54 hours. For many, that might be enough time for a relaxing trip to the beach or a weekend with friends, but for the 106 developers, designers, and businesspeople who descended on Redfin’s headquarters last Friday for Seattle Startup Weekend, 54 hours (plus a marginal amount of sleep) was a time crunch in the startup playground.
Yet it was sufficient to hammer out working software, crisp designs, and concise business plans as teams vied for prizes and dreams of entrepreneurial adventure and glory.
The three days of programming and strategic planning kicked off with 44 rapid fire pitches of ideas ranging from an app to help people stick to resolutions, to a website devoted to the glorious sport of bass fishing. Given the birth of 500,000 US startups per month, the palpable electricity and prospect of rising above the rest to create the next “big thing” led to the formation of 11 teams. Four Redfin interns— the Redfinterns if you will—led a team called IDapi that worked on providing a developer friendly API for companies to write background checks.
Saturday featured insights from Redfin’s own CEO Glenn Kelman, who expounded on the necessity of passion, forging on through the nitty gritty of getting a business of the ground and how “the fundamental problem at a startup is an existential problem. With every keystroke, you have to ask yourself: ‘If I build this, will people even care?’”
The teams certainly took Glenn’s advice to heart, and after a grueling weekend and final presentations, a panel of renowned venture capitalist judges were blown away by first place Red Ride, a car service aggregator that aimed to utilize Uber, Lift, and Sidecar’s APIs in order to tell users which rideshare service had the closest car to a user.
In second was Wandering Chef, which formed a business plan for pop-up restaurants, which feature up and coming chefs that temporarily reside in established restaurants for increased publicity.
Telecorder rounded out the trio with a web application that allows users to record and refine voicemail messages online before directly dropping them into a recipient’s voice mailbox, remedying the problem of awkward voicemails.
Kudos to the organizers of Startup Weekend Seattle and Redfin employees who worked tirelessly to provide a motivating environment and inspire innovation over a short 54 hours. Team members left with new technologies, new friends, and new ideas under their belts, exhausted from their efforts but eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to make a splash in the startup scene.