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Startup Weekend alumni Jimini’s is a finalist in the Windows Startup Challenge. The origami “digital gift” startup was born at a Startup Weekend in Seattle in November 2012.

Co-founder Thibaut Labarre, a software developer, first came up with the idea of Jimini when he wanted to send a birthday gift to his sister in France.

“I wanted to buy her a video game online but it was hard to do —  I ended up calling her and giving her my credit card number so she could purchase it,” he said.

Labarre wanted people to be able to give online gifts in a more attractive way. Jimini allows users to purchase online “gift cards” in the form of a QR code on origami paper. Users can then fold the origami to wrap the gift voucher in a more creative and attractive way. Flat origami designs are also available for those looking to mail their gift.

“The idea is to make it possible to offer digital gifts in a more human way,” Labarre said.

When founding the company, Labarre and his teammates Jessica Hendrawidjaja and Brendan Fortuner decided to write a Windows 8 application instead of a website first.

“We did one of the first Startup Weekend Windows 8 bootcamps,” Labarre said. “Steve Seow of Microsoft was great at telling us about the goal of Windows 8 and how to code a Windows 8 app. He really brought us into the Windows 8 programming environment by showing us that it was visual and you can use HTML and JavaScript.

“Our feeling is that Windows 8 was a great platform for Startup Weekend because its easy to program, its very fast to get a simple app running and it looks great without any design effort,” Labarre said. “You have to worry about a lot less than if you start from scratch.”

Two months later, in January, the opportunity to enter the Windows challenge emerged. Labarre and his team submitted their work from Startup Weekend. They hadn’t gotten very far after Startup Weekend, but had to make some edits in the second round.

“The second round was coding the app to make it work as expected,” Labarre said. “That was a very intense month. It was great to have support from a Microsoft developer who helped us through the second month.”

Labarre credits the Windows challenge with lighting the fire underneath the business again after its initial launch.

“The difference between having Microsoft and not having them is we probably wouldn’t have continued to work on the idea,” he said. “We are going to go further and have plans to launch during the 2013 Holiday season just in time for Black Friday.”

For now, Labarre and his teammates are awaiting the results of the challenge. The top team will get the opportunity to launch their app to a global audience at the DEMO Mobile stage on April 17th in front of top tier seed investors, VCs, and tech press.

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To find out more about Jimini, please visit their website. To find out more about the Microsoft Windows Startup Challenge, please visit the website, our original announcement blog post and Facebook page.

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