The Story of ShopJet So Far

A friend of a friend told me about Startup Weekend a couple of days before the event. The same evening the tickets were sold out and I was out of luck. But instead of giving up on the whole thing, I did something else: I contacted the organizers and asked whether there are any tickets left. The answer was no, but I entered the waiting list. Next morning I got a message that someone canceled his participation, and I got the last ticket to the event. It was already worth the 175 shekel I paid: I learned a lesson in persistence.

I decided that while I am there, I might as well present an idea. I thought that it would be a good way to present myself. I have chosen an idea that just a week ago I declared dead. I have got some new insights from aΒ  friend, and I thought that it might be a good opportunity to try to revive it.

Day 1
A couple of unnecessary lectures came before the main event of the day: presentation of the ideas. About 30 people lined up and waited for their 2 minute chance to present their idea and persuade their peers to work on it. The presenters couldn’t use PowerPoint, and had to rely on their public speaking abilities, which some times resulted in comic performances. I cheated a bit by preparing an album with the main points of the presentation. I received a warm reception – the audience was amused by the format.

Most of the ideas could be grouped into 3 categories:

  1. sound technological ideas without clear business opportunity
  2. interesting ideas whose technological implementation is difficult if not improbable
  3. just bad ideas

Accordingly, the people that presented were either 1) developers, 2) people without technological background or 3) people that thought about the idea on their way to the event.

After the presentations were over, people went to have dinner and to mingle with people whose ideas interested them. I got some traction and interest from people, though not as much as others. Since I came to the event more to meet people and soak the atmosphere than to promote the idea, I didn’t try too hard to push it. Eventually we had a team of 4 guys, a private room, a white board and an idea to work on. All in all, a good start.

Day 2

On the 2nd day of the competition, we started at 9 am, and worked our asses till 23 pm. We started with the most important thing – finding a catchy name for the project. ShopJet came up quickly, and we liked it. Than we divided the work between us into 4 chunks: back-end programming, front-end programming, front-end design and business analysis/research. We were enthusiastic, adequatelyΒ  fed, and motivated by the hiatus of people, ideas and atmosphere that was flowing around us.

Day 3
On the 3rd day we wrapped up our demo, prepared a little presentation, and gathered in the conference room for the final presentations stage. We had 4 minutes to present the PowerPoint presentation and the demo.Β  Here is the video of our final presentation:

After the teams finished their presentations, the panel of judges, which consisted of VC’s, representatives from Google and IBM, announced the winning teams.
Luckily, we were one of the runner-ups, and we were thrilled about it. The judges said that while integration with the shops may prove more difficult than we think, there is no question about the fact that we solve a real need, and people will pay money for such solution.

The other runner-up was “PsyTech”, a team whose idea was to develop analysis tools that measure people’s personality traits, based on the way they use the keyboard- apparently there is some research on the subject. The intended market is companies’ HR departments, but I failed to see how they can persuade anyone to use such tools, without the research on the subject becoming much more substantial and mainstream.

The Winner was “Is/It”, a team whose idea was to develop a browser plugin that would let the user mark any sentence on any web page, and it would report back how credible this information is. Presumably, it would be the go-to fact-checker. While the judges thought that it is an interesting niche, they admitted that implementing such service would be very challenging.

So, all in all, it was an interesting experience, and mostly, an opportunity to meet people with the desire and ability to make ideas happen.

some press coverage:
The Marker
NewsGeek

14 Replies

  • Good writeup!I think the demo went pretty smoothly for something that we didn't even practice. It's a good thing that we made the powerpoint, I think it helped the audience follow your talk.

  • Good writeup!

    I think the demo went pretty smoothly for something that we didn't even practice. It's a good thing that we made the powerpoint, I think it helped the audience follow your talk.

  • Itai,I think that with some time to practice I could present better, but taking into consideration the amount of time we had, it went pretty good.My biggest disappointment is over The Marker's failure to call us by name. We were simply mentioned as "the second runner-up developed a widget…" πŸ™‚

  • Itai,
    I think that with some time to practice I could present better, but taking into consideration the amount of time we had, it went pretty good.
    My biggest disappointment is over The Marker's failure to call us by name. We were simply mentioned as "the second runner-up developed a widget…" πŸ™‚

  • Ori,I hope you would feel better soon. I enjoyed working with you as well :)I am currently checking several directions – one of them is talking with a shop owner that Itai connected me with. I will update you if there will be anything cooking up. I would certainly enjoy having you on board and working on this thing together.

  • Ori,
    I hope you would feel better soon. I enjoyed working with you as well πŸ™‚
    I am currently checking several directions – one of them is talking with a shop owner that Itai connected me with. I will update you if there will be anything cooking up.
    I would certainly enjoy having you on board and working on this thing together.

  • Wow!This post is a great read, and it's both interesting & fun to see these kind of developments. Way to go for this great achievement.I think this kind of events have importance far beyond the immediate results. People mingling, cooperating and expanding their perception of what's possible – that's so crucially important to foster entrepreneurship.But beyond that, ShopJet seems to have such great potential – I hope you do seriously consider following up on that!And either way – way to go, and good luck!P.S. And of course, thanks for mentioning Briox πŸ™‚

  • Wow!
    This post is a great read, and it's both interesting & fun to see these kind of developments. Way to go for this great achievement.

    I think this kind of events have importance far beyond the immediate results. People mingling, cooperating and expanding their perception of what's possible – that's so crucially important to foster entrepreneurship.

    But beyond that, ShopJet seems to have such great potential – I hope you do seriously consider following up on that!

    And either way – way to go, and good luck!

    P.S. And of course, thanks for mentioning Briox πŸ™‚

  • Itamar,I think there is a lot of truth in your words about the value of such events. Especially in these early stages, when ideas only start to take shape, it's important to talk with people, exchange ideas, meet and connect. Networking is something that doesn't come naturally to me, and I always seen it as a bad taste. But what's true for corporate networking, which is sometimes a euphism for maneuvring and poticking, doesn't apply for this entrepreneurship world, in which it is a sincere desire to meet similarly-minded and enthusiastic people.I hope there will be a continuation to ShopJet. Thanx for the support πŸ™‚

  • Itamar,
    I think there is a lot of truth in your words about the value of such events. Especially in these early stages, when ideas only start to take shape, it's important to talk with people, exchange ideas, meet and connect.

    Networking is something that doesn't come naturally to me, and I always seen it as a bad taste. But what's true for corporate networking, which is sometimes a euphism for maneuvring and poticking, doesn't apply for this entrepreneurship world, in which it is a sincere desire to meet similarly-minded and enthusiastic people.

    I hope there will be a continuation to ShopJet. Thanx for the support πŸ™‚

  • I though Startup Weekend could have been an interesting experience, alas I couldn't make it. After reading this post, I'm seriously sorry I missed this event.So, I know you continued working on this idea. Do you know if the other teams did as well?

  • I though Startup Weekend could have been an interesting experience, alas I couldn't make it.
    After reading this post, I'm seriously sorry I missed this event.
    So, I know you continued working on this idea. Do you know if the other teams did as well?

  • I know of at least one other team that continue to work on their idea. Another one dismantled just recently, after learning that a company that was doing a very similar product closed its doors, because the business model turned to be not viable.I think there is an intention to organize another such event sometime in summer.

  • I know of at least one other team that continue to work on their idea. Another one dismantled just recently, after learning that a company that was doing a very similar product closed its doors, because the business model turned to be not viable.

    I think there is an intention to organize another such event sometime in summer.

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