Here I am at my second Startup Weekend. Who am I? I am Katie Hooper, wife of Chris Hooper, the Godfather of the Adelaide Startup Scene. What do I do? I am a legal secretary and aspiring writer.
Firstly, what is Startup Weekend? When I explain it to people who are not a part of the Startup scene, I say “think of it as a reality TV show for entrepreneurs/business people” (side note: it would make for interesting TV viewing!).
It all starts with the Friday night pitches.
To kick off the night there are speeches by sponsors and other entrepreneurs. These speeches are always interesting and inspiring.
Dr Stephen Rodda, CEO of ITEK UniSA spoke about how Startup Weekend Adelaide is all about “celebrating entrepreneurship” and what makes them so special. They see things other people don’t and take risks. They listen learn and adapt. I can certainly see these traits in a lot of people I have come to know in the Adelaide Startup scene and in particular, in Chris Hooper.
Paul Smith ANZ bank small business manager spoke about how ANZ is helping support local entrepreneurs by lending $1 billion to local start-ups. He brought up a valid point that banks and lenders have a corporate responsibility to invest in entrepreneurs. I totally agree with this, entrepreneurs are our future business leaders and it is fantastic that they are now getting the support from the community and other business. Interestingly 70% of startup applications to ANZ are approved.
Finally there was Ned Moorfield, Co-Founder of GoCatch, which was described as being the “Tinder for taxis”. He had some valuable insight, having launched the GoCatch app. He gave some great advice to the participants, the best I think being “listen to feedback from other participants and mentors”. As with anything, I believe that it is important to listen to feed back or constructive criticism. Not only will it make your endeavour more successful, but I believe it makes us better people. I also liked the last little nugget of advice he gave, “be clear on how to make money” and “choose something that matters”. At the end of the day, we do need to earn a living but we should still be able to make that living in a way that is fulfilling.
After the speeches it was time for the exacting part, the pitches!
Participants have only 60 seconds to pitch an idea or app and what talent that need to make it happen. The spectators then get to decide which idea will go ahead by picking three of their favourites. Once the votes are in, the pitchers get to pick their teams. Let the chaos begin! Once teams are picked they have until Sunday to put together a minimal viable product and a presentation.
It is fair to say that very little sleep is had by the participants. As always, there were some great pitches. It was difficult to vote for only three! In the end I decided on:
- Harry Schiff – A late night hotel bookings app. So many times people get caught out on a Saturday night and drink a bit too much to be able to drive. Wouldn’t it be great if they could just check in to a hotel? The hotels would win as they would fill up rooms that would otherwise remain empty. Everyone wins!
- Sarah Davies and Lyndal Sterenberg – Get Staffed, an app that connects hospitality workers with jobs.
- Peter Martzios – Runaround, a running app that has local running trails.
I am really looking forward to the presentations on Sunday night and seeing what the teams are able to come up with! Best of luck to them all!