Over the last weekend, I decided to check out the first Startup Weekend Women Chicago and hoping to just take a peek on what it's all about. Got there earlier and really didn't expect much until it all got started …
The Pitch & Voting plus Team Recruit
It started with a pitch, everyone got a chance to deliver their pitch in 60 seconds to promote their idea and hoping others will join them as a team. I pitched too. Although it was really tough to get up out there but I did it. I'm sure the others were very nervous as well, so you technically have nothing to lose.
After more than 30 pitches were thrown out to the room, everyone got to vote to whichever pitch(es) they think should go to the next round. Sadly, my pitch didn't make it to the big ten, but that's ok I was ready to join another team for the event.
Each pitch that made it to the big ten redid their pitch in 30 seconds just to refresh our memories one more time. By the time it reached the fifth pitches, I already have few pitches that I'd like to join and help with my design skill. But knowing that I can only join one, I set my choice to the Woof (at that time it was WOOF? idk since Christina Durbin/Team leader didn't know what to call the project and literally pitch in last minute). The basic idea of Woof was help making pet adoption easy.
The Blood Sweat & Tears aka. Project Discovery, Design & Development
The next day (Saturday), we started with quick brainstorm session and set individual tasks for business discovery, design and development. Our idea is to create a simple and intuitive iOS app that can also help making pet adoption selection and process easier.
We have two designers on the team, though since Chris would like to dive into the business discovery for the project along with our street team–Steve McClendon and Debbie Stefko, I volunteered to do all design related tasks. Designing another iOS app is something that I always want to revisit again, but with ‘don't have the time' excuse I never really get the time.
Start with the branding, earlier in the day we set the name to Pound Pet (#Pet) to cover not only dogs but also cats and other animals for the adoption options. Below is the quick identity design for Pound Pet.
We then sketch and brainstorm the idea for the app interaction, then we transfer it to iOS design.
Close to the evening, after having all the business discovery, data research and coaching, we agree that we will revert back to Woof and focusing only to dogs.
After finalizing most of the screen designs, it's only a matter of changing our logo. Above is the one we finalized for the day.
Sunday is the last day for our baby project and our preparation for the pitch presentation. Luckily having three hackers (reference for those with code and development background) on the team, the app development is going pretty smooth before the judging. Benjamin Hallock and Naomi Himley was really awesome to work with side by side for design and development throughout the weekend, plus with Mark Wade shadowing them for iOS development and handling the landing page, we were confident to present the working app.
Getting ready for the real pitch presentation and judging, we gave feedback to Chris and support her while she practiced the presentation. With help from coaches at the event, she was able to get a better feedback and prepare to present the team's project at the end of the day. We even prepared some goodie bags for the judges and brought by our street team.
The REAL Pitch & Judging
Time for the REAL pitch … all of us got nervous while Chris keep practicing on the presentation slides. Being the first team who will present didn't help either. And then show time …
After our presentation, hearing other team's presentation was really great too. Everyone present their idea differently and have their own unique solution to each project. Really inspiring on how by spending just the weekend together as a team, you ended up create a startup project with pretty much solid idea, solution and how to get revenue from it.
Drumroll … and tada … I personally congrats everyone with their awesome projects and double congratulations to the winners:
Honorary Winner: 5tonine
3rd Place: Rentaurant
2nd Place: Fit Plan
1st Place: Woof
Yup, Woof won the first place! Isn't that cool? We all got super excited and made a commitment to continue the project and hoping to launch it very soon. Make sure to be the one to know when it's out on the website: woofapp.com
Design details coming soon.