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News  12, Mar 2012

Startup Weekend Singapore a success but ideas need to be bolder

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startup weekend singapore 2012

Over the last weekend, the NUS Overseas College (NOC) Programme alumni held Startup Weekend Singapore (SWSG) 2012 at the Business School of the National University of Singapore (NUS). The 54 hour event concluded with 140 happy participants as well as satisfied mentors and judges.

Disclosure: e27′s  Jacky Yap is part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore.

The winners, and my personal favorites

Team SnapSell, a mobile app for you to sell stuff on a mobile-first marketplace, walked away with the main prize. The runner-up team Starcall built a platform where fans can bid for a chance to have a one-to-one video call with their favorite celebrities, while the third place went to team Mystery Shopper, a mobile platform to help small and medium size businesses improve their business processes. Other than that, my personal favourite came in real close to the top three, which is TieTheKnot, a platform that utilizes your social network to recommend trusted merchants that fit your wedding desires. TieTheKnot  probably had the best pitch deck of the lot, which was inspired by DressRush. Another of my personal favorite, team Flipshop which is Flipboard for blogshops, came out with a really nice user interface as well.

What was done differently this time round

To ensure that participants spend their weekend on worthwhile projects, two rounds of ideas filtering was done on Friday night. A total of 87 ideas were submitted by the participants to Pigeonhole, and crowd voting was done to select the top 40 most popular ideas. These 40 ideas were then given a one-minute facetime with the crowd to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The judges then selected 20 of the ideas with the highest potential for the teams to work on over the weekend, after which they would present their prototype to the judges at DEMO on Sunday evening.

Who came and what do mentors have to say

About 15 mentors from the community came by to coach the teams over the weekend, such as Vincent Lauria, Kristav Childress, Simone Brunozzi, Daniel Cerventus, Wong Hong Ting and Goh Yi Ping among others. Andy Croll of Impulse Flyer, Adriana of Girls in Tech, and Ash Singh of Interactive.sg also dropped by to give short presentations to the participants. Various individuals from the community dropped by once in a while as well.

Here are some of the Twitter feedback from the mentors and judges on the event:

Simone: “The Startup Weekend Singapore #swsg2012 so far seems to be one of the best organized I’ve ever been. Congrats!”

Steven Goh “#swsg2012 well done to all the teams, organisers and fellow judges for the event. was a lot of fun!”

Daniel Cerventus: ”#swsg2012 one of the better @startupweekend I have seen and was happy to be part of it. Sadly could not stay whole weekend”

Meng Wong: Congratulations again to everybody who participated in #swsg2012. I was impressed by the demos. Tremendous efforts all! You guys rock.

It’s time to be bolder, Singapore!

I also spoke to a few participants from the region participating at the event, one of whom is Richerd Chan, a Vancouver-born geek who happened to be in town. Richerd was part of the first few hires of HootSuite who helped built the iPhone and iPad interface of HootSuite, also the winner of  Startup Weekend Vancouver two years ago. During his second Startup Weekend at SWSG, Richerd joined team StarCall which came in second place. According to Richerd, the crowd at SWSG is generally younger than the one he went to two years back in Vancouver. Richerd also told us that the ideas at SWSG are not new and that teams were not trying hard enough to think of new ideas. Probably a good message to entrepreneurs in Singapore to dream bigger, and bolder.

That said however, I was impressed by the level of execution by the teams at the event. Every team had at least had a minimum viable product and some of the teams went offsite to do customer validation. Overall, Startup Weekend Singapore has been a fun and fruitful weekend!

Photo: Startup Weekend Singapore

Jacky Yap

Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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