Taxes, Pivots and Seniors: All in a (Startup) Weekend

By Toni Ellis |


More than a hundred developers, hackers, designers, marketing gurus and tech enthusiasts battled it out for 54 hours at the third Startup Weekend, held last weekend at Club Office.

After an inspiring welcome on Friday evening from mentors Lasse Chor and Mathis Christian, attendees were told that they should take the opportunity to fail faster and test their ideas out on customers in the real world, telling the young entrepreneurs not to be afraid to pivot their plans.

There was also a strong emphasis on the idea of ‘not can it be built, but should it be built,’ reminding attendees that the judges would be looking for unique ideas that had a practical use and could help change the world. Despite this warning, a number of the staggering 52 ideas pitched were reused or cloned ideas, or what one judge referred to as ‘pointless apps.’

However, there were also many unique and useful ideas pitched from participants from all corners of the world, including Monaco, Mexico, Italy, Denmark and Mongolia. The top 15 ideas were chosen by a peer vote, and teams were formed, ready to tackle the weekend of developing and coding their ideas into reality.

Team Taxes Suck during peer voting

Among the top 15 ideas were platforms to time your online usage (so you can see how many hours a week you waste on Facebook), an online music network for teachers and students, a service removing at least some of the pain of doing your taxes by automating forms online, and 15-person team Skillfinder, which, like the name suggests, matches people with skills to what others need.

During the final presentations on Sunday, an interesting turn of events happened when, an idea for spicing up lunch hours for office workers, were open about their pivoting process – which ultimately lead them to a dead end, where they chose to stop the idea rather than continue on with a project they weren’t happy with. This ballsy move, complete with a tombstone announcing’s untimely demise, earned the team the Best Pitch Award.

Recognised as the Most Innovative idea was MoRally, an online gaming meets corporate social responsibility idea where corporate sponsors donate money to charities when players reach certain targets.

Judges were then put to the task of choosing their overall favorite startup. The criteria to guide them was the business model of each startup, the execution of the idea, customer validation, as well as the ‘Beyond’ factor – that extra something that made the judges want to hand out one-on-one advice and a consulting session with d:evolute, ClixOn and PANORAMA3000.

Startup Weekend awards, designed by Courtesy of

The overall winning prize of the night was awarded to SeniorPhone, which adapted old and unused Android smartphones for seniors to use, the idea being that when a senior’s child (or grandchild) upgrades their phone, their old device can be easily updated to a simpler, larger, more user-friendly interface before being handed on and instead of being discarded or resold.

After a big weekend of Club Mate, pizza and dozens of bodies ‘resting their eyes’ on couches (or the floor), congratulations to all the winners – now let’s see what happens next!