The winner of the last Startup Weekend Oslo was Swipe, a simple web-based mobile-ready presentation app.
Startup Weekend winners rarely stop after the event. Six months on, the two co-founders are about to launch Swipe at The Next Web industry conference. It’s an awesome feat in such a short time, so I sat down with co-founder Horia Cernusca to ask how the last few months have felt.
“It’s been a crazy ride, a hard graft. We had our first talk with a major international angel investor (from abroad) the month after we won Startup Weekend. We still had jobs and worked only part-time for the majority of the time after Startup Weekend, but still made insane amounts of progress.”
“I can imagine the amount of stress and fear there is in Silicon Valley when a group of people decide to found a startup. Insane pressure to be the first to market, to have the most awesome product, and to make it big.”
“But the world is big, we’ve tried to simulate the Silicon Valley experience in our own startup by putting that pressure on ourselves.”
Returning to the Startup Weekend experience, it’s always interesting to hear the original motivation for people attending. Some have the winning idea already, others attend just to meet people or develop their skills. In Horia’s case, there was mixed motivation, but it’s clear he wanted to get something solid out of the weekend.
“I went to Startup Weekend because I had too many ideas, and needed to pick one to focus on! I saw Startup Weekend as the perfect opportunity to meet a technical co-founder, and picked the most digestible and doable idea I had, which was Swipe. I was definitely looking for some fun too, but I went to Startup Weekend with that goal in mind, and to win.”
“I love presentations, pitches, and talking in front of crowds. But at Startup Weekend, I really cared about finding the right person to work with and working on Swipe during the weekend. I got super nervous, felt the pressure, and completely failed my 1 minute pitch. I don’t think too many people understood what I was proposing or what problems I wanted to solve with the product.”
“But in the crowd of 100 people in Oslo, I met Håkon, a super talented developer. When I didn’t get enough votes to form a team, Håkon said that he would go home, because none of the other ideas sounded like a viable startup, that could realistically make it globally. I knew at that point that he was the right co-founder for me. We managed to convince more people to join the team. From two, we became six, and were allowed to compete along with the other teams.”
“We ended up winning the whole event, and have a great story as a result. I’m most proud of the fact that we rallied from failure to success in 54 hours. A true startup experience. I wouldn’t choose a different storyline if you paid me.”
It’s impossible to describe the energy and possibilities on the opening night, as people meet and ideas buzz around the room. If this sounds like your kind of thing, come along to the next Startup Weekend Oslo from 24-26 May. Tickets are on sale now.