It was such a busy weekend. The mission was to build a startup in 54 hours. Holding the rule: „No talk. All action”, Startup Weekend Trojmiasto took place at Pomeranian Science and Technology Park in Gdynia 9-11 Nov 2012. We were there, as a coach, a participant and a guest. From our different points of view it was a very inspiring time. Great place to work on a new project, exchange experience and network, and of course to build a startup.
We already know the winner of Startup Weekend Trojmiasto – it is Virtual Recruiter. But there were also two additional winners. The best pitch, chosen by judges was Let’s deliver! and People’s choice went to the Meetravel.
When you create a startup you need to have your audience and future clients in mind. Without them your solution won’t achieve success. That’s why I think People’s choice is no less important than the judges’ one. I decided to talk with our Business Development Executive, Damian Winkowski who is also a part of the MeeTravel team. In his own words, he likes challenges and public speaking. As a huge fan of TED.com he never loses a chance to improve his skills. He is also a Startup Geek and he works as a Marketing and Sales Advisor in Sprzedambyka.pl
How big is your team and who did you build MeeTravel with?
My team was the smallest at the Startup Weekend. The funny thing is that 20 people voted for my idea, but only 3 of them decided to join me afterwards: Agnieszka (a mother and iPad lover) and Darek (a programmer). It was hard to build some kind of prototype.
Tell me something about your startup. How does it work?
It is quite a simple idea. Do you fly often? Remember the moments you were bored. You were waiting for the departure and you had around 1 hour of free time. You went to Starbucks or Costa and took a cup of coffee. There were so many people in similar situation around you and many of them could prove to be really interesting. The diversity on the airport is huge. Many travellers are open-minded people and they would love to spend time with someone like them: interesting and like-minded. Here is the place for our app. With MeeTravel you can easily find people around you with similar interests or even meet someone, who is your complete opposite. You send them your invitation, you connect with each other and finally you receive a discount coupon for a coffee. Results can be quite varied: maybe you’ll find a new business connection, a new friend or… a special someone?
I know you changed completely your startup idea less than 20 hours before the end of Startup Weekend Trojmiasto? What happened? And was it your decision or the mentors’ suggestion?
That was my idea. At some point it became too complex and after market validation I realized that it can be hard to continue the project. I was upset. But then Ari from India came over and told me that he will be our first customer if we create the app for him and other travellers, who want to connect with other interesting people. That was it. I decided to do it.
Who is MeeTravler’s target group?
Mostly travellers, open-minded people, who want to connect with other people with similar interests. It is good for all, who are open to unexpected valuable meetings.
Would you like to work more on MeeTraveler or it was just a startup weekend project?
I talked to a few friends and I want to make a wider market validation and a market fit. If my research gives me positive results, I will create a beta version and then launch it. I want to measure if people would love to use such an app and if they wish to meet other like-minded people.
What’s your next step? Are you looking for a new team member?
Yes, I have already spoken to a few people. During SW Trojmiasto I didn’t have a designer or an Android Developer – I couldn’t create a prototype. I will recruit some pirates soon.
What do you think about the idea of Startup Weekends? Is it a good place to build your startup?
I am not sure. It is a good idea to feel excited about entrepreneurship and to meet other crazy people who can change the world. It is hard to build a startup in 54 hours, but definitely you can collect valuable feedback for your project. You can learn how to validate market, how to make a great pitch and how to work with unknown people. Also networking is a great part of this event. In general SW is a great idea for a start, you become brave, see other hard-working people and start to believe that you can succeed. I recommend it to everyone who thinks about starting their own business.