What happens when you give eight motivated entrepreneurs 54 hours and a germ of an idea?
You get fashion advice. At least that's what a collective, known as DressBet-ter, came up with during Startup Weekend Victoria, held at the Victoria Advanced Technology Council's offices last weekend.
After two and a half days of focused business development, the group pitched their idea for a smartphone application called DressBet-ter. The app won the local challenge.
CHECK IT OUT AND VOTE
To use the DressBetter app and to vote for the company: DressBetter.co
The app lets the stylistically challenged solicit fashion advice from friends direct from the change room by showing a picture of an item of clothing and asking for a yes or no to the question: "Should I buy this?"
According to team spokesman Matt Harris, the idea came from guys like him entering the workforce and needing to dress better, and determining how they could best get advice when they are out shopping by themselves.
After consulting with online fashion advice communities, and in malls by targeting young men shopping by themselves, the team determined a lot of guys take pictures of things they might buy and send them via text message to girlfriends and other friends for a second opinion.
"So we built an app that facilitates this kind of behaviour," Harris said.
The app sends the pictures to friends via email, text, Facebook or Twitter, and the responses are anonymously collated into a graph. That sounded like a good idea to the judging panel as the weekend wrapped up, and now Dress Better will face off against winning pitches from the other 137 Startup Weekend events held around the world that weekend. Each team produced a short video and pitch for Global Startup Battle and are now looking for votes to make it into a top 15. From there, a panel of judges will determine a winner who will get a prize package worth more than $50,000.
"We're now focused on driving the community to spread the word about Dress Better, what we're doing and about the tech community to try and get into the top 15," Harris said.
Harris said the Dress-Better team had a bit of a head start and came together quickly as a result of some of the team members being very familiar with lean start-up methodology that allows for shorter product development time.
They also had people who knew each other and were able to work together without too much time spent on establishing working dynamics.
"As a result we started doing things on the Friday that other people didn't get to until Saturday," he said.
He expects most of the team - Brad Van Vugt, Brendan Mulholland, Fieran Mason, Jen Reiher, Linley Faulkner, Shen Lee and Tony Bjornson - will continue to work on the business.
Startup Weekend is a Seattle-based non-profit that brings together entrepreneurs to learn the basics of creating and launching start-up companies.
In Victoria, it brought together 20 entrepreneurs willing to give it a shot over 54 hours.
Startup Weekend has run 672 events around the world attracting 57,000 entrepreneurs who have created 5,005 startup firms.
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