There are many entrepreneurial events in Waterloo Region, but it wasn't until I started the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program in September 2013 that I was really exposed to them.
I decided to take time off from working in Waterloo's technology sector to pursue an MBET degree and the business idea that I came into the program with, Jük. The September 2013 Startup Weekend seemed like a great way to expedite the process of vetting my business idea and potentially gain a team of designers and developers. Because of the positive experience I had, I also attended the April 2014 Startup Weekend.
My first Startup Weekend
At Startup Weekend events, people pitch their business ideas and teams are formed to work on some of the most popular potential startups. I was nervous to present to such a large audience, but I was lucky enough that Jük was selected as a project. I was joined by fellow music lovers with complimentary skill sets to form our team.
We had 54 hours to work intensely on transforming an idea into a full-fledged business with a prototype and customers.
Although we did not place in the top three, I was able to leave with a core team, add to my network, learn how to rapidly iterate and grow a business, and gained some media attention.
Startup Weekend Community Edition
With new found confidence from the September event, I was sure that I would be able to apply the lessons I had learned in the next Startup Weekend Waterloo Region. As the first weekend of April approached I knew that my goal would not be to present an idea, but take my skills that I gained from MBET and the previous Startup Weekend to help a team place in the top three.
When I heard Darren Conley pitch for Glidr, a "random app of kindness" to bring anonymous gifts to the masses, I knew that I had to join this project.
Since this was the Community Edition of Startup Weekend, I thought the project aligned perfectly with the theme of enhancing community. Glidr is a great way to spread happiness and positivity to those in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
Our team of ten worked hard to develop a prototype and business model, talk to over 300 potential customers, and deliver random acts of kindness ourselves. Finally, I supported Darren with his pitch:
Glidr placed third!
Working with such a large, diverse team was truly an honour. The amazing thing about Startup Weekend is that it brings together different types of people that I otherwise would not have met. It was an amazing experience where I helped manage, drive, and mentor the young team to success. I would not have been able to do so without the knowledge and guidance that I received in the MBET program and wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
Odeyemi Adaran is an MBET student with diverse experience working in project management at technology companies in Waterloo Region. Odeyemi obtained an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business, and is turning his passion for music into a business that is set to change the way people interact with music at parties.
Jük is a mobile social music experience that allows all listeners in a party to collaborate through a crowd controlled playlist.
For more information and to be notified when it goes live, sign up for the beta.