When an investor asks what pain your product pitch is solving, he probably doesn’t expect to hear back that scumbags are on city buses. They drink, are obnoxious and often urinate down the back.
There is little the driver can do since he is downstairs driving the double-decker bus. Now with the advent of wifi on Dublin Bus, one entrepreneur hopes to develop an app for other passengers to report the vandalism while it is still in progress.
The idea was just one of 14 selected for development between now and Sunday evening in this year’s Startup Weekend. This is a whirlwind of coding, business development and marketing aimed at getting ideas to fruition in 54 hours.
Tickets were sold out for the Dublin event and there were over 100 in attendance.
The format is simple: Anyone who bought a ticket could make a pitch at the start of the event. Thirty-eight opted to do so. Mobile apps featured prominently, and the Cloud also got plenty of mentions. The pitches were restricted to one minute each and participants were held strictly to that time limit.
To get people warmed up, though, the organizers ran a game of “half baked.” The audience first brainstormed random words. Then everyone was broken in to teams of 12, given two words each, and told to pitch a business idea based on the words allocated.
Fun stuff and a great way to break the ice.
One team got “jumping” and “tomatoes,” for example. They decided to make a mobile app that would alert people when someone else with the app was nearby. Then they could take each other on in a game of impromptu “jumping tomatoes.” A new way to meet people and build online and offline networks.
Another group got “fruit” and “Jedward,” hyperactive singing and dancing Irish twins, John and Edward Grimes. The twins inspire equal measures of awe and horror in non-teenage folk. The entrepreneurial group’s idea was to emulate the way the goodness of fruit is turned in to smoothies and bottling the twins’ energy by pulping them.
Yet another team got “panties” and “brick.” They decided to build a site that would sell custom-designed underwear for discerning women. There would be a number of designs and styles to choose from. After talking through that aspect, the pitcher concluded, “Then with the brick, we are going to sell bricks.”
Suitably warmed up, those looking to progress their real ideas were ready to pitch.
Some of the ideas accepted for progression were a wedding planner, an app to help improve the urban environment, an artificial intelligence engine for computer gaming, online publishing in the Cloud, online health management and an online version of Startup Weekend.
Then there was an last-minute decision by one guy. His was the final pitch. He stood up and asked for votes on an app. It would be called “jumping tomatoes.” No luck there, however.
Photo of Dublin buses courtesy of Des Ó Murchú on Flickr.