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B2C may get the sexier headlines and seem to attract the best investors, but B2B is where some of the most profitable start-ups have transformed into global giants. That’s why the Startup Weekend NYC team added a B2B twist with its first-ever B2B Startup Weekend a few weekends ago. The event and its 74 attendees explored several of the biggest untapped opportunities in the B2B ecosystem.

In just 54 hours, 12 teams created and showcased new companies and concepts that would increase efficiencies, boost short-term benefits and streamline processes for corporate clients. Here are the key takeaways:

HR Technology Is Sorely Needed

The over-arching theme of the B2B pitches? HR needs help – and lots of it. Many of the teams created platforms to ease the burden on human resources departments, from tracking employees’ time off to one-click on-boarding.

Small Businesses Are a Hugely Underserved Market

An overwhelmingly large percentage of participating entrepreneurs were focused on the needs of small business owners. Because these SMBs don’t have enormous technology budgets, they are often over-looked or out-priced by major technology vendors. This was the sweet spot for mega-disruptors like Square and many of our teams followed suit, including one team that wanted to offer wellness benefits to SMBs and another that aimed to supply skilled student workers to small businesses.

The Validation Process is King

Some of our participants were new to the B2B universe – a client pool with extremely specialized needs. That’s why each team was tasked with validating their idea with their networks, real businesses and potential clients. Even asking simple questions in a LinkedIn group proved to be a valuable goldmine for the teams – and many pivoted their value proposition, and even their entire business concept after initial customer feedback.

Take Advantage of APIs

Intuit was NYC Startup Weekend’s partner for this challenge, and several of the participants leveraged Intuit’s extensive library of APIs to increase their scale and relevance in the B2B market. (It doesn’t hurt to have a major partner right out the gate, too!) Stand-outs in the integration include CreativeWorx, an SaaS platform that integrates timesheets with QuickBooks and DOPA, which streamlines contracts and electronic signatures into one workflow.

A special congratulation goes out to the winners of this year’s Startup Weekend NYC B2B Edition…

  1. Time Off – Easily request vacation days w/ electronic approval sent straight to HR/accounting
  2. Team Mojo – Organizing team events – connecting teams to planners
  3. DOPA – QuickBooks digital-signing contract management

Sad to have missed B2B?  Don’t worry, join Startup Weekend Health Edition this weekend.  Get tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-weekend-nyc-health-fitness-edition-tickets-16434708656

 

Diana Middleton is a writer and tech-lover with a passion for innovations in payments & omnichannel retail. A former Wall Street Journal reporter, she blogs about fashion at TheStylePragmatist.com.

 

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