New Farm-based entrepreneur Katrina McArthur led her team, Amble, to victory at Startup Weekend Gold Coast on Sunday night, winning access to mentors, local investors and legal consulting.
The team identified a number of potential revenue streams and built a web-based version of their application over the course of the weekend, impressing the judges with their final pitch.
Amble generates short, themed guided walks from freely available online data, taking into account the user’s interests and preferences. For example, Amble can suggest a walk that takes in the user’s preferred coffee shop on the way to their favourite clothing store. The walks can be be shared with other users via Facebook.
“I don’t usually seek out competitions or public speaking challenges, so to win Startup Weekend at my first attempt was awesome and a little unexpected,” McArthur confided during a chicken-nugget fuelled dash up the M1 on Monday night.
McArthur explained that while it was her first time as a participant in a Startup Weekend, she had been “in training” for several months.
“I’ve only recently returned to Brisbane after a year overseas and in Mackay with family. I spent the last six months investing all my time in learning how to launch my own business concepts. The public library and internet were my greatest lean startup assets.”
The former sustainability project manager had one small regret about Amble’s win.
“I had planned to enter with a good friend James, but he was floored by a virus so I had go it alone. James told me about Startup weekend Gold Coast in July and I may not have been here otherwise. For him not to witness the win is the crazy part.”
While Amble was a deserved winner, close behind were two teams led by enterprising youngsters. Ten-year-old Rhys Burnett and twelve-year-old Kerenza Edwards wowed the judges and the audience with their businesses. Their teams both finished the weekend as runners-up.
Burnett and his team pitched SketchEzy, a mobile app that converts your photos to a dot-to-dot drawing that can be coloured in and shared.
Edwards and her team created Jogg a Dogg, a marketplace that connects dog owners with dog walkers. Jogg a Dogg also enables dog owners to track their dogs and to view pictures and videos of their dog having fun.
Amble and other Startup Weekend Gold Coast teams will now enter the Global Startup Battle, where they will vie for thousands of dollars in prizes.