A rapturous Startup Weekend Manila, right to the very end
April 30, 2012 by Terence LEE
While the judges huddled for an hour to decide the winners of the second Startup Weekend Manila, an unlikely person kept the crowd thoroughly entertained.
Call it the first Standup Weekend ever. SW Manila participant Jerome Punzalan came out swinging like Manny Pacquiao, dropping one joke after another, leaving the packed room exploding in laughter and applause. Chants of “More, more!” followed after each punchline.
You would think everyone would be sullen after 54 hours of preparing their pitches, but it turned out that they had an extra fuel tank for the final stretch, with the finishing line clearly in sight.
Finally, the judges streamed back in one by one, and it was time to announce the winners.
For those of you new to what Startup Weekend is about, it is essentially an event where participants, some complete strangers, form teams over 54 hours to hash out a business idea and pitch to a panel of judges.
Some came in with a startup idea already in the works, while others were salaried employees who just want to get a glimpse of what startup life is like.
The event, held from 27th April to 29th April at the MINT College in Taguig City, Metro Manila, saw over 200 participants from around the country, more than last year.
And while the inaugural SW Manila had mostly engineering talent, this year’s crowd had more business-oriented participants, which showed in some of the pitches.
Over 60 ideas were whittled down to just 29, through a process of voting. Participants whose ideas were not selected could still forge ahead, or choose to join another team. Mentors would then go around to guide the teams and ask the tough questions.
The final pitches on day three are the result of that intense process.
So, without further adieu, I present you the winners of this edition of Startup Weekend Manila:
People’s Choice: MentorsDojo
A website that links entrepreneurs in startups with mentors. They endured some tough questions from the judges about their business model and whether they are able to attain traction, but they did manage to win the hearts of the crowd.
Build-a-better-world prize: 1Share1Life.com
A web app that curates compelling stories about people in need and rallies donations from people via Facebook. What impressed me about this bunch was that they managed to get a real life story from a hospital and secure actual donations. The results of their hard work: 541 shares, 84,552 impressions, and more than 5,000 pesos ( US$118) in pledged donations.
Best e-commerce prize: SpinMeBuddy
A web app for finding a random restaurant or things-to-do using a digital spin wheel. It’s location-based, so it shares relevant stuff based on where you are. It’s a fun and novel approach to location-based discovery. Credit to Jerome Punzalan for a great presentation too. When judge JoJo Flores asked him if the app is already working, Jerome replied: “It’s spinning, right?”
Fourth prize: Sphere
They are working on digital and interactive choose-your-own adventure stories in the vein of the popular series kids used to love in the past. It could really sell if executed well, but I wonder how would they fare against computer games with strong story-telling elements?
Third prize and best Windows Phone app prize: Traqme
A mobile safety app that automatically tracks your last known location over constant intervals once activated. It is quite similar to SecQ.me from Malaysia, which made an appearance at DEMO Asia. And yes, you need permission to track the person, so wives who want to spy on errant husbands have to look elsewhere…
Second prize: RideFind
RideFind is a carpooling web service in the style of AirBnB. Users can find drivers near their area who are traveling to the desired destination. It’s a way for travelers to save costs.
First prize: Kiddle
A gamified web app that lets kids earn points and upgrade their avatars by completing tasks like household chores and homework. It’s not only makes mundane tasks more fun, but also bonds children to their parents.
The teams were judged based on business model, execution, and customer validation. Several of the participants had awesome ideas even though they didn’t win.
I particularly liked MyRemitHub, a one-stop online marketplace for remittance services, PayBillis, a mobile app that consolidates bills and lets users view and pay them in-app, and BabyFairy, a website that sends baby products to customers on a monthly basis for a flat fee.
The next Startup Weekend in the Philippines will be held in Cebu from 11th May to 13th May.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE