Sunday, April 22, 2012

Startup Weekend Prague

I have spent this weekend with around fifty enthusiast at the Startup Weekend in the new Node 5 incubator in Prague. I have enjoyed company of many interesting people and learned about their interesting startup projects.

Startup Weekend is a continuation of the very successful IPO 48. This time under the command of Petr Ocasek and his gang. Thanks gays for this event. It brought together many different people with different interests and background, from different locations or countries they have gathered together to work on new interesting ideas. I have served as a mentor. This role has one advantage, I get in touch with all the participants and I can learn what they are enthusiastic about. Let me give you a short description of the teams and projects:

KiddieQ App  is an iPad game for pre-school kids. The game tries to estimate the kids school maturity. The interactive game makes the kids decide what is right, what is left, what are the colors etc. Main point is, kids are not aware of being tested. The app generates a report at the end assessing their maturity. The team seems to have the right expertise, Orin is a psychologist and Martin takes care of the graphical design. On top of that they have two programmers. The trick will be to create a game interesting enough for kids, which will in the same time provide good data for reliable tests.

Drawing pog attracted seven people to work on a web based drawing package. Michael from Bochum is the inventor, who has programmed almost the whole app in JavaScript. At Startup Weekend he has put together a team helping him with purifying details, testing the market, inventing differentiating features, monetization schema etc. At this point the unique factor is the way the lines are put on canvas. No straight lines. The app imitates hand drawing giving the lines a touch of uncertainty, looking very naturally on the screen. 

Blame it on the fish is an app and a team of four. They have a very interesting idea resulting in a nifty application. You would have notice them in the room immediately. They had an aquarium with a fish on the their table. Users can ask in the web app about their future and the fish will decide for them. A camera connected to the server is following the swimming fish and depending on its movement an answer is generated. Forget the oracle, ask the fish. Nice app. @biotf

SunsetHill team has attracted eight members, the largest crowd of the Startup Week. Even if the idea is not very optimistic in its nature. Vaclav has suggested creating an on-line pet cemetery. The app lets the users create a memento for a loved pet. The grief can be shared with friends also by Facebook.

Four people make the BarkBuddy team. They say: your dog deserves friends too. It will be an HTML 5 application taking advantage of geo location finding where to walk the dog out. Practically you turn on the app, you'll find all the dogs around and you can get in touch with them, discuss the location, dog food etc.  They have done an extensive customer search, they questioned 35 people. 15 questioned had smart phone, connectivity and have express their interest to connect with other dog owners. What more they were also OK to pay for the service.

Three people stared with the idea of collecting the medical information over cell phones. Soon they have pivoted to a business card exchange app. The business model is simple. Users will create a business cards and the team will collect money for each exchanged card. Business card customization, fancy design will be also available for a small charge. They want to achieve the variability by paying for passing collected card to third person.  The initial feedback is very good. It is very similar to eClub CloudCardz.

An article a day is a one-man show project. Luka is designing an app to learn foreign languages. The idea is to link interesting articles to a web. The app will rank them by difficulty and serve one a day for reading. The application is for people who already have basic language skills. The supports translation too.

SingSomething is a four members team. They got inspired by smashing success of DrawSomething. Great idea. I am sure, there are other teams in the world already working on the same idea. Lets see who will be the first on the market. 

CssHat has four members on the team. They have demonstrated a wonderful performance. Over night they have developed a Photoshop plug-in generating a css from a Photoshop drawing. Nice job. The app aims at Macs an will be offered through App store. Watch out. 

CrowdStudies met at startup week first time. They have a project trying to solve old problem, break the barrier between students and teachers. They are designing an app for publishing and commenting courses presentations and study materials. The audience is clear, the idea is clear, but the solution is difficult. I keep my fingers crossed and wish them success, this app is really needed. 

If you read this and are part of the team send me a URI to update this blog.

1 comment:

  1. A great event #swPrague was. Nice summary Jan.

    Have you realized 3 out of 4 awardees were pet related (when including BIONF)? Have we nailed some trend down?

    Jan thank you for your mentoring and support.