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Start Up 101

November 24, 2015

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3 Lessons Learned from the Budweiser Dream Brewery Hackathon

BHACK2143-916046-edited.jpgThe Hub Singapore recently partnered with ABInBev – the world’s leading brewer – to host the Dream Brewery Hackathon.

I must say, I was impressed by the 100+ hackers, developers and entrepreneurs who participated! Their ability to form teams, create a concept and pitch a viable prototype in less than 48 hours is nothing short of awesome.

As someone who works at a coworking space that often hosts hackathons and is involved in the Singapore startup ecosystem, I wanted to share three lessons learned from Dream Brewery Hackathon. Aside from the obvious industry knowledge and clear financial plan, these simple tips will also help those interested in applying to the upcoming Budweiser Dream Pitch Day on February 18, 2016 improve their odds of creating the right impact.

Over 20 projects were pitched during the Dream Brewery Hackathon. Each team had a different concept, different pitching style and different method of furthering their vision with the judges. However, any team looking to win the judges over in February should consider:

  1. Scalability. For those who watched the Dream Brewery Hackathon pitches, you will remember the judges often focused their follow up questions on this topic. Why? Because companies (and investors!) want to put their money into a startup or product that is scalable. It costs real money to build a prototype, fine tune it and ensure its viable enough to not just stand out in not just one market – but many. If a product cannot be replicated quickly (meaning minimal cost for production, marketing, etc.) it’s less likely to chosen. In today’s startup world, investors don’t want to build a castle; they want to build an empire.
  2. Pitch Perfect. I am not talking about an Anna Kendrick movie here, but the notion that you only have a limited amount of time to woo the world. Most hackathons and pitch days limit the amount of time a team or entrepreneur has to communicate their vision, explain their product and address any concerns. Your story has to be compelling and crystal clear. Even if you are fortunate enough to have unlimited time with a judge, investor or stakeholder – do not waste their time! Steve Jobs once said, “Every new business pitch should do three things: inform, educate and entertain.” I would add pitches should be short, sharp and clearly explain why the idea is a compelling alternative to competitors. 
  3. UI/UX. Whether you like it or not, UI/UX design is the name of the game. If I were a judge, potential investor or stakeholder asked to choose between two similar ventures, I’d choose the one with a well-thought out UI/UX design. The reality is, in the race for the next big thing, the ultimate winner will be the product that optimizes the user design experience – increasing the likelihood that a consumer is satisfied, remains loyal and chooses to make your app, your service, your product a part of their daily/weekly life due to ease of use and enjoyment derived. 
Above all, be passionate! Passion is contagious and investors want to invest in people who excite them and have the commitment and drive to push ahead and fight to succeed. Picqued by coding? Check out five little coding secrets that we thought you should know ;)