Forty-seven pitches. Sixteen teams. Fifty-four hours. Thousands of scribbled-on Post-it notes. And ultimately, one winner. doodle cloud, dubbed "the Yankees" of Startup Weekend, took home the top prize Sunday night.
Matthew Smith, who pitched the idea for an app that lets children snap a picture of a cloud and decorate what they see, credited his team.
"I spent eight months to develop a product that these guys could knock out in a week," he said, referring to his other startup, realestatefanpages.com. That site, along with teammate Emma Peterson's project Tikly, are part of Startup City Des Moines' class of mentees, but it was Smith and Peterson's first time working together.
The team hopes to make the app available in the app store as soon as possible. They plan to earn revenue through paid features like additional stickers for the cloud drawings.
Throughout the weekend, Smith's three children were heavily involved with testing the app. Christian Renaud, Startup Weekend judge and principal at Startup City, said that kind of testing was a factor in the judges' decision.
"Having 100 Facebook followers or 10 kids who've played with your game — that's validation," Renaud said.
He also said the scope of the idea made it suitable for a weekend project. Some ideas were much more broad — such as one that aims to eradicate medication misuse — and Renaud encouraged them all to continue working.
Of the businesses that form at more than 300 Startup Weekend events annually, more than 36 percent are still going after three months and roughly 10 percent go on to become profitable or earn funding.
"No matter what happens, you hang on to that idea and make it happen," he said.