Over the past weekend the Gestures team was fortunate enough to participate in a local Startup Weekend event located in the thriving art and music district known as Denton, TX.
For those of you unaware of this particular city let's just say it's a humble and growing population of ambitious and creative individuals, many of whom attend or are alumni at the nearby University of North Texas.
Simply based on the Denton culture alone, it makes perfect sense to host one of the largest organizations focused on building startups and inspiring individuals - AKA Startup Weekend. I'd been looking forward to the Startup Weekend Denton event ever since I first heard about it, which was a few months back. I originally hoped to pitch an idea that'd be good enough to push a few others into helping build it, however I ended up not because I didn't have a very viable idea and our team thought it'd be fun to help another individual boost their idea into a product (which ended up being a very awesome experience).
First off, I have to say it was quite amazing to see so many colleagues, those familiar and unfamiliar to one other, collaborate so quickly to build in essence, a true startup. Secondly, getting the opportunity to mingle and share ideas with people who have a multitude of technology and business related backgrounds is worth the trip itself. For those of you who are programmers, developers, designers, or just all around tech-lovers like myself, Startup Weekend is for you and I highly recommend grabbing yourself a ticket to one near you.
All in all around 25 bright minded folks pitched their idea for a web or mobile app in 60 seconds or less. There was a handful of ideas that stood out immediately as having some potential to become a business, but there was one in particular that caught our attention and it was from pair of sisters not even in their teenage years. Their idea hoped to make changing and taking down outdoor lights during the holiday season a thing of the past. And with that short but sweet pitch, Light Seasons was born.
After chatting with the two young CEO's and their mother we quickly decided we could offer some help. Sung brought with him his design skills and mocked up a very intuitive and easy to use UI/UX, along with putting together a website via Squarespace, Roy went to work researching existing products using bluetooth technologies, reaching out to LED companies hoping to gain some partnerships, and developing analysis of cost/production output. Will built a mobile iOS prototype to show the judges and audience during our final presentation. Kevin Kimbrough built our business plan and presentation slides along with giving most of the final presentation in front of 5 well-known judges from the DFW tech scene. Thinh Dao beefed up our technology research efforts and helped build our business manual. We also had quite the help developing the product from Tonya Delaney (the mother) who is also one of the organizers of Startup Weekend Denton and her daughters - who drew up a sweet little logo straight from their laptop along with making the critical decisions as to what they wanted in the app.
Our end product was something of value, perhaps not monetarily, yet anyway, but certainly educational. We happily received the Honorable Mention Award - after all who could deny two courageous young girls who thought of an idea, helped design it, and helped present it in a room with over 75 people 3 to 5 times their age! There's something special that fills the room when you see a group of people most who have never met, come together and build a product that simply started as a 60 second pitch. I firmly believe that it could easily become a working model and business with some more work and planning, that of course will be decided upon at a later stage.
Perhaps the most inspiring thing I witnessed at Startup Weekend Denton was people coming together and sharing the same passion for technology and innovation as the person standing next to them and truly building something out of those relationships. Whether teams got 1st or 10th they all have one thing in common, they went to Startup Weekend and tried to build a company in a span of 3 days - that itself is worthy of an applause.
Until Next Time - Shutter On!