Startup Weekend Brisbane 2015 Wrap Up

Startup Weekend Brisbane 2015 Wrap Up

Wow – What an amazing weekend. I built a Startup Business in 54 hours.

After a huge day on Friday of attending the Startup Weekend QLD Organisers Summit to hash out a calendar of events and learn a lot from those that have gone before us, Jodie, Darren and myself stepped into another dimension at River City Labs in Brisbane for Startup Weekend Brisbane #SWBNE15.

Starting at 6pm on the Friday evening, all the attendees and spectators started pouring through the doors of the co-working space at River City Labs. I was fascinated by the names of all the startup businesses listed above the desks, like UpWork, CarValues, KeyLess and so on. Then I started mingling with all the very excited and chatty people – the first person I met immediately started pitching me his idea about an app that he had been working on – ‘BuzVil’ an app to match sports players and potential players based on location. Well this was going to be an interesting weekend.

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After the mingling we got straight to business at 7pm with the opening speech by the Shark himself Steve Baxter of SharkTankAU. Following this our fantastic Facilitator for the weekend Aaron Birkby gave us a great introduction to Startup Weekend and explained that we really have no idea what we’re about to be in for.

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We were then introduced to the sponsors for the weekend – including my all time favourite Startup so far, FridayBeers.

To get the group up and going, we were all split into teams and given 2 random words that we then had 10 minutes to turn into a new idea to pretend pitch to the room. This was pretty hilarious, my team had the words ‘Food Fling’. I think we came up with a dating app for Foodies or some such.

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Then the real Pitching began. Everyone who wanted to pitch had to line up and had 60 seconds to outline a problem, and then their idea on how to solve it. 61 people pitched out of 140!

When they were finally finished, we all had to choose which team and idea we wanted to work on over the weekend. I liked a couple of ideas, but eventually my team leader picked me – I was going to work with the crew. An app/website to match people with boats, and people who wanted to be on boats.

We started work immediately on developing a business plan, and after a late finish at midnight I went home exhausted.

Breakfast was on at 8am on Saturday, and we got straight back into it. We only had 2 more days until we had to have a minimum viable product ready.

9am Saturday brought a very surprising guest to the incubator/co-working space – I noticed what looked like Feds scoping out the building just 10 minutes prior. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his entourage including MP Wyatt Roy appeared through the front door.

He was immediately ushered around to talk to the participants about what is was there team was working on, and after a lap Steve Baxter gave another speech followed by the PM.

I took the opportunity after the speeches to hustle Tony with a selfie and my Team member Thor and I were able to video interview him about our app. We were given the big thumbs up as he said he would have loved to be able to go sailing (but only in a few years) when he wasn’t in the role he was currently in.

The rest of the day was full of Validation of our idea – would it even be viable? We were using all sorts of methods to talk to Boat owners and non Boat owners including Google Surveys, Facebook, Phone Calls, we even took a trip out to Manly Marina to talk to yacht and charter boat owners.

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After that trip late Sat evening we decided we had to pivot on our business idea – yacht owners were not our target audience, they just weren’t interested. So we changed tact and decided to target the Recreational Fishing market. People love fishing, and not everyone can afford a boat. I know it’s true in my case, I have a boat licence and rods, but no boat.

Sunday morning we kicked off at 9am with breakfast and we dove straight into working out our final pitch and presentation. The presentation was due at 3:30pm, and we would have a chance to practise pitch at the coaches at 3pm. It was go go go!

The final presentations started at 5pm and man was I nervous! And I wasn’t even pitching, I just had to stand there. It turns out that I didn’t have to be, we were 3rd in line and were able to get it over with quickly – but I feel that we went well, see our Pitch by Thor here (starting at 30:00 mins in):

Jodie’s team created an app called ‘Kuizit’:

An app/website designed to help people with their online shopping needs.

Darren’s team created an app called ‘Cook This’:

‘5 minutes with Cook This App lets you plan a full weeks food and shopping list with healthy easy recipes. Get the most out of your time and budget while staying healthy and organised.’

The winners of the evening included the following: Most Wanted . Best Pitch . Best Validation . Best Business Model . Overall Winner

So after 54 hours – we had created a Startup!

We didn’t place, but we learnt a hell of a lot, created some cool stuff, and met some very interesting new people. Steve Baxter even gave his condolences by shouting everyone free beer at the Wickham for the after party.

Dennis is an Electrical and Control Systems Engineer and was appointed President of Startup Mackay Inc. in June 2016. He is a member of Engineers Australia, AISA, MITN, DMLA within the Education, Training, Research and Innovation Pillar, and the Reference Group for the Digital Economy Strategy. He has also been inducted into the Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion program where he aims to encourage Queenslanders to explore and enjoy the benefits of the digital age. You can follow Dennis on Twitter @DenMurphy or connect with him on LinkedIn (


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