The inaugural Singapore Startup Weekend, Women’s Edition took place over the weekend. There were a total of 60 participants, and 60 percent of those were women. In total, there were 54 gruelling hours of brainstorming, developing, and pitching over the course of the event.
On Sunday evening, 10 ideas emerged after the dust had settled. You’ll notice that some are more fully formed than others, and a few of the new startups have sites up already. And here’s a quick summary of all 10:
- Tiny Dare: Gathers online communities and fans to market and speak about lifestyle products they love.
- Uncle Habit: Having spoken to some of the audience members at the event, this idea appears to be a popular one. It is an app which allows you to cultivate or change a habit within three simple steps and a click.
- STE Crossroads: The name stands for ‘science, technology, and engineering’, and the idea aims to become a community to support women in the areas of science, tech, and engineering within the Asia Pacific region. It also aims to help women who have left the working world try to get back in.
- Linksavvy: Linksavvy is a platform that aims to link neighbours and people, which could potentially make neighbourly relationships closer and friendlier. Also, in the spirit of the female-focused event, one of the male team members, Kevin Straszburger, a FrenchWeb correspondent and the CMO of PricePinz, donned a skirt and wig (pictured right).
- STUBIT: This idea also received positive feedback from one of the judges, Elizabeth Tan, the managing director of Heatwave Shoes. It aims to close the gap between payment technologies and post-payment experiences, eliminating the problem of paper receipts. There are still the challenges of security issues and employee integrity, which the team would need to solve should they take the idea forward.
- Instaroid: This follows the model of a very exclusive social network, where it takes shots during exclusive events and posts them online. This reminds me a little of the Chinese startup, p1.cn, catering to high net-worth or good-looking individuals.
- Code4Kids: This is a personal favorite of mine, as it combines children’s education with technology. It is a platform catered for children aged nine to 12, teaching them how to code through games. Through visuals, it effectively engages children, and even adults, who are keen to learn the fundamentals of coding.
- SeeIDoo: This is another favorite of mine. It’s a platform to educate families about world issues and social responsibilities through gamification. However, the judges also highlighted that they do face the challenge of reaching out to those who are apathetic towards such issues.
- Bizeo: This is an online platform that helps small companies and startups to be able to upload, edit, and distribute videos. It positions itself as a simple, affordable, and professional solution for businesses to reach out to their audience.
- Design Sprouts: It addresses the frustrations faced by global fashion designers, and aims to be an online crowdsourced funding and e-commerce platform, connecting independent fashion designers and labels to trendsetters. Design Sprouts (team pictured right), simply put, is sort of a cross between Kickstarter and ASOS.
Who walked away the winner of the women entrepreneur-oriented weekend event? Design Sprouts came out on top, followed by Code4Kids, and STE Crossroads.
Thoughts From The Organizer
The event was jointly organized by four power-packed female individuals over the span of six weeks. One of those is Gina Romero, the founder and managing director of The Athena Network, who shares her takeway from the event:
As an organisation that runs regular women’s business events, it was not easy to bring in the female numbers for this one. I had lots of feedback from women who couldn’t attend due to family commitments, particularly on the second day. Despite channelling marketing efforts through various different communities, tickets were slow to move. However the result of marketing through over 40 different women’s, business, and tech communities led to a very diverse set of attendees.
My biggest lesson was that billing an event as a women’s edition in order to increase female attendance is a great marketing exercise, but to make this type of event more accessible to women (and men) with parenting responsibilities, we need to rethink the format.
This event is certainly a first, but definitely not the last for aspiring female entrepreneurs. In one of the #SGWSW tweets, Lee Min Xuan, the co-founder of PlayMoolah, who is also one of the mentors at Singapore Women Startup Weekend, highlighted:
— Min Xuan (@minxuan) November 25, 2012
Over this weekend, we’ve seen really impressive female individuals, includes an eight-month pregnant mom staying throughout the entire event. It goes to show that women can juggle the demands of always-on startup life and familial commitments.
[Group and Design Sprouts team photo from Gina Romero, Kevin's photo from Instagram]