streda 5. júna 2013

Borovička visiting Startup Weekend Tuzla

Borovička is delighted to announce the first blog post in English in its history. What else should it be on if not on one of our favorite topics, a startup event. This time we’ve been enjoying the vibe at Startup Weekend Tuzla in Bosnia &Herzegovina. The organizing team showed great enthusiasm and skills. Although it was just a first year Startup Weekend in the city, the event had a high level of proficiency.
The area of Electro-technical University was a good choice, as it is located in the closest center of Tuzla town. The atmosphere was semiformal and relaxed. Maxo, the facilitator and moderator of the venue, brought an international element to the crowd. After the opening speech, the dinner and the first part of networking took place and they were a nice prelude to the idea makers’ pitches as well as to the team creation. All went pretty fast. As much as 21 business ideas emerged on Friday.

These were reduced by the audience to 9 best ideas that were to be developed during the weekend.
The teams started to work immediately. It was very interesting to observe the newly formed teams. A group of geeks was running around the car park to catch some Wi-Fi. A single-member team with external coworkers with pre-prepared idea to be executed on the spot calling his friend’s marketing agency to do the market research for him. Nice and different things happened there.

Saturday was, as usually, full of frantic efforts of the teams working on their business models and technical implementation. On Sunday, the teams worked especially on the preparation of the final pitches. All this happened while receiving intense mentoring from experienced professionals.

After solving some technical issues with the presentations, the big evening finally started. The two-and-a-half day work was presented by the following 8 teams:

- WeART is a regional, Balkan-oriented website for connecting people from the several fine and performing arts fields. Artists would share their works with the public as well as with their colleagues. The authors got motivated from a successful US project and are willing to adapt it to the local conditions. The presentation seemed a little nervous, graphs had no values inserted. However, I believe the audience got what they had to say.

- Clothes Checker is responding to the trend of online shopping for clothes and outfit web-sharing which is getting more and more common to the youngest generation. The team built a web that was integrating contents, social media sharing, and offers from clothes manufacturers. The presentation was clear and comprehensible. Even though clothing is not my cup of tea, I hope to see them on-line soon. The team still needs lots of mentoring to build a serious business model based on numbers. Nevertheless, they might make it.

- The ‘Wish Save Buy’ app is designed to help you save money for the staff you want to buy but do not have money for yet. This is supposed to be a simple and straightforward website using a PayPal API to achieve its goal. The team was built of respectable hard-skillers. I’m happy that they managed to deliver a good pitch. These guys are promising!

- ‘Re-use plastic, be fantastic’ is the tagline of Be Fantastic Bags, who sell a Bosnian grandma made unique, personalized bags made from recycled plastic. The project obviously targets women, especially the ecologically aware ones. Nice pitch.

- Laserify can help with crafting a unique gift for a friend in case one does not know what to gift them for an anniversary. It seems this trend of personalized objects in the region is rising. Nice pitch with an embedded MVP presentation, a direct one. The efforts of the team are focused on doing the whole process online and to provide a fast delivery. They are aiming regional for now.

- Recognize Me is an on-line contest portal for musicians, writers, and video makers in the Balkan region, designed for both amateurs and professionals. It is designed to promote artists’ works and, through the help of professional judges, to make the competition respectable and to provide acknowledgement to the winners. For the time being, they plan to get the money from the artists themselves. However, this might be a problem not only in the Balkans, but in the Western Europe as well. Wish them luck with creating a viable business model.

- Baby App Gugu-gaga is said to know how to recognize the way your baby cries. What more, it will tell you what to do about it. I would be interested in the success rate of their algorithm for the baby cries. The authors claim there is some serious research behind this. If it works, this can be extremely useful to the parents. The team aspires to implement a generic learning algorithm, what seems to be a serious work. They are planning to include feedback from the users. At the same time, they are not planning to customize the algorithm for a respective baby. All in all, I liked the pitch.

- is a web for students to crate their CVs with the use of expert advice and guidelines. We can say they aspire to build a localized LinkedIn service. I would be interested in the numbers on how would this business model based on freemium, ads, and paid campaigns survive on the local market.

Winners announced in the Startup Weekend categories aaaare as follows:

- The Best startup – Baby app Gugu-gaga

- The Best execution – Laserify

- The Best pitch – Be Fantastic Bags

- The Best Social Responsible –

In a nutshell, SW Tuzla was a great experience for the attendees, organizers, mentors, and for us as well. We enjoyed a friendly atmosphere thanks to the organizers. I believe we all learned a lot from each other and I am looking forward to our further cooperation. These Bosnian people are really great guys J Once you forget the prejudices have in your mind concerning the Balkans, and Bosnia & Herzegovina especially, you find a nation of fantastic people with a great future in front of them.
Napravite web stranicu! :D
Intensive mentoring
Business Model Brainstorming
Coders wanna' code!
Final session on Sunday

Order of presentations

Listening to the final pitches
Happy winners
Group photo

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