ISB Updates

Startup Weekend Frenzy: 3 Days, 60 Ideas, 16 new ventures

ISB hosted the Hyderabad edition of Startup Weekend” this year. Originally institutionalised in the US, the 3-day events have spread worldwide giving young entrepreneurs a chance to kick-start their new ventures. In the energy-packed weekend 100 people presented 60 ideas and after 54 hours of mayhem, 16 functioning business prototypes were selected. The participants included a mix of IT programmers, designers, and passionate entrepreneurs in the making.


On Day 1, 70 pitches were made in a rapid-fire session, “PitchFire.” Participants made 60-second elevator pitches to the audience. This was followed by an internal voting wherein each of the 100 participants voted for three of the pitched ideas. The results were declared instantaneously and the participants chose the top 16 voted ideas. These 16 ideators were then allowed to form their teams of 2-7 members.


In the next 15 minutes, the 16 winners sold their concept to the designers and coders who in turn pitched what they could bring to the table. Finally, each of the 16 members had a new set of professionals to work with.


Day 2 began with the individual teams brainstorming to give form to their concepts. Amid arguments, advocacy, course corrections and eureka moments, teams started building working models around their ideas. As the day progressed, teams launched market surveys to validate their ideas and products and made corresponding changes. Mentors reviewed and gave feedback to the teams. By the end of the day most teams had basic credible prototypes ready to be tested in the marketplace.


On Day 3, the final day, teams presented their ideas to judges. Teams started early, fine-tuning their pitches, beta testing their prototypes and completing their presentations. Facebook and Twitter promotion campaigns ensued, with each time grappling for the largest share of voice. It was a scramble to the finish. The session closed at 7 pm with all teams then having to make 5 minute pitches to the judges (Representatives from industry, Venture Capitalists and Faculty from WCED).


All the entries were greeted with applause. The judges graded each pitch and asked questions to test the basis of the concepts. Finally, panellists declared three winners. Two ISB student-led teams finished in the top three (Vismay Shah and Varun Mundkur of Class of 2013).


However, the real victory belonged the frenzied weekend that had resulted in 16 new ventures in just three days.