Startup Hackathon

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A week has passed since I had this amazing experience.  The event was kicked off last Friday evening with almost 20 of us pitching their business ideas. It was fun.  There were few phd and UG students as well. Then we voted the top 6 ideas and they were selected for the next step.

People formed teams around the top 6 ideas. It was a crazy icebreaker to form a team of random people whom you met few mins before, to work on converting the idea into a real business.

We were team of 5, working on Vacation trip planner. To kick start the next day, we did a need finding workshop using business design methodology to understand what really vacationers want. After a detailed empathy sessions with almost 15 people we found the common theme that trip planning time > actual vacation time.

We started working on fixing this problem and came up with amazing ideas.  REVCA club had arranged for mentors to help us out. We had 2 mentors who told us to focus on niche market. They were entrepreneurs running their own startups successfully.  It was a valuable feeback and we pivoted our idea to serving only a niche market of customers who spend really long time planning for a vacation – A family guy. So our idea pivoted to “Family vacation planner”

We personified our customer and thought through his point of view and defined his needs. Then we brainstormed ideas , came up with awesome features, analysed market and finally it was 8 pm when we arrived at revenue models.  We spent 2 more hours brainstorming revenue models and finally came to an awesome solution that completely redefines the current game that similar travel planning sites like tripadvisor.com have.

Some teams had computer science under graduates who were fantastic hackers, working through the whole night building prototypes. We were slow and came up with first version of wire frames.

On Sunday, we presented the pitch deck with info on customer need analysis, market segment focus, channeling strategy, pricing & revenue model, USP and finally wireframes.

It was an amazing experience to answer insightful questions from judges. Some teams worked on great ideas and made absolutely fantastic working models.

The experience as a whole was absolutely worth spending  20 hrs over the weekend. Winning team walked out with 24K worth of prize from IBM. We ended up as Runner-Up. But I would say the experience boosted my confidence to peak and that is…….. priceless.

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