In case you missed our mass tweeting yesterday or haven’t picked up from the headline of this post, ConceptKicker has just beat out the world at Global Startup Battle 2014! It was announced yesterday via this blog post and we couldn’t be happier about the news!
About Global Startup Battle
Global Startup Battle (GSB), is a global event during Global Entrepreneurship Week in which startups that competed in Startup Weekends from around the world compete to show they are the best new idea and win an amazing basket of prizes. It’s the biggest startup competition where over 25,000 entrepreneurs from 83 countries came together to fight for the title.
There are 5 different tracks that the teams could enter, each with their own requirements and rules. The most important one though was the Champions Track. This was an exclusive track only available to those teams who had placed in the top 3 at their local Startup Weekend. It’s the track where we find out who is the best of the best.
The Road to Victory
The battle lasted for two weeks and happened in phases. The first phase required teams to win their regions. For ConceptKicker, this was the US West/Canada region — competing against startups from cities like San Francisco and Toronto (home of last year’s winning team).
To win the region required gathering votes. A lot of votes. ConceptKicker rallied hard though, utilizing social media, personal networks, and anything else they could to get the word out. To their success, all the hard work paid off and they were able to make it into the top two spots needed to make it into the finals.
The finals were to be decided very differently though. This time they were being judged by the experts on the merits of their startup. You know, experts like Daymond John (Shark Tank), Nas (Music Icon & Tech Investor), Dan Martell (Clarity), Chris Hollod (A-Grade Investments), and Lesa Mitchell (Network for Scale). So we waited for the judges to review and announce their decision. That is until yesterday when we finally heard that our Vancouver-based startup, ConceptKicker, was the big winner of Global Startup Battle 2014!!
Excuse me while I cheer uncontrollably for a minute… “WOOHOO!!!!”
Belief in Their Idea
Perhaps the most inspirational story about ConceptKicker is how they came to be. For anyone in the startup world, you always hear sayings like “if you believe in your idea, don’t give up — even if others tell you it’ll never happen or that it will fail”. This is exactly what happened with ConceptKicker at Startup Weekend Vancouver.
On the Friday of the weekend, everyone pitches their idea and then the participants vote on which ideas they liked and wanted to work on for the weekend. The top voted ideas then get teams formed around them. We tell everyone that if your idea isn’t picked that it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea but to join one of the other ideas voted in or, if they can recruit enough people on their idea, then they can still form their team. Usually if you’re not voted in, it’s pretty hard to get support and build a team.
Tony, who pitched the idea of ConceptKicker, was pretty bummed that his idea wasn’t one of the top 15 ideas voted on. I remember him coming to me and asking if he could still build his idea. We understood his determination and told him that if he could get at least another 3 people behind his idea that we’d let him build on it for the weekend.
Tony struggled for a while and had trouble recruiting a team as people were more interested in the other ‘popular’ ideas. However, eventually, he got his small team and so we let him build. And build they did. In fact, between Friday evening and Saturday morning he was able to recruit a team of 9 talented people who would then go on to win Startup Weekend Vancouver — and now Global Startup Battle.
It’s inspiring to think about the determination, persistence, and belief Tony had in his idea. Too many entrepreneurs give up when others tell them “no” or when things get tough. While ConceptKicker is only at the beginning of their already very successful journey, I look forward to seeing them demonstrate more of this entrepreneurial spirit and be an example for other aspiring entrepreneurs — in Vancouver and the world.
Congratulations guys! You’ve worked hard and deserve all the success!