Back in 2011, within a very few months of joining IBM, I was feeling restless and unworthy. Somehow, the people around me, the pace at which the organization moved, felt too alien for me. I was looking for a way out.
So in March 2011, as I was glancing through the Indian startup news, I came across this StartupWeekend Read through the particulars at the website and I thought to myself that this is just a weekend event. There are little or no entry barriers, so why not try it out. I didn’t have any ideas to pitch but I thought of joining another team. With this, I registered for the event.
The event started off with two electrifying talks by Sharad Sharma and Bharat Goenka. When you remember a talk after 2 years, that says something about the speakers. I saw all the guys pitching their ideas, and half heartedly made up some idea and I also pitched. One idea that caught my attention was from Gaurav Lochan about crowd sourcing traffic information. I asked him shamelessly if I could join his team and voila there I was in a team of 5 guys building a crowd sourced traffic application.
We came up with the name – MakeMyTripFast just as a pun on MakeMyTrip.com. We started brainstorming about how to build this app, what the revenue potential will be, and if at all we can take this app forward. What surprised me was the energy and cohesion in our team. Very rarely will you meet 4 strangers and ‘feel at home’ while developing a product. Heck, even at my day job I hadn’t experienced this kind of camaraderie. We built an Android app, a Heroku backend and put together our demo videos for the presentation on Sunday.
Our presentation went well and by some stroke of luck, the panel picked us as one of the the top 3 winners. I think we were placed third. We were very excited and the panel gave us very encouraging words to take our idea forward. This was the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey. What started as a casual drop in, resulted in an eventful turn in my life. It took me another 6 months to quit IBM and join Gaurav to launch Beetroute. Since then I have pivoted and now building SocialEyez. But for Startup Weekend, I’d perhaps never have taken the plunge to do a startup. What the future holds I don’t know. I might fail or I might get back to a job, but the experience at SW has definitely etched a memory that I will cherish for a really long time.
EDIT – We were placed second at SW and not third. Thanks Avinash
This is a post by Pradeep Banavara , a participant and winning team member of Startup Weekend Bangalore March 2011, and an organizer of Startup Weekend Bangalore. He is currently trying out rying out location based social applications and working on his new venture SocialEyez. His blogs can be found here