Posted on | January 17, 2012 | Comments Off on CoolBike team goes Hangzhou
SHANGHAI – Dutch CoolBike Team members Joep Smits and Koen van Riel went to the Start Up Weekend in Hangzhou in December, 2011. The Start Up Weekend was all about helping starting entrepreneurs to speed up the development of their business ideas. More info at: http://www.startupweekendcn.org/
The Startup Weekend in Hangzhou was organized to help starting entrepreneurs to speed up the development of their business ideas. During the weekend, entrepreneurs could work together with a team of people to create a prototype for their idea.
“Our weekend kicked off with a sales pitch to promote our idea”, Joep said. We want to create a Smartphone app that makes biking more fun, convenient and exciting, by combining navigation, functional information and social media features. All entrepreneurs could present their ideas to all participants of the weekend. After the pitches, people could choose which idea they liked best and team up with entrepreneurs to work on their idea. Joep and Koen ended up with the largest crew to work on their idea. Koen added “It’s great that everyone was enthusiastic about our plans.” During the weekend the teams had to work on developing a prototype, which had to be presented to a jury on Sunday evening.
Koen reflected while looking back at the weekend.
“We hoped to meet developers and programmers that could help us to develop a prototype of an app, which we could present to venture capitalists to get our project financed. However, most attendants were motivated students who liked to participate in the startup weekend. The jury consisted of small business owners who had to decide which idea was best. Unfortunately, everyone else presented their ideas in Chinese, so we do not have any clue about what the other ideas entail.”
Joep continued: “We pitched our idea to develop an app on Friday night. A lot of attendants liked our idea and wanted to work with us; we ended up with the largest team. As we decided to participate in the Start Up Weekend just a few days before, we had not exactly figured out how to proceed our plans during the weekend. Therefore, we hoped to get an interactive brainstorming session with some developers. On the contrary, our team members, mainly Chinese students, expected us to give them step-by-step instructions about what to work on. The above combined with the language barrier, we faced a huge challenge. We solved this by communicating mainly via a Chinese girl, whose major is in global communication. Next time, we should send in a mixed team of both English and Chinese speaking members”
Koen added: “During the weekend we have also talked to several mentors and jury members, who were very enthusiastic about our idea and think that eventually the business opportunities are going to be endless.”
The team spent most time working on designs of what the actual app should look like and investigated how to acquire data needed to get the app running properly. The team had a great experience working together and are convinced that the app will be a success.
In short, “we were not able to build a prototype or find venture capitalists. However, we found validation for our project as everyone we have spoken was enthusiastic about the app. Moreover, some people from our team created some designs that we could use to show to developers and designers in the future. So we have also learned, that even if you do not get what you expected at all, you can still get something out of most, if not all, situations.” Joep concluded.