The idea of building a prototype does not materialize is vacuum. It takes immense amount of thinking, planning and strategizing to create something of value that can be further developed into a full-fledged product. Something that truly has the potential to grow into a product that is validated, and that is well received, and is destined to do well in the market.
In50hrs Trivandrum edition was held at DBG in the Techno park from 28 -30 November 2014. Although a barely sizable IT city, we received an overwhelming response in terms of the quality of the participation. Energetic, enthusiastic and beaming with ideas, each member was ready to make the best of the time at In50hrs.
We saw some very curious minds putting together ideas, intending to solving a real problem and crystalizing them into something that could be the next big thing. It showcased the talents that lie dormant in the smaller corners of the country, waiting for the right opportunity that could help them channelize it towards recognition.
Here are the few of the ideas that got built during In50hrs Trivandrum edition:
GlobalECommerce: The ideasmith Faiz Mohamed Haneef is a developer by profession; he came up with this idea when he realized he could find a way to search products from multiple Ecommerce sites across countries, offering the best available options to the end users.
ReportMe: George Mathew faced a real life problem that became an idea, which could become a real-time status-reporting app for pre-school teachers, alternative to sending ‘daily-diaries’ to parents.
GreenBee: Anand M and his team conceive a hardware product that automatically waters plants based on soil moisture, sunlight, & temperature levels. They already came with the prototype that needs help in launching in the market with expert opinion and few altercations.
EventHunters: A platform for event organizers to locate the right venues that match their requirements. An enthusiastic bunch of friends, led by Rosh J Anthony and Akhil Raj, are working to solve the problem of event organizers in finding the right venues in a city and connecting to the right audience. After having made some headway in product development already, the team used the In50hrs platform to validate their methodology and to explore monetization opportunities by using prototyping as a means to tackle this multi-sided marketplace problem.
HealthApp: Abhishek J come up with the idea to create an mobile app to locate the right doctors in vicinity, and schedule an appointment with them.
The next edition of In50hrs is planned out in Coimbatore. We have had great experience in the past, and with houseful registration, we look forward to what Coimbatore has to be offer from 19to 21st December 2014. The event will be held at Owler, who has been immensely supportive of our endeavors in the past.
How do you see a problem? – Dead end or exiting new opportunity? You could be categorised as someone with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
Once in a while we all encounter a new problem. We crib about the nonexistence of a solution, and then… do nothing about it! The problem lives on and we move on. We wait for someone else to solve the problem. In due course of time, we come across people who make it a success - by solving those exact same problems that we choose to overlook. This is the nature of all problems; it provides the opportunity that we oversee. It is in the attitude of successful people to spot the gap and build that bridge.
In50hrs Delhi edition saw some amazing prototypes getting built. There was enormous energy from the participants towards collaboration, in the effort put, and the final outcome. It all just came though with what they created in just 50 hours. We spoke to Sajan Mathew and his team and got a share of their mind space.
They built LetsFoodify, an online guide and review platform that puts dishes back as the main focus. Next time you are craving to eat that Hyderabadi Biryani, you already know which restaurant serves the best. What a cool disruption – we say!
In50hrs: Tell us a little bit about your Team? Names of the core members/occupation/hobbies etc.
LetsFoodify Team (LFT): Team LetsFoodify is a four-member team of Sajan Mathew, Rohan Gupta, Amit Kumar Swami and Tapish Rathore. Sajan Mathew is an automotive engineer working with an automotive regulatory body. He has got interests in developing UI/UX, product designing, product branding and marketing. He loves traveling, exploring new places, a big foodie and loves to cook.
Rohan Gupta is Software Developer. He is a travel freak, a big foodie and loves to hangout. Sajan Mathew and Rohan Gupta have known each other from school. They have recently co founded a startup venture in Food+Tech domain called BigFoodTheory. They have recently launched their first early beta product called LittleBakeFactory, which is an online platform to discover home bakers. They are also working on their second product called Mealmonk, which is a cash back based customer reward program for restaurants and cafes.
Through In50hrs we got to meet Tapish Rathore and Amit Kumar Swami. Tapish is a Software Engineer at Nucleus Software Exports Ltd. He has interests in reading and following blogs and articles related to technology, webcomics, philosophy and travel. Amit Kumar Swami is an Associate Technical Analyst at Nucleus Software Exports Ltd. He loves programming, music, gaming and travelling. Tapish and Amit studied together during engineering at IIT (Mandi).
In50hrs: What was the inspiration/process behind the idea of the product? (How did you all decide what to build)?
LFT: The first inspiration for the idea came when I visited Pune for the first time. I was new to the city, hence had no idea about the specialties in the city. ‘Yahan Khane me special kya hai’ (What is the special dish to eat here?). I used to either ask the locals or try to Google. There were so many recommendations from blogs, foodie groups and people. It is impossible to find the popular food joints, as they are small shops or dhabas with no presence on the major listing sites.
During the market research and validation for our other product Mealmonk, we discovered that almost every foodie like us struggles to find popular foods and the food joints whenever they are in a new city.
We feel that good food is the first thing that drives anyone to an eating outlet. The way to anyone’s heart goes through his or her tummy. : D
In50hrs: What were the main problems encountered while building the product? How did you overcome it?
LFT: As an IdeaSmith, it was quite challenging for me to win the heart of the app developers who would be powering the idea. Fortunately, my pitch and the answer to their queries were quite convincing and the interaction prior to the pitch got me 3-4 people interested to work on this idea. Finally Tapish and Amit joined us.
For Tapish and Amit, it was lot more challenging to build this product. They both are iOS developers. They had some Android experience but that was 2 year ago, and the current android development has been through lots of changes. So building a product in Android in just one day was an uphill task. Also, on the technical front, using the NodeJS/MongoDB combination was new to them. Moreover, the time available for development was severely small, they had to skip sleeping the whole of Saturday night.
In50hrs: Tell us about the overall experience at In50hrs….
LFT: The overall experience was great. We got to meet lots of interesting people - including our teammates, and came across interesting ideas. We got to interact with experienced people who had already started a venture or two, and got to learn from their experience. Overall, it was an amazing experience.
In50hrs: If you could share with us the overall take/achievement from the event and how it will help you in the future…
LFT: The overall achievement for us was that we will launch an app in few weeks, which would not be possible without this event.
In50hrs: Any piece of advice.
LFT: It will be great if the prototype building can start from the first day (Friday) itself. It will give the team more time to work together, and come up with a better prototype.
In50hrs: Finally, the future plan…
LFT: We will be launching the app in coming weeks, first on an android platform, followed by iOS and Windows. We will be looking at improving the user experience, content quality, and downloads through feedbacks. We will be exploring other possible uses of this app apart from finding good food.
Time and time again people ask us who are the winners of In50hrs and what do they get. I stop and ponder for a while and I realize that there are a lot of hackathons where there areprizes and winners being announced.
We realized after a few editions of In50hrs, that the “winners” we announced were the first to drop off. Teams dispersed and never did anything beyond that. Whereas the ones that built a prototype but didnt win, went off to do something beyond it - sometimes just to prove that they were the better ones.
On analysing this we realized it was a matter of satisfying vs gratifying. One a team has “won”, the mindset is that of a milestone crossed, mission accomplished and it is very hard to rally a team to still stick around. Once goals are met, teams dispurse. But with nothing more than a prototype in hand, you still have the onus of customer development, to go into the market (aka, get the hell out of the building) and talk to people and validate what you started off with. If you don’t follow up with that step, the prototype building process was a weekend getaway, with nothing to show for.
As per our statistics, one third of the teams that come together at In50hrs stay together post the event and ship the product - at the least an alpha launch page. Its a huge gulf crossed, because once people sign up, wanting to test the product the team gains momentum to wanting to launch it.
We try to delay the gratification and are consciously steering clear to give any signs that you have crossed the well. Until you hit customers, launch, and get real users behind your product you haven’t. And when you do that, the market will tell you whether you won or not, or if its time to go back to the drawing board. In any case, none of us - not even the jurors (who are mislabelled at in50hrs) have a say in that.
Digital Business cards that are easy to share via Mobile - aimed at freelance professionals who want to build a following, the less tech-savvy way. They prototyped a way to build and share a passbook file that you can keep on your phone and share.
The app even lets you track how many people have your contact on their phones - and you can update/send a message if you are doing a new dance class batch etc.
A mobile app that allows anyone - with a car or motorbike to become a carpooler, on the go. Turn on “Carpool mode” and commuters can coordinate with you for a pickup and share a ride.
Nostalgic about the slambook era where friends wrote about their fond memories of you? Well, now its online in Digital form.
Pracly allows entrepreneurs, product managers and anyone who is creating value to find the right support they require, by connecting them to mentors and experts. You book a time, pay for it, and you get a fixed timeslot with a mentor/expert to get personal advice for a specific issue. Live at www.pracly.in
Allows you to find deals of local stores nearby.
Been in a situation where a friend sold his used book. And you went and bought the same book for new and didnt know someone in your own network had it for sale? Well, Obhiyo aims to solve that.
Hackreward is solving the problem of recruitment and talent search by leveraging the github repository, setup by companies, aiding applicants to collaboratively build “systems”, not write modular code or solve mathematical algorithms and use the community to spot the best talent. Live at www.hackreward.com (the final codebase yet to be uploaded)
A Hardware based prototype that is like a portable NAS (Network Attached Storage) that you can use to move files between SD Cards, USB drives, Camera , Mobile Etc. What do they solve - well those times when your camera is running full and you need to dump it into a storage device, but cant do it without a PC nearby.
The Three Ideas that didn’t move to the Prototype Stage.
1. A Solution for screening Fraudulent Resumes
2. A peer to peer rental platform
3. A Local platform for buyers/sellers
The teams will be announcing when the prototypes go live, via the In50hrs Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/in50hrs/ - you can join, if you’d like to be kept updated and want to give feedback to the teams.
We’ve done a post earlier on how to pitch to a team mate. Since we are scaling up to a few more locations, we thought it would make sense for folks to understand the format of what goes into a pitch when you attend In50hrs.
Each Pitch in In50hrs is timed at 3 minutes. For an effective pitch, this is the outline to follow:
1. Introduce yourself.
2. Explain the problem statement.
3. Explain the solution you are proposing
4. Briefly mention what your strengths are, what you bring to the table, and what you are looking for.
If you’d like a breakup of the time, the recommended format is: 30 seconds - Two Minutes - One minute and 30 seconds.
Now, remember what the adage says, “Practice makes perfect”. Practice your pitch before you arrive at the event, it makes all the difference.
Honestly, this has been a long time coming, but we needed some sure shot data before we made the call. With In50hrs Bangalore underway and having to announce the next set of dates for the events, we thought it was time we made the announcement.
The Story of Delhi:
We love the city of Delhi. Just being in the city brings back feelings and emotions like any other, but its also been a tough city to grow an ecosystem. Personally, we’ve done several efforts in the past to grow a community there - via OCC etc, but the understanding has been very clear - if people from elsewhere can grow a community, Silicon valley would have remote branches by now. Communities can only be grown locally. All other factors are a matter of support and strengthening. We havent been able to find that anchor. I believe events like Startup Weekend, PeerHack and Product Nation will be the one to build that community. Which also means Delhi has options and we are leaving it to good hands.
We did two editions in Delhi, and the logistical cost of bringing team, materials, and getting the word out (for an event where the principal objective is not to make money) didnt make sense - not with the fact that there is a lack of a community, and Delhi is overly business sided that makes technical hackathons and prototyping events quite a challenge. We were constantly getting requests from a lot of folks asking, if they come and pitch on Friday, if we’ll have the prototype ready by Sunday - that’s delhi for you. Quick, and to the Point - on the Business front.
We run these efforts on shoestring budgets. And The Startup Centre is a Startup of Startups - we arent venture funded, or backed by a large corporate. Its a small group of individuals wanting to make a difference and hopefully build a viable business model around it - by virtue of making entrepreneurs succeed extremely well. Somewhere there was a disconnect.
Kerala has been on our minds for a while now, and it was just a matter of picking between Cochin and Trivandrum. (Cochin is still in the race though).
So we want to do one edition of In50hrs in Trivandrum. We are not sure if that IS the place in Kerala or If Cochin is the place, but the participation we see should help make that decision.
As a Startup, it all fundamentally comes down to one rule: Try a lot, keep what works, cut off what isnt working. So we are trying a lot. And hopefully will continue doing more of what and where its working.
In the meantime, We look forward to saying Hello to Trivandrum.
We are hosting In50hrs in Bangalore - for the second time - at the same ThoughtWorks Office. The ambience and the hospitality of that bunch is hard to bunch.
So in the same serene environment as last time, we are back and this time, this is the line up of Mentors who will spend two days at the event - working with the teams and prepping them up and the Jurors who will give feedbacks on Demo Evening on Sunday.
We get this question a lot. What happens to the teams and Prototypes after In50hrs. Thought we’d answer:
There are three key things to achieve in event like In50hrs:
1. Form the Pitch and prove the capability to attract a team
2. Test Drive the team
3. Build a prototype that encapsulates the essence of the idea and allows you to validate it with people without necessarily having to be there in person.
The next step after In50hrs would be to take the time to build that prototype into a product - and that is a longer process. You have to get the userflows right, setup the landing page, the login screens etc etc, and flesh out the MVP that one will pay for, and sign up a paying customer.
The Startup Centre has a programme named The Resident Programme which works closely with teams to do this - including taking them to customers to market validate it. (http://www.thestartupcentre.com/…)
There are a few things you should do, no matter what, just right after In50hrs:
In50hrs is now a growing baby, a really really fast growing baby. We have been around for close to 2 years now, and close to 14 events down across four different cities - and we are making plans to expand.
Before that however, we wanted to do a few tweaks.
We started In50hrs with a rather straightforward agenda - bring people together and let them prototype. Over time, we thought it made life simpler by segregating ideasmiths, developers and the designers and incentivizing folks seperately. While that has been interesting, we are evolving In50hrs in a slightly different tangent.
While the 500+ ideas we’ve heard are all interesting and the 180 Prototypes that have come out are meritorius, the 25 startups is the number we are trying to improve. When we looked at all that we can do, one thing came out to us - to dig up more solid problems to solve. At The Startup Centre, we have been noticing the same thing, that startups that solve a real problem swing by most of the issues that most entrepreneurs crib about - with a solid problem and a persuasive plan/prototype/product to solve it, it looked like most of the battle is won.
In50hrs Bangalore will be the last of its old edition. Starting from the Pune Edition, In50hrs will be about solving some real world problems. Towards that end, we are collating the meanest, and the tougest problems from entrepreneurs all cross to bring them to you - this will be across healthcare, education, retail, enterprise et all (17 sectors identified so far) and even some nifty prizes behind some of the promising Ideas/Prototypes to solve them.
You are still welcome to bring your own problems - that you see, and the idea, pitch, form teams and prototype. In50hrs as a platform just will offering a bit more than what it has so far.
We are excited about the journey ahead. Hope you are too.