This, our 3rd and final day of coverage for Startup Weekend Toronto, was much quieter than our experience from day two. Upon our arrival at the Burroughes building, we found each team was heads down, wired in and working away diligently on finishing their projects, putting together their final presentation and troubleshooting technical issues. During the course of the day, each team drew a number to determine the order in which they would present.
A number of companies launched their initial offering today, including StartupFuel.ca, BabySimplify (covered here), TransitHub (covered here), as well as many others, such as Vizualize.me and Bakstage.me.
(Author’s note: We opted not to conduct any in-depth interviews today as we did not want to disrupt any of the teams working to meet the 3:30pm deadline.)
At approximately 3:30pm, a hard stop was declared, and each group convened in the main room was given four minutes to present their idea to a panel of judges. The judges were a varied group, representing such organizations as Rogers Ventures, Blackberry Partners Fund, TorStar Digital and Extreme Venture Partners.
I was impressed with a few of the pitches while others seemed to be relatively light on content. In some cases, a few teams had only a powerpoint presentation to show. Standout performances included ClubdIn (a mobile app for nightclub patrons), ProIntern (a service where busy professional can crowdsource their tasks to students looking to earn additional income), and OneCalMe, a web application that synchronizes availability of all calendar types (Outlook, Google Calendar, etc) into one interface. I liked the TransitHub pitch for a few reasons; they took the time to print matching t-shirts with their logo, and had also printed and bound a business model and financials for each of the judges.
In the end, there were 3 winners. Reputate.me, a “cross-platform reputation engine for establishing trust” (think Klout, but for trustworthiness instead of influence) took third place. BabySimplify, a platform that provides product recommendations for new and expectant mothers, took second place. First place went to Vizualize.me. Their application parses your LinkedIn profile and turns it into an infographic. Of note: within 36 hours, Vizualize.me received over 5500 signups and began generating revenue after only 12 hours.
“Startup Weekend was a dream come true for me”, said Alison Gibbins, founder of BabySimplify. “This event gave me the motivation to take our newly-formed company seriously and move forward with it. I met some great people and had fun, and I hope the rest of the team did as well. As far where it goes from here, I don’t know right now. I’m going to reconnect with the mentors and the judges, as well as a few companies in the parenting goods field.”
I suspect that we’ll be covering these and many other startups over the next few months as they continue to build out their startups and improve their products. Congratulations to all the winners and participants on a job well done!