer’s own inspectors, making sure that everyone is participating in a clean, safe and highly enjoyable experience. This could really evolve into a product that eventually has it’s own food magazine, helps aspiring chefs to build a business, facilitates packaging and branding for their cooks, etc.
We all hate long lines. It’s a problem and the guys behind Linesnapp think that they have the solution. As the 1st place winner, the judges believe they do too, with two of the four immediately admitting that they would use this app if successfully launched. Linesnapp enables people currently waiting on line who don’t want to or need someone to get somewhere ahead of time and wait on line for them to find “snappers” in the area who are willing to take the job. While some currently use a service like Task Rabbit or Fiverr for this sort of thing, Linesnapp is building an entire service specifically customized for tackling this problem making it a much easier and more efficient user journey on both sides. Similar to Lyft, users will earn credits redeemable for partner products or possibly cash, how much depending on how long you waited on line. Could this eventually scale into a new type of delivery and/or messenger service? Could it evolve into the go to event discovery app to find out the kind of stuff happening that is worthy of such a line? Maybe…Linesnapp will first focus on the clear problem and clear solution, then go from there.
All in all it was an amazing weekend, per usual for Startup Weekend. We’ll keep an eye on some of these exciting ventures and look forward to seeing lots of success.