Going into the 4th year of GSB we wanted to take moment and look back on the past three winners. Global Startup Battle represents a chance for anyone to launch a successful company. It’s a time when the whole world is looking at entrepreneurs!
We’re extremely proud of the past winners – Groupnotes, AfterShip and MIMIX. They have all launched and maintained successful companies that are breaking the mold.
We can’t wait see what teams win and become successful at this year’s GSB! Check if there is an event in your area.
Matt Gardner and his team took part in Global Startup Battle 2012 and won with their product, Groupnotes.
The idea behind Groupnotes, was to create a collaboration platform that worked for education, with a focus on the needs of professors and educators to start. Groupnotes co-founder, Matthew Gardner, explained to TechCrunch back in 2012 that while the platform should eventually hold appeal for enterprise and other users, too, the team felt it was important to first design a salable product aimed at a particular vertical, and then work on expanding its reach later on, after there are already some paying customers on board.
Fast forward to 2013. Groupnotes has expanded to you and your friends – giving people a platform to talk about what matters with the people that matter, right on top of your favorite sites.
How did GSB help you and your team?
Matt: GSB changed our lives! After GSB I was introduced to someone at Google due to our win, he referred us into an accelerator to apply. During our trip to Silicon Valley we were accepted into an accelerator program in Kitchener/Waterloo, called HYPERDRIVE. It’s in the same building as Google Canada and the head coach is the director of Google Canada who has been a great help and source of advice! My partner and I quit our jobs and our other two team members postponed their degrees to work on Groupnotes full time.
What was the most challenging part of being in an accelerator program?
Matt: During HYPERDRIVE, we did 3 moths of the stereotypical startup house, crashing on the floor together and sleeping in the closet of the cheapest place we could find near our office space! We didn’t even have Internet at home since we spent all our time in our workspace working crazy hours.
What happened when you were finished with your three month sprint?
Matt: Luckily we raised a small amount of seed money. We moved into a new user house with four bedrooms and converted the main floor into an office, which is amazing! We just made our first hire and it’s great to grow the team. We continue to work full time iterating and improving the product, the new version is doing amazingly well in a private beta –> Make sure to check it out.
Andrew Chen and his team took part in GSB 2011 and won with their product AfterShip – a shipment tracking platform for online retailers, supporting 110 carriers worldwide.
AfterShip allows stores to display tracking results on their sites, and send customers delivery updates automatically.
Where did the idea for AfterShip come from?
Andrew: The idea came from Teddy, one of the Co-Founders, who runs an online store and faced a problem of customers frequently asking about order statuses. Our three Co-Founders firstly met at Startup Weekend Hong Kong in fall 2011, and deiced to take the idea forward after winning the Global Startup Battle.
Can you speak on your GSB experience?
Andrew: Winning Global Startup Battle is like climbing Mount Everest – it seems impossible but you know it is doable. The key factor of us winning GSB was that we got the local media to create a viral story, and it reached to friends and the local community who wanted us to win. Winning GSB not only brought us business connections and PR coverage, but also a boost of confidence for us to continue on developing the product.
What is AfterShip doing now or planning for the future?
Andrew: AfterShip now serves of 4,000 merchants worldwide, seeing a 40% growth of monthly revenue in the past year. In the coming 6 moths, we will launch our mobile app and help solve the problems online shoppers are facing regarding shipment tracking.
MIMIX is a web and mobile application which builds on speech recognition and 3D modeling technologies to translate speech into sign language in real-time.
Founders, Mahmoud Darawsheh and Laith Al-Afghani, won Beirut Startup Weekend in 2010. Then, MIMIX went on to compete against 22 other teams and emerged victorious in the first ever Global Startup Battle. The MIMIX video had over 1,500 unique views on YouTube and recieend 47.7% more votes than the runner up.