By Nahel Jarmakani, Startup Weekend Winner
Startup Weekend is a great story of creation and collaboration. Over 50 complete strangers arrived at a space at Humber College Lakeshore Campus on Friday night not really sure what to expect, but eager to build the next big technology startup. I initially pitched “CleanCommute”, an idea I’ve had in my head for a few months, and the audience loved it. Attendees of Startup Weekend chose “CleanCommute” as one of the top 10 ideas, and groups where formed by choice. Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs gravitated to the ideas they liked the best and the leaders they believed in most. Our 5 person team included a great mix of talent in design, development and business and we were excited to create something solid over the course of the weekend.
What followed was a series of customer validation surveys, interviews, brainstorming and feedback. The unique thing about this event is you have quick access to feedback from over 75 potential customers, including some truly great mentors. It is worth acknowledging HumberLaunch for the great job they did in delivering a well-organized event.
And thus Compello was born. Latin for “drive together”, Compello is a ridesharing software platform whose mission is to offer event attendees a fun, convenient and affordable way to carpool to and from an event. Besides saving users time and money, Compello helps connect people with common interests. For event organizers, the platform offers attendees an additional option for commuting to and from their event. Having won the award for best Minimum Viable Product (MVP) at Startup Weekend, what’s next for the team is to really validate the idea at an event and build a functional MVP.
To conclude, can you remember how many times you have had an idea in your head, which died at the next sight of a “similar startup” or with the next person that challenged you? Well I am here to tell you that through Startup Weekend, our idea can came to life in more ways than we could imagine. And you JUST might have some fun and meet some great people along the way!
Creation and collaboration…
For more information, please email email@example.com
By Jeremy Haber
I am proud to say, “We won Startup Weekend!”
I am an ambitious entrepreneur and a proud sponsor of Startup Weekend Etobicoke with Simplistics Website Design (check us out at www.simplistics.ca).
As a business that started only three years ago, it was an honor to sponsor this incredible event. Supporting entrepreneurs and growing businesses is a passion of mine – in and outside of the work place.
So when I heard I could be more than just a sponsor, but also a participant, I jumped at the opportunity. Now I must admit – I had a really long week and was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home… but developing a business in 54hours? I couldn’t pass that up.
The weekend started off with hearing each entrepreneur’s pitch. With so many great pitches and incredible ideas, it was difficult to choose just one. I really would have loved to switch between each group, but a tough choice had to be made.
I narrowed my options down to three really unique ideas. Debating between “Pop-Up Here”, “Ownwise”, and “Aqua Repair”. I also was seriously also debating joining “What do I say?” an app that crowd sources if you should say something or not – they did a really great job presenting.
With my experience in building businesses and understanding what’s most important to the judges, I knew I couldn’t resist joining “Pop-Up Here”. I asked myself if this was a company I would invest in, and it certainly was!
Once our group was established we started investigating the business direction. We went all over the map determining the best route to take the business.
We had a million questions to answer and only 54hours to answer them.
We ended up with our minimal viable product being that Pop-Up Here matches short-term vacant commercial space with businesses looking to test out an idea in a retail setting. But getting there wasn’t easy.
Should we offer to furnish the place? Why don’t the landlords already do this? Is there even a market for this? How do we make money?
So how did we answer these? We did our research and made our calls. We even did a field trip to a vendor sale happening that weekend and surveyed the local business owners.
During Startup Weekend we had the pleasure of meeting so many great mentors. These mentors helped guide us through all aspects of the business.
We were the first group to pitch to a panel of judges. Our pitch went a little long because we had just too much to say! Our idea was solid – you could feel the passion down the hall! I could have sworn Tom was pitching Apple’s latest gadget. He claims he never pitched for Apple, although they should get his number.
After hearing so many great pitches and seeing how they evolved, we were one of four teams who won a physical prize.
These four teams were certainly not the only winners. Everyone who participated was a winner. Building a business is hard work and it takes a lot of time and dedication to be able to do that. And for every person who participated in Startup Weekend – you should be congratulating yourself!
I hope you learned something new and exciting that you will take to the next Startup Weekend! I’ll see you there with evolving new ideas!
Oh, and just a little plug:
We help new businesses every day establish a presence online. We want you to succeed, so we build result-driven WordPress websites that allow you to take control over your website’s content! Let’s talk! 905-597-6943. You can also check us out at www.simplistics.ca/
By Organizer Sarah Lenarcic and Volunteer Silvi Stermasi
Are you constantly daydreaming about quitting your day job? Do you have a great business idea that you’re looking to launch? Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? If your answer is yes, then Startup Weekend might be just the thing for you!
HumberLaunch just hosted Etobicoke’s first Startup Weekend, a 54-hour startup building frenzy, at Humber College Lakeshore Campus. Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities.
Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs came together for an exciting, weekend-long event where they pitched ideas, formed teams, built products and launched startups. Energy was high and passion was evident as teams from technical and non-technical backgrounds worked on articulating and validating their business ideas.
Participants started off this weekend by pitching brilliant ideas such as Jogah—a social app for runners and Fuber—an Uber type service platform that delivers food from your favourite restaurants. After forming teams around the top, the 55 participants spent the rest of the weekend developing their business models and preparing to pitch their final prototypes on Sunday night in front of the judges. Teams were judged on solution validation, business model validation and user experience.
The winners? We’re glad you asked!
Pop-Up Here matches short-term vacant commercial space with entrepreneurs looking to market a service or product for a brief period of time. They won Best Solution Validation.
GoCompello is Carpooling to events, made easy. At Compello, carpooling is a fun, convenient & affordable way to get to and from your next event. The team took home the award for Best MVP
OwnWise is for property managers seeking expertise and convenience. It is the complete solution for integrating security into core rental operations. They won the prize for Best Business Model.
Q.it allows you to post anonymous questions to people within a 2km radius of you. They left with the Diamond in the Rough award.
Winners received in-kind prizes such as office space, legal and accounting services, pitch assistance and many other things to help them continue to develop their businesses after the weekend.
“Meeting and collaborating with people from different backgrounds was by far my favourite part of the weekend. It’s so amazing when you and someone else are facing a problem but approach it in two completely different ways and are able to come up with a collaborative solution,” said Hamza Mortage an energy analyst and participant from Startup Weekend Etobicoke.
All in all, we think the event was a total success and can’t wait to do it all again! If you’re itching to test out an idea or simply looking to network with like-minded individuals you can check out Startup Weekend Toronto – The Internet of Things Edition happening November 21-23. For more information on Startup Weekends happening in a city near you, visit the Startup Weekend website!
By Angela Thibert
Angela is a student volunteer for Startup Weekend Etobicoke
We hope you are getting excited for Startup Weekend Etobicoke, I know I am! We are only 3 days away now, and you have already met all of the mentors. Now it’s time to meet the judges.
These judges will be listening to Sunday night team pitches and decide which team has the best solution validation, business model, and user experience design.
Andrew is the President and COO of CHAR Technologies Inc. During his graduate studies at U of T, his passion for technology and the environment led him to co-invent the product SulfaCHAR, a zero-waste solution for the natural gas industry. He has bee very successful in his efforts and has won various awards for his entrepreneurial pursuits.
Kevin is the Chief Story Architect at Impact Assured Business Services, a company that helps tech startups and social enterprises maximize their impact. He helps to do this by focusing on a variety of different areas such as communication and branding strategies, sales, and video/design. Prior to his role today, he has spent 14 years at Dell Canada and 20 years in sales, tech and marketing.
Ben is the founder of INcubes Accelerator, a firm developed solely to helping startups. Aside from this, he has also launched many startups of his own, including one of the most successful Landscape & Construction companies in Toronto. Along with this wealth of experience, he also carries a business degree from York University.
Ferhan is the CEO of Acumyn Inc, where he has devoted his time to making radiation therapy devices safe for use. Aside from this role, he is also the creator and lead instructor for the Business Innovation Certificate program at U of T. His areas expertise includes new business design and implementation, product and service development, and strategic planning and execution
Startup Weekend provides a great opportunity to pitch to a panel of professionals from the entrepreneur and investment community who are excited to share their knowledge and provide valuable feedback.
The event is coming up fast and it’s sure to be a crazy ride! Follow us on Twitter to stay connected. @SWEtobicoke #SWE2014
By Angela Thibert – Angela is a student volunteer for Startup Weekend Etobicoke
If you can see yourself becoming an entrepreneur in the future then Startup Weekend Etobicoke is for you. Come share in an event where creativeness and innovation are celebrated. Startup Weekend Etobicoke is the place to meet others just like you who all share the common goal to build their own business.
Fortunately we have something that can set you apart- the chance to be mentored by several industry professionals who have once been in your shoes. Here are some more amazing coaches that will be around throughout the weekend.
Jacqueline is the president and creative director at INK TANK Design and Communications. Her company has won many awards for its work as a design and communications firm. Jacqueline’s expertise lies in marketing, public relations, and event management. Aside from this she enjoys writing, and brings that creative flair wherever she goes.
Hadi is the Co-founder and CEO of CoursePeer Inc and various other organizations in the Middle East and North America. His different organizations touch on a wide array of topics from education, technology, digital advertising, and agriculture. With such an extensive range of experiences, he can be classified as a social entrepreneur working towards a vision. As well, he is an experienced start-up mentor, author, and speaker.
Mark is a professor at the Humber College Business School, where he loves to teach about business planning, general management, marketing, and sales. Before he started teaching, he ran his own advertising agency and marketing research firms. This is not his first time mentoring start-ups either. He has shared his knowledge and expertise with young entrepreneurs for many years.
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you do not want to miss this opportunity to turn your ideas into action. All of these industry professionals will be available to offer the advice, knowledge and expertise you are looking for, whatever your business idea! Startup Weekend Etobicoke is the first step in getting where you want to go, so come out and make the most of it.
Stay turned for a look inside the judging panel that is lined up for Startup Weekend Etobicoke.
By Angela Thibert: Angela Thibert is student volunteer for Startup Weekend Etobicoke
Have you ever thought about starting your own business? You have some great ideas, but the problem is you don’t know where to begin? Let us inspire you. Startup Weekend Etobicoke gives you the opportunity to take the first steps in starting a business and provides fantastic coaches to share their expertise throughout the weekend.
All of these industry professionals are volunteering their time at the event with a common goal: to share their knowledge and help you build that business! These coaches will be at your disposal all weekend, so come and take advantage of these great resources!
Marvin is the founder and president of Tambre Productions Inc., a music and audio production house. This is a company that he has built from the ground up from his apartment. He enjoys composing his own work as well, and has won multiple awards for his work in the entertainment industry.
Dalia is the founder and CEO of her own company realSociable, a company dedicated to helping other companies achieve a greater sales capacity through improving customer engagement. She has an extensive background in marketing, management, and loves to problem solve.
Julie is the CEO and managing partner at CLUES, which aims to provide strategies and tactics to help organizations improve their effectiveness on a range of different dimensions. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing and customer relationship management. From her experience, she has most enjoyed customer profiling and customer value optimization.
Andrew is the founder and president of Sanbonki Inc, a management consulting company. His company focuses on helping other companies create value, and gain support from investment and partnerships. Andrew’s greatest insights are in the life sciences industry. He has already participated in many other Startup Weekends and competitions, so this is not his first time around.
Lyndon is the founder and general manager of public relations firm Think Different(ly). His firm is different from others in that he is focused specifically on providing pubic relations, marketing, and publicity counseling to startups and small businesses. He is definitely in the right place.
Elizabeth has extensive experience in the architecture field. She has completed her Masters degree at the University of Waterloo, and has spent time studying abroad in Italy. She has worked in various architecture and design firms around Toronto, and now is a partner at Hout Architecture Inc.
Having this impressive roster of coaches guiding you at Startup Weekend is an opportunity not to be missed! Come get work with experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals and get advice specific to your business. Startup Weekend is a great way to network and build meaningful relationships with people who may help you in the long run.
This post only provides a snippet of the coaches that will be participating in Startup Weekend Etobicoke. Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about the other coaches!
Hi! Startup Weekend Etobicoke is currently looking for volunteers to help with our event on October 24-26, 2014.
By joining our team of volunteers, you will work with an energetic and friendly team, while witnessing participants connecting with each other to form teams and build a business. Watching the teams develop over the weekend can be truly inspirational and will allow you to learn along the way. You may even love it so much that you want to join as a participant next time!
If you’re thinking about volunteering, we encourage you to give Startup Weekend Etobicoke a try. It is a great way to learn about the startup industry in a fun and exciting way.
Here is what you can expect as a volunteer at Startup Weekend:
– Join a team of welcoming and energetic individuals
– A chance to demonstrate your creativity, high energy and problem solving skills → assisting with room layout, logistics planning, providing tech assistance, guiding and providing assistance to attendees
– Assist with registration table, greeting participants, judges, investors and other industry leaders
– Distributing “swag”, merchandise and catering orders to participants
– Utilizing social media for promotion and status updates through Twitter and Facebook.
Benefits of volunteering:
– Opportunity to meet like-minded individuals in entrepreneurship and technology industry
– Gain first-hand knowledge of new technologies and future trends
– Expand your network, build valuable connections
– Choose in advance how many hours you want to commit to volunteering and which areas you would prefer to help with
How to get involved
– Simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a bit about yourself and why you’d like to volunteer for this event.
*Parts of this blog are credited to an orgiinal blog found here