Startup Weekend Sofia, November 2013 – Totally awesome is still an understatement

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My first Startup Weekend facilitating in Eastern Europe and hopefully not my last! Since I’ve known Chris Georgiev – one of the Sofia organizers – and his way of working for some time now, I came with high expectations to this Startup Weekend Sofia and I wasn’t disappointed! This was definitely one very special Startup Weekend for me as everything seemed to come together. The event happening during the Global Startup Battle was neatly prepared by the amazing organizing team, Friday night pitch fires took off very well, the attendees were really motivated and the match between the organizing team and me seemed great!

pitches sofia
Photo courtesy by Margarit Ralev Photography

31 ideas were pitched out of around 80 attendees, 18 teams went into the weekend after the voting phase. Teams directly began to work on Friday night and then got valuable input from mentors during Saturday and Sunday. We also had 12-years old Tomy pitching and then leading his team through the weekend with NowATrip, an app to book a vacation immediately depending on your needs and with a few surprises. So great to see young entrepreneurs already kicking ass at this age! A lot of the teams developed working prototypes during the weekend, including apps on several systems. Additionally, two hardware ideas were developed: CybRace and Stepsss.

Sunday night’s pitches were much anticipated after an afternoon of turbo-work and test pitches. Everyone did a great job and judges – amongst them partners and co-founders of the Bulgarian accelerators LAUNCHub and Eleven – had a few discussions about who would take home the first, second and third prize as well as the award for the best pitch and the best windows app.

Finally, the prizes were announced: Stepsss won the first prize with a working prototype insole with sensors which transmit the pressure to an app when the user stands, walks and runs to control the body posture and the health of the person. Second prize went to DJme, your app to co-create music playlists with your friends during events (they won the Windows app prize as well), CybRace, a robotics project which allows to control toy cars with an app, won the third prize. The best pitch prize was awarded to Mamadvice, the platform for mothers to advice on good parenting and exchange experiences. Congrats to all the winners and the attendees as well! For those who’re interested in the winner pitches of Startup Weekend Sofia – there you go! A short interview with the winning team can be found on inventures.eu.

finals SW Sofia_02

Thanks to everyone who made this great event possible – sponsors, mentors and judges. But most all I’d like to thank the great organizers of Startup Weekend Sofia – Martin, Chris, Toni, Maria, Blagomir, Lyubo and Georgi and many more volunteers! You guys are crazy, in a good way. Thanks for making this event happen! It’s all about the community.

Organizers SW Sofia
Photo courtesy by Margarit Ralev Photography