So how was your weekend? Typically, my answer depends on how creative I can get with saying “pretty good.” But this past weekend, I had the privilege of spending my weekend in New York City with an amazing group of problem solvers, innovators and explorers all coming together to exercise their entrepreneurial muscles in the B2B space for Startup Weekend NYC.
At Intuit Developer, we aspire to be a platform that can spark and nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship to help solve problems for small businesses globally and simplify the business of life everywhere. Sponsoring Startup Weekend is a step in that direction — and I witnessed the potential for a breadth of problems that can be solved by the innovators we enable through our platform reaching millions of small businesses worldwide.
Developers churning out integrations and prototypes
Startup Weekend is designed to teach participants core skills like customer discovery/validation, business model generation and rapid experimentation that will be integral on the journey to a successful startup. Though the ideas formed during the weekend may end up faltering when pitched to the final judging panel, the learning experience and connections formed through the process is invaluable.
We came to Startup Weekend NYC putting forward a challenge to come up with the best solutions leveraging Intuit APIs. The teams that were formed through the weekend took on that challenge and came up with new use cases and integration methods. From vending machine inventory analytics to wellness benefits for SMBs, the teams did not limit themselves by what was the status quo for B2B startups.
Introducing Startup Weekend to the attendees on the first day.
For a newcomer to the B2B space, it is not always easy to understand how a business functions and the factors that go into solving an important problem for a business. We encouraged participants to get out and talk to real businesses on the street and in their networks to validate their ideas. Manas and Priya from our Developer Relations team were also on hand to provide their wealth of experience in helping with QuickBooks Online integration and business use cases.
1:1 consultation with Manas from our Developer Relations team
At the end of a weekend full of fantastic energy, every team was a winner in that they overcame their obstacles, stepped up to the plate and delivered great final pitches showcasing their work. They showed off their work to a panel of judges including Jenny Fielding of Techstars, Matt Pavelko of Seed Development, Eliot Durbin of Boldstart Ventures, Ashley Hemingway of AppNexus and myself from Intuit.
Team GIG responding to judges’ feedback.
In particular, a number of teams deserved our winning prizes through their demonstration of customer validation, prototype implementation and business plan.
GIG – A marketplace to connect students to small businesses in need of employees with specialized skills.
Get Seat’d – This team set out to re-invent the often slow and inefficient experience of onboarding a new employee.
3rd place – DOPA, a solution for businesses to manage their legal contracts workflow syncing to customers and jobs within QuickBooks Online.
2nd place – Mojo, making team outings and activities a breeze to organize.
1st place – TimeOff, simplifies the leave applications for employees and lets them get going on their vacation.
TimeOff are the winners! Congrats to Melissa, Chris, Lauren, Mitch, Jason, Venu & Mike.
Intuit Developer rewarded each of the winning teams with iPad minis and quadcopters!
Support from the audience and judges for everything accomplished
As the weekend ended and the teams dispersed back to their everyday lives, each had a newfound understanding and appreciation for the pain points and opportunity that lies in the B2B space. Solving for businesses may not be as hip, and your name isn’t going to be known by those around you, but the problems you are solving are real and change the lives of your customers. I’m inspired by the passion and teamwork shown by all the teams and hope we can bring the same to our work everyday.
To answer my first question, I think I can safely say that I had a ‘pretty good’ weekend!