Ireland’s first ever Student Start-up Weekend drew to a close, with the top prize going to Collect, an innovative pay-as-you-go bin collection service that allows you to decide what day your bin is collected.
Teams of students from across Ireland converged in UCC’s Western Gateway Building for the 54-hour startup event from March 28th-30th. There, students with viable business ideas merged to form teams and pursue ideas for the new startups through a frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation.
Organiser of the Student Start-up Weekend, Aidan Murphy of UCC Entrepreneurial and Social Society said attendees heard 21 idea pitches for new ventures on Friday evening. From there, students voted on their favorites and the top ten ideas were chosen as the businesses to be built over the weekend. Teams then formed to develop these startup ideas, and over the course of the weekend were helped along with some mentoring from an experienced team of coaches, themselves, successful entrepreneurs in a wide range of fields.
The winning start-up, Collect, impressed the judges, who all commented on the commercial viability of it and how they could invest in it right away. They also were extremely impressed with the quality of the ideas and what was built over a very short space of time. As the majority of attendees were students, the outcomes far exceeded their expectations.
The start-up’s co-founders, Robbie Skuse, a BIS student at UCC and John O’Connor from Waterford came up with the service that allows customers to use a mobile app or website to set a day they want to put their bin out for a contractor in the area to collect it. When the bin is full, the user simply hits a button on the app and the bin will be collected the following day. Other members of the winning team included Kieran O’Flynn, BIS student at UCC, Ian McDonald, biomedical student at UCC and Shane O’Sullivan, a first year finance student at UCC.
The esteemed judging panel comprised of Pat Phelan, CEO and co-founder of Trustev, named Europe’s top start-up in 2013 and winner of SXSW in Austin Texas recently; Eamon Leonard, VP of Engineering at Engine Yard and an angel investor; and former Dragon on Dragon’s Den and investor, Sean O’Sullivan MD at Carma and SOSventures.
Runners up at the Student Start-up Weekend were Marvelist, a self-writing shopping list app, led by Ian Skuse, a final year commerce student at UCC; and CrowdBuy, a platform for crowd-buying of consumer goods at discounted prices from manufacturer, led by Joseph Kearney a computer science student at UCC.
Other start-up ideas that also caught judges’ attention were ReScope, a mobile platform for following and discovering bands and musicians. The founder, Daniel Kyne is a 16 year old transition year student from Kildare. The judges all commented on how impressive Daniel was and noted that he is one to keep an eye on; and BuddyUp, a mobile game that lives on the lockscreen of your mobile device, led by David Barrett, a BIS Student at UCC.
Ireland’s Student Start-up Weekend was one of hundreds of events that take place globally as part of Start-up Weekend, a non-profit, global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs, headquartered in Seattle, who are learning the basics of founding start-ups and launching successful ventures.