Startup Weekend Bangkok came to a close Sunday night after an intense, sweaty 54 hours of pitching, grouping, working, eating, sleeping (a little) and developing – as could be expected – an eclectic range of businesses.
The Bangkok version of the global event was organized by HUBBA co-working space, who provided quite the set up on their grounds at Ekkamai Soi 4. Tents outside, floors inside, and clusters of eager entrepreneurs teaming up to create winning businesses.
The non-profit Kaufman Foundation is a “global grassroots movement” of entrepreneurs seeking to learn the basics of founding startups and launching ventures – the largest community of “passionate entrepreneurs” with over 400 events in 100 countries in 2011, the Startup Weekend website claims.
Organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world, hosting events that follow the same basic model: Anyone can pitch an idea, with the best determined by popular vote. Teams are then formed around the top ideas followed by a 54-hour session of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. The whole thing culminates in presentations to local entrepreneurial leaders who provide critical feedback and select winners.
And Bangkok’s winners? Infinit Closet wardrobe sharing application; Fluffi, a social networking site for pets and their owners; and Toilet Now, an app that helps you locate, rate, and entertain yourself in public restrooms.
Infinit Closet, taker of the top prize, is a digital platform that allows “girls to connect their closets with their friends so they can borrow each other’s fashion items without hassle,” team member Wichaya “Maprang” Sirasupparoekchai said.
For their winning effort, the Infinit Closet team took home four tickets to Echelon Ignite Thailand startup conference, two tickets to the Disrupt University Generation 3, 12 months of SoftLayer hosting, a three-month HUBBA membership and three-month consultancy with Startup Friends.
“The startup weekend experience was pretty intense... but we could pull this off only because of the teamwork. It was a really good event that gave people the opportunity to dare and dream and believe in themselves,” Maprang said, referring to the spontaneous team formation around pitches that won first-round approval on Friday night.
Maprang said that the team is pushing forward with Infinit Closet.
“We’ll think through the plan again, go into detail both in terms of marketing and technology – one of the judges said if we could prove that we could really attract users to engage with the platform, they would invest, so we have no choice but to show them we can make it real,” she said.
For those of you who are Creators of Facebook Profiles for your Pets, Fluffi – first runners up – have something for you.
Fluffi is a social networking website for animals, pet owners and pet lovers.
“The way we see it, there is a huge demand for internet savvy users with pets who want to share their beloved animals online. Based on our research, they usually like doing so within a community, however there is no proper social network based community out there,” Fluffi team member Harprem Doowa told Coconuts.
“Our plans from here on out are to expand locally and regionally using key partnerships. We are moving forward with the idea and are working on developing a working prototype,” said Doowa, adding that his team had a phenomenal time at the startup event.
“One of the best experiences ever. The energy and environment at HUBBA during the event would have yielded nothing but creative ideas with people bouncing thoughts off one another – it felt like we were in a casino where everyone was up, happy and didn’t care about the time.”
And second runners up – which your coco-correspondent finds to be a very promising venture – is Toilet Now, an app comparable to Yelp review and local search site. What differentiates Toilet Now is evident in its name: When duty calls, the application would allow users to locate the nearest facilities and make a judgement call based on user reviews.
Not only would Toilet Now allow the potty-hunter to locate an acceptable receptacle, but it would include reading material and games, the results of which you could share on social media. We are looking forward to this one.
The recently launched HUBBA seems to have pulled this one off flawlessly, with participants resoundingly praising the experience.
“We [got to know] a lot of amazing people who have the same passion as ours – inspire and be inspired. I hope there will be more events like this in the future,” Maprang said.
Coconuts Bangkok is a media partner with Startup Weekend Bangkok.