My airplane lands in Rygge and I start to hitchhike my way to Oslo. The next day I’m at the Startup Weekend #3! This is the story of this awesome weekend!
1. ID Card
- Statup Weekend Oslo #SWOslo
- 47 attendees
- 9 teams
- 7 coaches & mentors
- About 70% Male & 30% Female
- Average age: 25 (the youngest I ever seen so far)
- 40% Norvegian people
Foreigners were indeed more numerous. Maybe Norvegiens don’t really care about those kinds of event. Anyways, the multiculturality was great! I met people from Norway, Germany, India, Hungary, Czech Rep, Bulgaria, Romania, France, USA, Italia, Mexico, and Russia. It’s the first time I see such diversity!! J
However, the diversity in term of skills wasn’t as great! As always, business people were more numerous and they were the people pitching most of the time!
Organization: Good! This SWOslo was the 12th edition! We could see that… Everything went well from the beginning to the end! The Facilitator Wout was great and got to explain to people the Startup Weekend methodology thanks to a review of all tools and steps such as the Business Model Canvas, customer validation, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), pitching or market research! He insisted on the fact of being Epic!
The only thing I can say is the lack of interaction between the organizing team and attendees. Usually, organizers are always around, talking to people. At Oslo, the organizing team was most of the time in a room separated from the working stations of attendees. A bit more of proximity would have been perfect! This is what a Startup Weekend is also about! But anyways, +1 for organization!
Venue: The SWOslo took place at the Oslo University. It’s a very modern place full of codes to access doors haha. There was an incubator hosted as well! It was great and big enough even if teams were all together working in the same area. So, +1 for the venue as well!
2. Pitchs and teams
We saw 22 initial pitchs! That’s almost half of all participants! 4 women pitched along with 18 other men. Ideas were innovative and diversified! It was great to see so much imagination! Nevertheless, as always, many ideas turned around food but some had hardware challenges such as a drone for avalanche rescuing, a camera as a pill for colposcopy or a phone saver charger. Finally, some ideas were a bit more classical: social platforms or startup consulting.
3. The team I joined: FacebookDeal
Chris, a Viking with a long beard and many tattoos, pitched this idea about resolving the eternal problem of turning followers into actual customers for companies. I really see a BtoB problem in this idea even if the market is very crowded…
FacebookDeal ended up as a web app on which shops, retailers and other clients can launch a deal to their community. To claim a deal, a Facebook user will have then to share it with friends and publish it on his profile. It’s very simple… Maybe too simple.
- A small, skilled and diverse team: 4 people (Chris, Chandra, Balazs and myself), 4 nationalities (Norway, India, Hungaria, France) and skills for Business, Technical and Design challenges! Well, a A-Team
- A good customer validation: some Norvegian companies were already interested in the product.
- A very simple and easy-to-test concept.
- The idea had already working hours… This is risky in a startup weekend because we didn’t brainstorm enough from the problem and went straight away in the solution through Facebook because some work had been previously done on it. We should have been more flexible about the solution.
- No particular innovation in the idea or the tools used. Our concept was maybe to simple and common. We didn’t share any major originality and at the end, the jury didn’t see enough value and differentiation in FacebookDeal.
- A market very crowded. We tackled quite a big piece of cake. Many solutions already exist and being different is a hard work on this segment!
- Not enough complicity into the team. Our team was very talented but we didn’t spend enough time trying to build relationships between each other. By that I mean a Startup Weekend is also a place to meet people and to leave some of them as friends. It’s not just a weekend to build a prototype and a Business Model.
What we achieved
- A half prototype! Our two tech guys (Chris & Chandra) coded all weekend to get something done!
- A good customer validation! We showed that the Norvegian market will be interested for such a solution.
- A professional presentation that didn’t overpass the 5 minutes limit! All that we wanted to say, was said!
- Launching a concept that can totally goes on! Since it is simple and almost functional, FacebookDeal can be tested quickly with clients. And that’s something you can be proud of after a Startup Weekend, no matter your idea.
4. Final pitch
Chris asked me to pitch and I was totally down for that! We insisted in the simplicity of the
product, its functionality and potential customers. Our pitch was well executed but not enough original due to the simplicity of the idea I think. Since we didn’t have a representative differentiation in the product, the pitch was quite common.
On the 9 ideas selected only 1 pivoted completely. It was completely different
than the initial pitch. This is something I noticed so far, only few teams pivot completely from the initial idea.
The most impressive pitch was, without discussion, the AngelsDrone’s team! They even built a prototype of their solution. The 2 pitchers were very passionate about the solution
they were building and this is very important. And, at the end, they won…
The FacebookDeal team didn’t get any prize but I learnt again A LOT and I met lovely people once again!
5. Conclusion of the SWOslo
It’s the first time I see a SW putting all attendees on an equal level in terms of knowedge of the methodology! I really loved the projects. Some teams were very creative. The atmosphere between people during the Startup Weekend was not as warm as the previous I’ve done but, at the end, we all ended up in a Pub from Oslo and played shuffleboard.
I worked with an impressive team full of talents! I wish you all the best in your future projects guys! An Epic weekend 😉
6. SWOslo winners
- AngelsDrone: A drone that geolocalizes people stuck in avalanche to help rescuers find them.
- Pillcam 2U: A pill that integrates a camera that patients can swallow to replace colonoscopy and endoscopy
- Ressource Collegium: Companies with high workforce needs can rent employees from companies with low workforce needs. This solves workforce seasonality.
This article is dedicated to Lorna Smyth & Raffaela Schneid, Balázs Némethi and Théo Dehaze & Toril Haavas for hosting a traveler in their homes!