Startup Weekend Report: Friday

I should be asleep right now….but I’m too excited about my team and our idea to sleep right now. I’m also inspired to share the experience for those of you that can’t make it:

Friday was a really fun night.  Pizza, beer and good networking started off the night.  After a healthy hour of that , we all sat down for some introductions by the founder and some key people in the audience.  Marc Nager, the organizer of the event, went through all the great sponsors (yes, Greenhorn is one…but the help I gave is nothing compared to the amazing donations by Microsoft, Sun,  and some others) and talked a little about how the event would go.  Then, he introduced us all to Shawn Broderick of TechStars and gave awesome State official, Jason Schupbach, a chance to speak. Jason was kind enough to give a plug to Greenhorn Connect as the resource hub for local entrepreneurs.  A lot of people approached me at the next open portion of the event, specifically because of what he said, so thanks, Jason! After all those intros, we got into the ideas…

It started with about 20 people raising their hands saying they wanted to pitch ideas, but by the end, 31 ideas were pitched.  We had everything from a yard/garage sale app to a meeting scheduling tool to plug in to emails to a custom, crowd-sourced label maker for alchohol to a video game, that according to the presenter, gets you “high”.  After all those pitches, we had to narrow it down, so we were given 30 minutes to go talk to those that pitched before “voting.”

In true entrepreneur fashion, we voted with our proverbial “wallets.”  Marc gave us each $2 we could put in any envelope(s) we chose (each idea had an envelope).  Money was then tallied and given to the pitchers.  With the money in hand they were congratulated for getting “your first investment.”  People were then instructed to find their team.  I started out talking to a team that had a couple of my friends and fellow Darties on it that was related closely to the interests of Greenhorn.  However, the lure of the idea that really stood out as the only one totally meeting my criteria was too much and I jumped over to work with them.

My criteria for picking the company to work with was very simple:
A) Clear way to make money from the start
B) An idea that could be broken down enough to create a nice demo/alpha in the weekend

So the idea that worked best for that I felt was the Media Release Date Aggregate. Their pitch was simple, yet brilliant: We all have favorite movies, artists and authors whose release of their work we anticipate greatly. It’s a chore to manage and stay aware of when those are coming out (I currently manually input them in a special google calendar, which is tedious).  So, their solution is a site that pulls it all together in one place. You just mark what you’re interested in and they let you know when it’s out.  Revenue can come from 2 great channels: 1) big studios and labels can promote their items on the site to targeted customers and 2) Users will be given links to buy their movie tickets, go to amazon and buy the book/cd, etc (landing a sweet referral fee).  Appreciating the simplicity and definitely being a potential customer has me sold.

Our team was on fire as soon as we met; we formed a team quickly and ran off to chat and eventually took over a white board and started ironing a lot out in just a little time.  We  have a great spread of talent too…4 developers, 3 business/social media people and a lawyer.  I can’t wait to see what we do.  As I write this, I just got a sample home page mock up from one of the developers. That’s when you know you have a great idea…you can’t help yourself but pour in ideas.

I’ll try to tweet out a few things as we progress tomorrow and write a report tomorrow night, so stay tuned. You can follow my tweets @GreenhornBoston and @Evanish.

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