This is actually extraordinary. Today it is possible to create an operating service that can have real market value within 24 hours. This is a fairly new phenomenon, enabled very significantly by the platforms such as widespread APIs, programming libraries, application stores, aggregated advertising, and other elements that can be combined and recombined in ways limited only by the imagination.
Last night I attended the presentations from the teams that worked at Startup Camp Sydney II to create viable start-ups in a touch over 24 hours.
VIDEO OF STARTUP PRESENTATIONSStreaming Video by Ustream.TV
Startup Camp was established in Australia by Bart Jellema and Kim Chen of Tjoos.com. They had been talking about the idea of getting together a group to create start-ups over a weekend, and then at one of the Silicon Beach drinks in Sydney said OK let’s do it next weekend, and did. Neither of the founders were initially aware of the Startup Camp in San Francisco, which is an Unconference on Startups, and designed the idea from scratch, so the Australian Startup Camps are different from ones in other locations such as Montreal. The key concept is to help people to get experience creating a tech startup in a brief period, including not only coding the service, but also addressing marketing and pr issues, and pitching to both journalists and venture capitalists.
The process, as I understand it, is that when people arrive at 6pm on Friday they are given colored dots to put on their name badge to indicate their skills in terms of specific coding skills or marketing and design capabilities. People formed teams based on having similar programming capabilities, plus relevant complementary skills. Team then worked out what they wanted from the experience, and on the basis of that generated several possible ideas for start-ups. They pitched these within the team, and selected one idea to run with. They then have until 9pm on Saturday night to create a working service.
One entire team did not sleep at all on Friday night, while other teams had some who went home briefly with others sleeping on the couches at the Startup Camp venue. Some I spoke to who went home for a few hours for a quick sleep felt they were letting the team down.
On the Saturday night a few journalists and bloggers were invited along to the presentations – I attended, and a number of journalists including Kristen LeMesurier of Sydney Morning Herald were there. On Sunday morning slightly refined pitches were made to very prominent Australian VCs, including Allan Aaron of Technology Venture Partners and Bill Bartee of Southern Cross Venture Partners.
SELLING THE STARTUPS
The final stage is that in three weeks the services created over the weekend will be auctioned, with the team participants sharing the proceeds. Apparently some of the viable start-ups generated during previous Startup Camps did not get built further, despite the enthusiasm of some team members, because of unrealistic expectations of valuations by some team members. The auction process short-cuts that, enabling some team members to buy the idea off others if there are no higher bids. I’ll be very interested to hear how that process goes.
In the previous Startup Camps there have been some prominent successes, notably uTag, which adds an advertising frame to outgoing links from blogs or other websites. This has apparently served over 1 million ads.
THE SIX STARTUPS
Here are quick notes on the start-ups taken yesterday evening.
Let’s communities turn collective search traffic into cash for their preferred causes. People can create search pages for their favarite charity, which serves Google search results, with the Google Adsense ads served on the site. One set of ads provides revenue to the charity and another set of ads pays for costs for running the site.
It will be promoted to large Australian charities, and through social media.
Crawls for events and activities across a wide range of sources to find things that are relevant to you. Plan is to monetize later after having built users and relataionships, and not put in ads. Will charge people to actively promote their events and access premium features. Users can search by date, how much time you have available, how far you’re willing to travel, and interests.
To drive safely, ,,drive smart, and avoid speed cameras. There are 160 speed cameras in NSW and 110 people losing their licenses every day. Know about traffic delays ahead of time, be warned about speed cameras, help others to do the same. The speed camera application gives audible warnings before you hit traffic hazards. If you see a traffic camera or traffic delay, you can add warnnigs that others can see.
It will be sold for $4.99 in the app store, however will be free for the first 24 hours. People can register to be notified when the first 24 hours of availability happens. Relies on user feedback. Can exclude users from being able to add events if they are abusing the system.
ThreeFeeds lets you easily aggregate and share news, web search, social search, and RSS feeds. It’s all about relevancy. Empowers mavens to share relevant information that they see. It is based on a search field, aggregating results from the web, blogs and Twitter for particular search terms. It’s like a customizable Alltop that allows users to choose the terms you want information about. When you have created your site, you can subscribe by RSS or email. Can share on Facebook, Twitter, and via a URL, and you can embed a customizable widget. Monetization could be through distinguishing between freemium and premium services in the number or size of feeds created and shared, and by providing versions for corporates to use internally.
This online pet dating services allow pet owners to get their pets to meet friends. You can browse other pets registered on the site, use Google Maps to see where other pets are located. The pet profile is very detailed, including body type, hair color, best features, diet, whether they want children, treats they like and so on. The site will be free to use, and generate revenue by selling goods and services for pet owners. Owners can post personal messages, for example as in the video below.
The system is built on an open source dating platform called OSdate.
‘EpicTweet captures the smartest, the funniest and the most interesting tweets as decide by you!’ It publishes the best of Twitter, with columns sshowing the most recent and all time epic tweets. Tweets are identified either by people adding #epictweet to their post, and also people voting for whether Tweets are epic or not. The system is built on a .NET platform, using keywords, hashtags and other attributes to identify potential epic tweets, and then a set of algorithms to weight the votes. Revenue model could include contextual advertising.
I think the fantastic thing is that all of these are solid ideas. Even My Pet Needs Love, which inspired laughs during the presentation, and probably is a long shot, has a chance of getting some traction. The quality of the concepts, design, and in some cases even the coding is quite amazing for all six offerings.
iTraffic App is the most likely to do well, I think, given that the iPhone app store offers a ready monetization mechanism, and that there is potential to roll this out across different countries once the service is functioning smoothly. GiveDo could easily get some significant traction, and apparently already had a not-for-profit sign up for it while it was in development. EpicTweet might get attention, though the monetization mechanism is tough. ActivityHorizon definitely has legs, in that there is substantial value creation to users, and there is no-one doing this well now, however there would be significant development and marketing costs to launch this properly. ThreeFeeds could certainly be the starting point for a site that could build significant traffic as it evolves its offering. Even My Pet Needs Love could certainly get media attention for the idea, and just might get somewhere, though I wouldn’t line up to invest.
For other reviews of the event and start-ups generated see: