104 registered participants seemed like a good start for the first ever Startup Weekend Helsinki. Within few hours Open Innovation House was filled with extremely motivated people eager to share their ideas and find new team members to make it happen. It didn’t look like any of the participants needed energy drinks generously provided by one of our sponsors because the level on energy was astonishing!
After nice relaxing pizza dinner and networking, the Startup Weekend program took off with an amazing speech by great Fabian, Will, the fathers of SW Helsinki and Simon, the president of SW Switzerland. The place was on fire and not only because of not perfect conditioning systems (another problem to brainstorm?). “Half-baked”…This was a funny and very creative warm up for the participants. How does it work? Well, participants had to come up with random (and by random I mean “reindeer”, “orgy”, “speech recognition” and “poop”) words which then were combined into the name for startups, for example “Start Potato”. Participants were divided into teams and each team would work on a certain rather unexpected word combination and then pitch it in 60 seconds. Well, you can barely call this exercise “serious” but everyone had a lot of fun, people got to know each other better and received an opportunity to pitch for the very first time. I must say the pitches were impressive! Seems like participants were doing this for living!
After this incredible boost of creativity it was time to move on to more serious stuff – the actual ideas of the participants. Well, what can I say – during the pitches we’ve heard it all: making it easier to read online, making it more fun to run and exercise, transforming couples’ bad habits into good emotions, choosing names for babies, exploring all kinds of fun and leisure activities, finding the “sexiest” places in town, making it easier to order pizza online, something about virtual barbershop, getting help from the people in your life when you need it, creating personal road signs to get what you want, entertainment portal, sports gear rental, mobile sports academy… One word to describe it all is wow! The most amazing thing was that some of the ideas were born right at a spot – this is the power of entrepreneurial spirit! When all volunteers pitched their ideas it was time to choose the best ones and to form the teams. Our talents in green (business), purple (designers) orange (developers) t-shirts were putting all of their selling and marketing skills to get people vote for or/and join their teams!
Finally, it was time to pick the winning ideas! The lucky seventeen were identified! The next hour or so were spent for recruiting. Which ideas were the favorite ones? Who got all the resources they needed? We’ll tell you about all the formed teams and their ideas in our next post!