Guest Blog by Steve Seow:
Let me start by saying that I am confident we broke 2 records as far as Startup Weekend is concerned 🙂
Startup Weekend was held recently in Building 36 right here in Redmond campus and approximately 140 attendees, hailing from as “far” as Vancouver, signed up. There predominantly business and technical folks, with less than a dozen designers. As usual, yours truly served as a tech/business mentor, timekeeper, and janitor (because the room was booked with my name). The event kicked off with a talk by Charlie Kindel, former Microsoft GM with Windows Phones.
By my count, over 50 initials ideas were pitched which whittled down to 17 teams, with a wide variety of ideas, including one that borders prostitution L. Here’s a quick scoop on the team and a synopsis of their MVP:
- YouValueM. Compensating users for the data various organizations want from them.
- Builders Cloud. A marketplace for subcontractors, focused on services needed for construction projects.
- Savvy Therapist. Making the drudgery of running a private practice easy.
- Uncomplicated Chef. Kits with all you need to make a great meal – premarinated meat and everything! Or meal planning and shopping lists. We’ll see.
- CrowdStarters. Using crowdsourcing/crowdfunding to help people.
- Small Town USA. Helping you explore nearby small communities – itineraries ready to rock!
- ActivitySpark. Finding outdoor activities, sharing them with your friends, and tracking them over time.
- Beat Machine. Manage the energy of your workout with music – custom beat-matched high-energy mixes.
- Kyra + Friends. Fixing the problems with Groupon and the other deal sites. Friends using their social groups to get deals.
- Carpool Karma. An app addressing the pain of managing a carpool.
- Save Gramps. A mashup of Fruit Ninja and Brain Age.
- How[Bout]Coffee? Because scheduling coffee is difficult. Especially in person, looking at that phone.
- NewsKoala. Nuff said.
- Room 4 Ted. Making conferences a bit cheaper by making use of that second bed in your conference hotel room.
- Volunteer Around Me. Got a few minutes? Use this app to help you find a charitable use of your time, right now, near you.
- KasBuy. Upgrading Craigslist to make it more useful and more modern.
The winning team was Carpool Carma. Coming in second and third are Peaclo and Beat Machine. Additionally, two breadth seed Windows Phone 7 devices were used as prizes for the best two teams that uses the WP7 platform in their solution. The winners of the devices are Save Gramps and HowBoutCoffee
There is obviously a bias towards Microsoft technologies given that anywhere from 25 to 30% of the attendees are current Microsoft FTE, contractors, or vendors, and roughly 15 to 25% are former Microsoft employees. That said, there were teams that didn’t have any Microsoft representation but yet delivered a WP7 app (SmallTown USA, for example)
- The first record was that we may just very well have the first Windows 8 app demo’ed in a startup Weekend event! YouValue.Me came up with an interesting solution to monetize the way we give away personal information.
- The second record is that we have a startup weekend with the highest number of Windows Phone 7 demos: 7. This is largely due to the availability of two seed devices that was utilized as prizes. SaveGramps and How[bout]Coffee won the two WP7 devices, and the rest were encouraged to get in touch with me to discuss possibilities of getting seed devices. All non-winning teams came forward.
Here’re screenshots of some of the WP7 apps:
Post event sentiments are very positive and attendees, by show of hands, want to have more events like this at Microsoft. Here’s a sample of some of the earlier feedback:
– Attendee from Vancouver: “When I found out that the event was going to be at Microsoft, I knew it would be nice, so I didn’t mind driving down.”
– Rahul Sood, co-founder, VooDoo PC, GM at IEB, and judge at the event:
– Startup Weekend Org: