Techtalks.ph, the grassroots community of techies in Cebu, concluded the sold-out event, the first Cebu Startup Weekend, last May 14 at the UP Cebu Conference Hall in Cebu City. It was a jam-packed venue as the organizers opened the presentation night to the public.

What is Startup Weekend?

To those unfamiliar, Startup Weekend is a 3-day startup boot camp held over the course of a weekend, Friday to Saturday. It is a 54-hour event that gives the participants a venue to come together and share ideas, create business plans, build prototypes, and learn whether an idea can be a viable business.

These 54-hour events are organized by volunteers of Startup Weekend, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle, Washington, USA. In 2010, the organization received a grant from the largest foundation for entrepreneurship in the world – Kauffman Foundation. Right now, there had been 468 events done, 190 events in planning, with almost 5000 teams created since its conception.

The 20 teams formed over the weekend were given only 4 minutes to present their businesses. It ended with 3 teams bringing home the bragging rights and cool prizes. A couple of other teams also won special awards, including People’s Choice. The winning teams were chosen by big-name judges. The list of judges included: Dado Banatao, a FilAm inventor, billionaire, and currently Chairman of the Board of PhilDev, Winston Damarillo of MorphLabs, Jay Aldeguer of The Islands Group, Minette Navarrete of Kickstart Ventures and Alvin Gendrano of Microsoft Philippines.

Cebu’s Startup Weekend via TechTalks.ph

It was an event five months in the making. After collaborating with the facilitators of the Startup Weekend in Manila, the Cebu leg started with a call for volunteers from Tins Amper, the founder of Techtalks.ph. It eventually evolved into a series of meetups and online collaborations by the volunteers who made the event possible.

During the course of organizing the event, the team was able to bring in the support of major names like Globe and Kickstart. PhilDev and DevCon together with Morphlabs and Exist are also major supporters of the first ever Startup Weekend in Cebu. Worth mentioning is the support of UP Cebu and CebuinIT where the event was held. NorthernWorx, Microsoft BizSpark, Wavemaker Labs and Blackberry also partnered and supported the event even at the last week stretch.

What happened during the weekend?

On May 11, Day 1 of the event, the participants showed up as early as 4PM to make sure they had slots to the sold out event. At 5:30 PM, the event officially started. There were fire pitches of only 60 seconds as people ran up on stage, grabbed the mic, and talked about problems they plan to solve and their solutions through mostly web or mobile applications. There were 49 pitches in total. All the pitched ideas were voted on the Idea Wall and after that, 20 ideas were picked based on the number of votes received. Teams were formed around each of the ideas and these teams had to work on it all throughout the 3-day event.

The 20 teams continued their work all throughout May 12, Day 2 of the event. They were able to solicit the advice of the mentors who were up and about to help out the teams. This roster of mentors included local entrepreneurs, startup founders, and senior professionals. The mentors included Eugene Fabian and Alex Goh from Microsoft Singapore and Aleksandra Ola Krainski and Aileen Apolo – de Jesus from Google.

For the last day of the event, May 14th, the teams were well on their way to wrap up and prepare for their 4-minute presentation of the businesses they built over the weekend. The 20 teams had their representatives present their powerpoints and demos in just 4 minutes. They were also asked questions by the judges for their next 2 minutes on the stage. These teams were then judged based on the business model, customer validation, and execution of their startups.

 

The Winners

The winning teams for the first ever Startup Weekend Cebu, in order from first to third of the Judges’ Choice, are: WaitKnowMore, an mobile SMS service that aims to solve time wasted on long queues; Luto.co, a mobile app that helps you rummage through your ingredients and suggest what you can cook using those; and, codetoki which allows students to connect with teachers and coders who could help them with tech questions.

WaitKnowMore were able to receive awesome prizes which includes an office space from Wilson Ng of NgKhai, mentorship from JP Bisson of ClickingLabs, incorporation in UK by Startupr, and other prizes from partners and sponsors.

Vinnie Lauria, one of the judges, said on Twitter, “..nascent scene, great company names, and some hard hitting ideas.” The event just ended but participants are now looking forward to the next Startup Weekend in Cebu.