Retrospective : Startup Weekend Cambodia 2013

Geeks in Cambodia is just back from Startup Weekend Cambodia, and we had an amazing time !

Out of 39 pitches delivered on friday night, 16 teams have been competing for 54 hours to bring their startup to life !

Proud partners of this event, we’re happy to share this awesome experience with you today :

Startup Weekend overview

Throughout the weekend, ideas were pitched, teams were formed, everyone worked hard to finally delivered hot presentations in front of a panel of six judges late Sunday afternoon. Participants experienced a bunch of pressure, sleepless nights, mixed emotions, and it was totally worth it !

From the feedbacks collected across the weekend, all teams agree on the fact that Startup Weekend Cambodia requires passionate fellows able to keep the motivation going all along the competition whatever happens !

This year, Startup Weekend Cambodia gathered 121 attendees, and gave the opportunity to teams to enter the Global Startup Battle, a global competition gathering promising startup ideas from 200 cities around the World.

Cambodia can be very proud of the teams that are currently competing for one of the biggest Startup contest in the World ! You can support them by voting every day on the official website ! So far, the Champion’s circle featuring the top 2 teams from each Startup Weekend is already open to votes.

Now let’s have a quick recap of the Weekend :

Day 1 – Friday, 22th November

18:00 – Official launch of Startup Weekend Cambodia

Darren Jensen, facilitator for SWC, first introduced the organizers, the sponsors, the judges and mentors. Then he announced the schedule for the three-day competition, along with the opportunity to enter the Global Startup Battle.

18:30 – Speakers pitch startup idea

No less than 39 entrepreneurs introduced their ideas in English and also in Khmer language. After a 1 minute pitch, they invited the audience to vote for their idea by sticking post-its on their project sheet. Out of this, 16 teams officially entered the competition.

Once the selected ideas were identified, all remaining participants were invited to join their favorite idea and form a team. That’s the moment when the teams started to work on developing their project and be ready for the final pitches.

Day 2 – Saturday, 23th November – An unexpected journey

8:00 – Emotional Stress and breakfast…

Early morning sees everyone getting ready for a long day ! After a nutritive breakfast participants got back to work while mentors passed around the teams to provide them with advice on design, marketing plan, business models, technical details and more.

Team leaders especially focused on validating their concept with potential customers. Developers and tech team members focused on the minimum viable products while marketers and business people were establishing business models and business plans.

Teams faced a lot of challenges across the day, and it was highly interesting to observe their ability to solve the problems. Around 1 a.m, most participants went home to have some rest while others decided to sleep over to get as much time as possible to finalize their projects.

Day 3 – Sunday, 24th November – 54 hours of work summarized in a 5-minute presentation

On Sunday morning, teams worked out details and got ready for final pitches.  Media, investors, entrepreneurs and observers started to gather in the main room to attend the teams’ final pitches.

On the afternoon, teams were focused on finishing prototypes and synchronizing their presentation.

After 3 days of intense competition, the excitement was at its paroxysm, as the final pitches in front of the judges were on their ways.

16:00 – Brave Yourself !

Each team got only 5 minutes to present their startup project, and were expected to define concept, design, business model, technical parts and also explain what was their difference amongst the existing competitors.

Meet the judges : Divon Lan (Google), Trent Eddy (Emerging Markets Investments), Chris Brown (MangoMap), Stephen Paterson (Mekong Business Challenge), Sopheak Chleang (Asia Master) and David Clicquennoi (Golden Gekko).

All of them were dedicated to ask relevant questions to the teams, and also gave them meaningful feedbacks on the novelty, scalability and global value of the project. The startup’s ability to gain customers and the way they would get money were the most frequently asked questions.

Out of the pitches, long deliberation and yummy dinner, the judges finally announced the top teams !

1st place: Adscool/IRecommend – a photo-based mobile app, allowing any users to become a brand ambassador. You can learn more here:

2nd place: Peeler – a digital dashboard allowing to track online conversations in one place in real time.

3rd place: Cloud Drink – a smart mobile app, allowing users to order drinks, and providing an intuitive back office for retailers to display their products.

Adscool and Peeler are eligible to enter the Champion’s circle at Global Startup Battle 2013, and just had 24 hours to provide a video-demo !

For now both of them already posted their 60 second video and votes will start late tonight. Other teams are also able to join the competition in any other circle, and another Cambodian team decided to join the adventure : KitSnap, a visual platform allowing users to discover big and small events nearby or across the globe.

You can have a look at the videos created by the winning team AdsCool, and its runner up Peeler :


Peeler :

Startup Weekend Cambodia was intense and so exciting ! Geeks in Cambodia team congratulates the organizers Channe Suy Lan and Chantra Be, the judges and the mentors for their helpful interventions, the facilitator Darren and  all the volunteers for their help ! Congratulations to the winners and the any other participant who brought their ideas to the next level !

Stay tuned for more news if you wish to follow the journey of the emerging Cambodian Startup scene !