I enjoyed serving as a mentor for some of the nine teams formed at this the Atlanta Startup Weekend (#ATLSW) at the Coca-Cola HQ this weekend. It was great to see some really new ideas coming to life to solve very common problems. Not every idea made it all the way through the weekend, but that’s normal among 10 startups. I am very interested to see which, if any, of these teams try to make a go of it on Monday. Shane Reiser gave us some stats: 30% continue on. 12% move on to actual revenue and get some sort of investment.
- Stephen Fleming – GT Enterprise Innovation Institute
- Paul Judge – Tech Square Labs
- David Liniado – Cox Automotive
- Anthony Newstead – Coca-Cola
- Customer empathy – did the team validate a real problem with real people?
- Execution – did the team build something that works beautifully?
- Business model – how do you go to market, get a customer, make money, competitive advantage?
Below is a summary of the pitches from Sunday night.
- DigitalSixth – “We create a digital sixth sense in the physical world.” – problem is there’s no easy way to track location in a retail, physical world. We all have bluetooth, wifi, and gsm emanating from our phones. Each has a unique ID with lots of data, including every other device you’ve connected to. They setup a LIVE demo in the Coke space with a sensor in each corner to track data, and then gave us a visualization of the data points that they collected. Then they overlayed that data on a floor plan of the space, and created a heat map, showing where everyone walked by device type and maker. The sensors are small and cheap, and could be made from a Raspberry Pi. Digital Sixth will create open source software to run all of this analysis, collect data, and give the retail industry a means to have or build Google Analytics for every retail store. How’s this different from iBeacons? John Kim, the presenter, said Digital Sixth can be personalized to the user based on where they went in the store and what they put in their cart, again, much like ecommerce shopping cart analytics.
- Quintro – Jen Bonnett pitched this idea on Friday, disbanded on Saturday morning, and then a team formed to build the app. It’s an app for important, successful people whose calendar is packed, meet with 80+ people / month, and spent hours and hours making digital intros. Fast and effective intros with 3 clicks/taps. Leaders, busy connectors, VCs, value creators, mentors/coaches need this tool to save hours each day in the part of their life in which they add the most value. Freemium business model. Free to use up to 4 intros, then $1/month. The context of why you’re introducing someone comes from the person who asked for the introduction via email.
- Shopper Rally – Troy Wilson presented a web and mobile app that gives small businesses (in any market or space) group purchasing power. Troy has years of experience in the regional grocery industry, where they partnered other regional grocery stores to compete on price with folks like Wal-Mart. Business model is subscription for users to have access to pre-negotiated power pricing for small businesses. Competitors include MassDrop, higgle, orderwithme.com, and Rewared.li. Judges noted the chicken and egg problem that you have to have scale to negotiate prices and you have to have good prices to get scale of customers.
- Attendalytics – Lance and Nathan presented. At a conference, which speakers do you go hear? What exhibits do you seek out? How do you know? We don’t have data on who goes where and when. Solution is a Bluetooth LE beacon in each attendee’s badge, then track the movement of everyone at the conference. They located 3 sensors in the Coke room, and tracked them for a given time slice. With data, conference organizers can plan next year’s conference better and make on the fly decisions about current conference attendance. They can even track how many impressions a particular booth got based on its location. $14B market in the US. TAM = 1,000 attendee conferences and there are 61k of these type of conferences each year. Attendalytics thinks they can be profitable in less than a year just in the Atlanta market. Create data driven decisions for conference planners. What is the benefit to attendees with the Bluetooth device around my neck? You’re tracking me. What do I get out of this?
- Jobid.co – Local jobs and local help, connected. How do you know if you’re getting a good price for a contract job you need done? Jobid: Post work, description, pictures for the job you want done. Contractors then bid for the job. Payment is taken care of through the jobid app. The “Magic” of Jobid is that they give the power to the consumer and letting them dictate how much they are willing to pay. Elance for contractors. Users and contractors post profiles. Contractors decide to bid. Consumer confirms, and they meet in the app. Job gets done, payment is held in escrow until the customer is satisfied, then contractor gets paid. 133 M housing units in the US. 10.3 M contractors. Pilot in Atlanta metro, then 10 locations over the next year. Competition, since this is not a new space: craigslist, task rabbit, etc. Jobid brings the costs down, prevents the spammers from clogging the channel by charging $1 per transaction plus a percentage of the contract price. First presenter to have an “Ask”, and they asked for help. Brilliant. They asked for mentors. Jobid.co will offer reasonable price expectations and ratings for consumers.
- Likely – Whenever you make a purchase decision, large or small, you might be completely wrong. From a dinner to car or mortgage or babysitter. Bad outcomes could affect your professional, personal, or social life. How do you mitigate the risk of making a bad purchasing decision? Likely: use your location, category, and context, and asks his social friends for help. It’s the app for phone a friend from “Who wants to be a millionaire?” in real life. Ask friends from Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., via sms for instant answers. Visualize the recommendations on Google Maps. Customer discovery: not everyone wants to make or get recommendations! Users cared about location, cost, and what’s new. Some said they might even purposely steer their friends wrong. Just for fun. Most said they don’t trust Yelp, OpenTable, or Google for recommendations. Users enjoy it for free. Customers pay to be a promoted source of recommendations. What’s broken about Facebook? FB polls suck, and response is slow. Likely gives SMS responses.
- StudyGroupz – Instant organization of college study groups based on your calendar and when you’re available. They interviewed 10 students at GT, and found that students want to connect to share notes, study guides, and questions, and that study groups are effective for students. Could be a stand alone company or a feature for an LMS. Will there be enough student demand?
- GatherCam – “Like you were there, everywhere.” Event photos from all of your social networks. Patrick started his presentation with a judges selfie. Patrick is getting married next year. He really wants to make sure he captures the personal photos taken at the event, but everyone uses different social networks. Do you really want to scrape photos on your honeymoon? The demo is from #ATLSW. Bam! All the pictures from this weekend in their tweets, instagrams, and Facebook posts in one place! TAM: $40B for 2.5M weddings each year; $6.1B in wedding photos. Will people pay for it? “I wish I could get all of friends photos” from cd. Business model: Gather photos with service, and users pay to use that album, or affilitate payments from dropbox for upgrades to pro storage. Competitors make you download an app for a single event. At the end of the demo, Patrick showed all the photos that were taken during his talk. Gathercam does not require an app. Just a web service with a login. How do you train non power users to use a hashtag? What if two weddings have the same hashtag: #mattandjenswedding Growth hack could be evite type services.
- CokeCase – Nicolas Bennett trying to get an idea moving at Coke. From World of Coca-Cola tasting room, where you taste stuff that you cannot get in the US. Coke Case is a curated offering of specific Coke brands delivered to your door one time or monthly. A subscription service for trying all Coke products. There is a gray market for Coke products already, plus the proliferation of bundled subscriptions (dollarshaveclub.com), and ecommerce is simple. Each case would cost Coke $14.54, and the ideal price would be about $24. Physical inventory and distribution will be one of the biggest challenges. Also, how can Coke create each case for less than $15?
- BarcodeRoulette – What’s the deal with loyalty programs and rewards cards? BLAH! They talked to 20 people and got 34 surveys. They found that people just want a deal now, they want to share it with friends, and the businesses want to increase sales. Two insights: customer stickiness and instant gratification can be done at once. Using BarcodeRoulette, open the app, and see all the local restaurants organized by how close they are to your location. Pop in Google Maps. At checkout, show the cashier barcode or QR code. This time you get a discount. Revenue from businesses subscribing to the service and a % of each sale from BR. But chicken and egg again: how do you get users? Just have a group of friends going out to eat at a participating restaurant. New customers and more return customers to businesses. No hassles and more freebies for users. Very hard to sign up local businesses.
- Best pitch recovery: Qintro
- 2nd place best design: Likely
- Crazy Pivot Award: Jobid.co
- Team Spirit: StudyGroupz
- Judges winner third place: Attendalytics ($500 plus a bunch of other stuff)
- Judges winner second place: Qintro ($800 plus a bunch of other stuff)
- Judges winner first place and Audience Choice: GatherCam ($1,000 and a bunch of other great stuff)
If you love startups, and have a free weekend, I highly recommend you attend the next Startup Weekend. Great event.