I spent last weekend with my new bestest friends, the people who organized and participated in Detroit Startup Weekend #SWDetroit. Twelve teams of very smart, dedicated entrepreneurs stuck out the fifty-four hours to pitch their ideas and companies to the judges, of which I was one.
The twelve teams were: WeCollab, Gathrd, NFC Interactive, GameGeek, DineRoll, Pop-Up, Nfluents, RFP-House, Menti, Mundo, Trelay and MySwimPal.
The judging criteria was quite specific. We evaluated teams on their Value Proposition, Uniqueness of their idea, Rollout/Growth Strategy, Revenue Model, Research, Customer Validation, Target Market, MVP/Prototype, Functional Technical Demo and User Experience/Design.
I also coached the teams and told them that I was interested in their financial model, but, most importantly, that their idea has ‘obvious value’, best answered a problem statement and captured my imagination.
Many teams focused on “what” they were building but neglected “who” they were building for and “WHY” they were in existence. My advice for future startup-ees is to focus on the judging criteria because it’s very important to understand what we are looking for. The teams that did the best were balanced in all areas. Most teams fell into the middle-of-the-pack because they neglected their MVP/Prototype or business model.
Well, the top three teams were Gathrd, Pop-up and MySwimPal. Number #3, MySwimPal, had an authentic idea and presentation and did very well in the Q&A. Number #2, Gathrd, really rocked out their MVP and understood their place in the market. Number #1, Pop-Up, which pivoted to name which escapes me now, did very well with their Technical MVP and focus.
As for me, I had a lot of fun, meeting new friends and inspiration from all the energy in the room! So, congratulations to all and thanks for letting me participate! I look forward to future events!