The following is a guest post from Horia Cernusca, co-founder of Swipe and winner of Startup Weekend Oslo. To find out more about Swipe, visit their website.
I went to Startup Weekend to find a technical co-founder – a task that is seemingly impossible for designers – after searching for about a year, since there aren’t enough arenas where designers and developers get to interact, mingle, and connect. I wanted to solve all the problems with presentation software, clockers, adaptors, and the generally terrible experience of delivering a slideshow presentation.
The task was pretty simple in theory: take your great idea, explain it in one minute, and hear the crowd roar, screaming your name, having to say no to people who want to join your amazing team and work on your amazing idea. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As soon as the microphone was in my hand, everything was blank. Instead of inspiring the crowd, most people were left a bit confused. One minute turned into 30 seconds. Failure was in sight.
Then came the opportunity for redemption – 15 minutes to go around to the 100 attendees in Oslo and explain in more detail why your idea is great and why they should join you. It seems like a lot of time, but really it’s about 9 seconds per person. My big paper was pretty blank after about 10 of those 15 minutes, most people were putting their sticky note out of it because of pity, it seemed.
Needless to say, Swipe didn’t pick up enough votes to get in the top 15 projects that could form teams. But in those 15 minutes I managed to find my co-founder, Håkon, a developer who said that if the idea wasn’t chosen, he’d just go home because nothing else seemed like a viable startup. In those 15 minutes, I also managed to get a young designer so interested in the idea that he began asking people to join the team because “this would be so awesome to have in the world.”
Even though we didn’t get enough votes, we had a few people interested and we wanted to do this. We quickly asked the organizers for permission to find more people and still form a team. By the end of the process, we had six. It was a hard graft, but went from failed pitch, to failed team formation, to winning Startup Weekend Oslo. We did it by keeping it simple, a lesson learned from the very beginning of the first pitch.
Five months later, we’re getting ready to launch our beta on Europe’s biggest stage at The Next Web Conference 2013 Startup Rally. We’ll get five minutes in front of over 2,000 attendees and over 20,000 watching online, and we want to make the best launch presentation ever since we think we’re making the world’s best presentation tool ever.
Swipe is a simple web-based presentation tool which we think will change the way people interact with the presentation of live information in a big way. We think it’s the first this-generation presentation tool, with this generation being the internet generation. We want to allow people to use the tools they love to create content today (Photoshop, InDesign, PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) but have the ability to sprinkle all the great web content we can make use of today to create amazing interactive presentations that can be shared in real-time on any device, from any device. We’re making the Dropbox of presentations, but with even more web awesomeness.
We think we’ve cracked the solution to the majority of presentation-related pains and we can’t wait to show that off to a huge audience in Amsterdam and online.
We’re currently accepting early beta signups and have a limited amount of spots available. You can sign up at http://beta.swipe.to/. All of our early beta testers get a free- for-life account, which means that you’ll get a pro plan forever free. We’re launching our beta on April 25’th. We think you’ll love it, and would love your feedback!