Day 03 of Startup Weekend Trincomalee was off to a resounding start. Following an action packed volleyball match on the beach followed by a dip in the sea, the teams were geared up and all set to push through and tie up all the loose ends before the final presentations. Day One and Day Two of Startup Weekend Trincomalee had the teams working tirelessly to turn their ideas into reality and this would be the day to show it.
We learnt about law from Dinushka Medagoda
Dinushka, the founder of eLawyers spoke about the challenges of getting an idea into the business world. Once you validate your idea, your product should be protected when going to market. A key factor that Dinushka spoke about to the teams at Startup Weekend Trincomalee was to either setup a company or to work as partners.
Dinushka also spoke about a legal document called the Founders agreement. This agreements states that each founder is entitled to certain rights of the business. He emphasized that when starting your own company or working with a partner, you should make sure that there is a mutual understanding of the team, product, strengths and capacities. This is important if you want your company and product to succeed. From there, you can setup a business registration.
Our ideas must be protected by a patent or a trademark. As your business expands, you need to establish a term of contract. This helps you understand terms, negotiations and other elements that will help your business. You need to ensure that you know as much as you can. Ask questions. Before you sign up for something, read it, and understand it. That will help you avoid unnecessary problems.
Entrepreneurs are more equipped and better than those who are working under someone else because they are free to work on what they want. They provide a solution to society’s problems. They also have to know what society is expecting of them. Entrepreneurs can even run the world. With the advancements of technology, we have a plethora of tools at our disposal and we should make use of these. With a few more words of encouragement, Dinushka’s session came to an end and the teams now invigorated with fresh ideas worked with even more enthusiasm to prepare for the final presentations.
The Mock Pitches of Startup Weekend Trincomalee
Following lunch, the team made the mock pitches to their designated mentors. These would be a warm up to the actual pitches that would take place towards evening. That being said though, the teams did not take these things lightly and certainly ensured that they put their backs into it to pull off some amazing presentations and pitches.
The Final Pitches of Startup Weekend Trincomalee
5 pm signaled the arrival of the judges. This was it. 54 hours of hard work would come down to a mere 3-minute presentation. As the teams did their last minute preparations, the anticipation in the room was reaching certainly an exciting pitch? Who would walk away crowned the winner of Startup Weekend Trincomalee? We were about to find out.
The first team was Team GBR
The team’s product was an app to optimize garbage collection. GBR or Good Bye Rubbish is an app that would track the navigation of a garbage collection. The app will show the closest Garbage Bins. Users can see what garbage collectors are coming to locations and what type of garbage they would be collecting as well.
Team DREV was next
They were presenting their product “Doctor Reviewing and Booking”. They’ve identified that doctors are at times unable to attend their personal calls and that they can also be late or absent. This means that patients are in a queue and are unable to see doctors. With this app, patients would not have to wait in long queues. In addition, if they are unsure of the doctor, they can see the details and profile of doctors to see how well ranked they are.
The website would display the top rated doctors along with a filtering mechanism to sort doctors by name, what they specialize in and the province that they are in. Once booked, you can pay for the booking via an online payment gateway. They have identified eChannelling and Doc99 as their primary competitor.
Team TFS (Traffic Fining System
Their solution is an app and web application that can be used to pay a traffic fine online. The traffic officer would issue the ticket via the app. By entering the driver’s NIC, the officer would get all the details in the system. The officer would enter the fine amount and then the app would generate a QR code. If the driver wishes, he/she can pay the fine on the spot, or go to the nearest post office and scan the QR code to make the payment.
According to the judges, a primary source of income is this very payment. In addition, the punishment of the ticket is not merely the fee, but rather the hassle of paying the ticket and getting your license back. If the system was implemented, this would mean that the post office would lose a source of income. Because the process of getting your license back is now easier, that would encourage more drivers to drive recklessly.
Team Mind Health
According to research carried out depression and the rate of suicide is on the increase in Sri Lanka. They propose an online platform for those who need help to contact counselors. Even though counselors have free time after their working hours, they have no knowledge of those suffering from depression. This is where Mind Health comes into play.
This is a platform to connect patients with counselors. You can check out the profile of counselors and carry out video voice or personal chats with counselors or even have anonymous discussions. There are a number of activities that patients can take part in for them to calm themselves down. They would charge Rs. 250/- per booking and the company would take a 10% commission of the counselor’s charge.
The team has identified a problem of a mother not being able to do her day-to-day activity due to the need to take care of their children. Their solution is a monitoring system of two parts. One part would be near the child and the second part would be with the parent. If the child makes a sound and is restless, the mother can use the device to generate sounds and videos that the child is familiar with, in order to calm them down.
The devices are connected via WIFI and would be priced at $150. If the parent needs to go out of the house, they can use a mobile app which would cost $3. According to the team, compared to their competitors, iMum is priced significantly cheaper, and has a screen for image and video playback as well.
The CWW Kannankara Education Trust is a non-profit education trust. They stress the importance of education. As such, their vision is to expand the capacities of students regardless of the financial barrier. Their solution is a non-profitable organization which supports students who are stopping their education due to lack of financial funds and poverty. They would provide smart study techniques, skills development training etc.
A point identified by the judges was the Government provides free education for those who are studying O/Ls or A/Ls. The only payments that would be needed to be carried out would be if the students needed tuition.
Automatic Indicator by Team WE3
Their product, Automatic Indicator is a product that will automatically turn on/off indicator signals for vehicles at a 35m distance. It also makes use of GPS and a localized mapping system to control the signal lights based on the route you’re going. If the route deviates, the driver can change the signal lights by means of a voice command.
This is to identify the problem of forgetting to turn on/off signals which in turn can cause accidents and traffic blocks. They target automobile manufactures and garages as well. According to research done, it would reduce both accidents and traffic jams.
The team wants people to Learn English Easily (hence the name). A number of common problems they’ve identified is that the teaching methodologies are boring, students don’t have a convenient time to learn and they think it’s not that important. This is where LEE excels. It would provide a gamified approach to teaching English. The app would have a beginner, intermediate and expert level. By means of images, the user could learn the name of objects and their spelling as well.
They call the app LEE World. Registration is free with free sample games. They would also have a subscription methods offering more advanced levels and games. They would reach customers via social media and other methods.
We learnt about Growth Hacking from Robinson Prashanthan
Robinson, CEO at Innovay was on stage to talk about how to grow your startup once it’s launched. Startup Weekend Trincomalee has helped participants build and launch products, but now it’s all about marketing. You need to reach your target market fast. But Growth Hacking is not something you can do overnight.
Robinson explained to the teams at Startup Weekend Trincomalee that the first thing about Growth Hacking is that you should believe in your product before you take it to market. From there, carry out a customer validation to ensure that you can identify customers who would use your product.
Customer validation is key
All products that have been validated in this manner have been successful, Robinson explained. He went into detail about how customer validation is carried out and how we can fine tune it. He emphasized that you yourself must first ask yourself if you would use your own product, before pitching it to others.
From there, Robinson explained that the next step is to go viral. This involves going freemium for a while and implementing a friend and family referral. From then focus from freemium models to a premium model to generate more revenue. Rather than thinking about a 5-year growth plan, you need to plan for 2 years. On the other hand, Growth hacking will either make your company grow fast, or die fast.
He encouraged the participants to keep on developing and to keep adding features to their products by taking a look at their competition and see how you can improve your product’s performance. Get feedback from your peers and customer and adjust accordingly.
And the winner of Startup Weekend Trincomalee was:
It was finally time to announce the winners of Startup Weekend Trincomalee. Apart from the top three projects, the judges also gave a special award to the most innovative idea as well. Without further adom here are the winners of Startup Weekend Trincomalee:
- Most Innovative Idea – Team iMum (they were multi ethnic and also the only female team)
- 3rd Place – Mind Health
- 2nd Place – LEE (Learn English Easily)
- 1st Place and Winner of Startup Weekend Trincomalee – Good Bye Rubbish (GBR)
Overall, Startup Weekend Trincomalee was indeed the experience of a lifetime. From the people, to the places and the culture, everything came together and we saw ideas that were both novel and refreshing. With the vote of thanks being delivered by Harshi Samarasekara, Startup Weekend Trincomalee officially came to a close.