In its second year now, Startup Weekend Hanoi is becoming one of the platforms where startups get their first break in entrepreneurship. The past weekend saw more than 20 teams come and pitch at the Startup Weekend Hanoi 2014.
The pre-selection round was held on March 28 at Hub.IT (disclosure: author is founder of Hub.IT). More than 150 attendees voted for their favourites and seven teams were eventually short listed for weekend hack sessions and a pitch to a panel of judges.
According to the judges, some teams do have the potential to become successful. But in general, startups are still quite naïve to the realism of what the real world expects of them.
This is not surprising, since most of the participants are still in school. All said, it augurs well for the ecosystem to see young Vietnamese taking up the challenge to strike out on their own.
Here are the seven teams that got selected:
A consulting and events company that specializes in creating opportunities for singles to find their soul mates through regular speed dating events.
Nedu is a job search portal, specifically targeting at graduating students, that allows posting of information and CVs. This is to enable companies who are seeking entry level hiring.
A community platform for football fans and players to talk about football, book venues for games, organize events and promote the game. Vietnam is a football crazy country and the potential community is huge.
4. Vietnam Travel Guy
A mobile app that foreigners can use to communicate with locals during their travels in Vietnam. It provides voice-enabled translation of commonly used phrases. One of the few startups that utilize English as the base language, it’s got great potential for expansion into other parts of Asia.
A crowd-sourced platform for businesses, particularly SMEs, looking to hire freelancers for outsourcing of projects.
6. Yes, I Do
“Yes, I Do’ aims to provide a platform in wedding planning. It is a portal where wedding industry players converge to provide goods and services for couples planning weddings. Great potential for emerging markets.
7. Slide Factory
A service provider for template designs and consulting for use with PowerPoint and Prezi.
In the end, Vlance was the unanimous winner. The judges thought that Vlance had good traction, having already been in market for more than six months, a sound business model and most importantly, a great team.
Booksan came in second and ‘Yes, I Do’ rounded up the top three teams of the Startup Weekend competition.
Personally for me, I thought ‘Vietnam Travel Guy’ and ‘Yes, I Do’ were the two most promising teams, at least as far as new startups are concerned.
For ‘Vietnam Travel Guy’, I believe the idea can grow, and fits very much into how the Millennial generation travels these days. While I concede that the brand name needs a change, if the team fancies a chance to go regional. The basic idea has leg to run much farther.
‘Yes, I Do’ is also an idea that can easily expand beyond Vietnam. At some point, someone has to get married.
This concludes the first startup competition of many to come throughout the year. With great optimism, each succeeding years have seen more and more young Vietnamese stepping up into the entrepreneurial bandwagon. This trend can’t be anything but good. Stay tuned for more.
Bobby Liu will be reporting in from Vietnam with his Weekly Diary. Stay tuned.