Home » startups » SWKhartoum Team Feedback

SWKhartoum Team Feedback

This was my first experience as a Startup Weekend mentor and I had a lot of fun. I was testing my own assumptions and validated ideas as I was mentoring because I would like to develop my own startup to serve the startup space. I am going to write about and critique every group, giving you feedback and suggestions. I will be brutally honest because I believe honesty is the best policy. Feedback will help you improve and we should always be seeking ways to improve and get better! Please understand though, my comprehension of the Arabic language is poor, my judgement of some your groups may only be based on my observations of your startup work output, PowerPoint / Prezi slides and crowd and judge feedback. If you think the feedback I give your group is harsh, unwarranted or undeserving and if I could only understood Arabic better then my opinion maybe different, well then bad luck. I am also giving you the opportunity to be brutally honest with me and give me your feedback. The feedback loop leads to improvements and I want to improve as a mentor. Please take my mentor survey here. So in no particular order my team feedback…


The Offer

The Offer

The Offer is a location based personalized advertisement platform. The idea is to provide the right offers to the right people at the right times. This will result in increased sales due to advertising, and so will generate more revenue (and thus profits) for both the advertisers and the sellers. The consumer also benefits by receiving good deals on purchased items. It’s a Win-Win-Win situation! The more consumers buy, the better offers they get!

Observations: This team worked really well together and made it to the performing stage of group dynamics. When a team works that well together, they get stuff done! Half of the team were working until 4am on Saturday morning and were back at it by 9am. My award for the hardest working team goes to The Offer! Their idea is a difficult one, solving the ultimate advertising problem. How to get the right message to the right person in the right place at the right time and how to get served an offer at exactly the moment a consumer is ready to buy. The difficulty with this one is getting a critical mass of users. People are resistant to opting in to advertising unless there is a great incentive. This might work here in Sudan because The Offer team had an amazing social media response to their startup – 528 likes at last count. That kind of social media response really is phenomenal. If you can convert these fans into users then you’re on your way to success street!

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Opportunities: I still think you need to be very considerate of how you position The Offer. Putting the wrong offers in front of people could kill this idea very quickly and you want to incentivize your users to trust you so much that they wouldn’t dare delete your app. I trust though that you’ve got the AI sorted to handle that? Educating users will also be critical. Your key message to prospects should be something like – download The Offer, get discounts. It would be fantastic to get this startup out of Sudan and go global. I think your market is very supportive here in Sudan and your users will want to be a part of your global success story. Move fast, it will happen. Lets do a strategy session on how you’re going to get more downloads. I also advise you to get the media on board quickly. Call #SWKhartoum sponsor Capital Radio. Tell them about The Offer. Put a media kit together outlining your story, contact details and any multimedia you have. Write a press release. Pitch it to Al Jazeera. I’m pretty sure Al Jazeera was an #SWKhartoum sponsor? Find other media and journalists, bloggers or anybody else influential to pitch The Offer to. If you need help with any of this, just ask me. I like to use my Public Relations degree haha!

Challenges: Getting businesses to buy into the scheme before you have a critical mass of users and before you can provide a guaranteed return on investment is going to be the big challenge. You need to be very aggressive at getting advertisers. Pay attention to companies that are advertising on TV, radio and newspapers. Companies that are paying for advertising have money and they are always looking for ways to get better advertising ROI. These are the advertisers you want to target first. Pick up a newspaper or magazine, look at the companies placing ads. Call them. Make sure you have a sales script planned before you call though and always sell the results in advance. For example your opening should be something like, “Hi, would you like to get a better return on investment with your advertising”? Again, let’s do a strategy session together and work on your sales script.

Final thoughts: What The Offer app is really trying to do is apperize, personalize and locationize the old fashioned paper discount booklet (the premise is you buy a booklet for $50 and it has a $500 worth of discounts from a bunch of businesses – users pay for the discounts, businesses pay to get listed in the booklet) The Offer idea is totally viable and many many people have tried this idea but nobody, as far as I’m aware, has really gotten it right yet. Whoever does get the tech right and gets that critical mass of users, will become filthy rich. The difference between success and failure is going to be determined by how hard you’re team is willing to hustle!

Offer Team

The only team that brought military industrial equipment

 Ali Faisal (Developer) Mawada Saud (Business) Amr Khalid (Business) Esam Alshaikh (Developer) Hassan Rashid (Developer)

 

Share It

Share It

A solution that helps you reach your destination. “Share It” is a an app that helps you connect with car drivers with the lowest fees in the fastest time possible! As a driver you may offer to pick up people, set your route, time,vacant seats and fees and People will find you With the touch of a screen! As a user you can look for possible rides nearby or even make requests ! Cheaper than taxis and Cheaper than amjad ! Share It! Use It! Contact Us @ ShareItApp123 on Facebook & Twitter.

I want this app here in Sudan right now! Ride sharing apps are so hot right now. Uber is the global market leader and has just been valued at EIGHTEEN BILLION DOLLARS. The potential to cash out on ride sharing apps is massive but you need to act aggressively if you’re going to win at this game. You need to market aggressively. You need to expand aggressively. You need to act aggressively against any resistance you may face. If the Share It team get the tech right and quickly get early adopters to start using and endorsing the product, they should be prepared for a fight.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: Firstly you should expect resistance from the established taxi/amjaad/tuk tuk market. I don’t know how well the taxi market is unionized here in Sudan, if they have a strong representative association or not? From Uber’s global expansion adventures, they’ve met some very strong resistance from local taxi mafia and from government regulation. This may not be such a problem here in Sudan for the Share It team because the taxi/amjaad/tuk tuk market seems to be less regulated and collectivized? Is there even a phone number to call to get a taxi to come pick you up here in Sudan? If you can sell the benefits of Share It to your local drivers here I’m sure they’ll jump on board. When recruiting your drivers, pitch it them, “Hey, do you want to drive less and make more money”? A caveat here though – on Thursday when I got in an amjaad at Al Waha Mall to get to the Startup Weekend venue, the driver quoted me 100SDG – Share It will stop drivers from potentially ripping off passengers (I didn’t pay 100SDG, that’s ludicrous!)

Second. Expect competition and expect competition to be fierce. When other potential ride sharing players see that you’re starting to gain traction in the Sudanese market, they will enter the game and you should expect they will do it viciously. The fight between Uber and Lyft has been brutal – sabotage and dirty tactics has been standard operating procedure between these two companies. Do some research on Uber. I advise the Share It team to model what Uber has done to win market share. Success leaves a trail, follow the winners. Uber could also be an exit strategy for your team; acquisition by a larger player is winning in my opinion. Uber recently launched in South Africa. Keep on eye on them. They are your main competitor. When they eventually expand into Sudan, expect them to try eat you. If you get a head start in the Sudan market and acquire a decent size user base, you could do very very well out of this financially.

Team observation: A startup is only as good as its founders maniacal determination and staunch attitude for accepting nothing but success. I saw a spark from the leadership in this group. I saw something special. When I first met this team, they wanted the Share It idea to incorporate sharing books, food and cars. I advised this team to choose only one of those verticals. The app that tries to do everything, does nothing well. It’s better to concentrate on one thing and do that one thing well. They swiftly chose the ride sharing niche and moved forward accordingly. I saw some hard work coming from this team on the Friday night, coding well into the early hours. That’s a good sign…

Final thoughts: I’m not sure about the MVP demo in the presentation? Did your prototype work? It’s hard to convey usability in such a short time but can we (me and your 549 Facebook fans) expect to see the Share It app in the 1 Mobile Market anytime soon? Have you got a website up yet? At the very least you should have a landing page up to capture email leads. Use a service like Launchrock to set it up, super simple. Again, have a look what Uber is doing in Johannesburg. Did your team enter a video for the Global Startup Battle? Are you continually surveying your market and getting more feedback? Ask your potential customers what they actually want, don’t assume anything! Will you have Bitcoin integration like Citizen Impossible mentioned on your Facebook page? Do you have a customer acquisition strategy? How’s your business model going to fund development and marketing? I really really want to see Share It roll out in Sudan. You’ve got maybe a 12 month head start before Uber looks at this market. If you get in first, expect to be rewarded!


 

Share It team

Ahmed Abdalazeem (Developer) Ahmed Osman Nabri (Developer) Ranya Mohammed Ayed (Designer) Ahmed Alrashed (Developer) Abdalghafar Sameer (Developer)

 

Owl Design

No logo

A digital design agency that utilizes and technology and art to provide solutions that make startups grow and build customer bases. Our design services are easily reachable through our website, and we offer outstanding payment packages.

Team observation: I need to withhold the savagery of my true assessment for this team otherwise this feedback is going to be laden with expletives and we don’t want that. Owl design. A supposed ‘digital design’ agency that something something blah blah. This team was so off the mark it wasn’t funny and that is a shame. You’re a supposed ‘design’ agency, where is your logo? Commiserations though for handing the judges a document during your presentation, an admirable sign of initiative. Unfortunately though it was six pages of a dogs breakfast. You’re a supposed ‘design’ agency and you hand the judges 6 pages of random text? The rest of the presentation was palpably cringe worthy. Don’t waste precious time on explaining your credentials during your opening. Nobody cares who you are. At Startup Weekend all we care about is brilliant ideas that solve problems. What actual problem was Owl Design solving other than being some fictitious agency ?

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: I visited this team three times to help them develop their idea into something more meaningful. They chose to ignore all advice and persist with a turd sandwich. Saying you’re some kind design agency that solves all problems for all startups does not make you some kind of design agency that solves all problems for all startups. It makes you dreamer. You have no credibility. You’re imaginary. I asked your team why I should do business with you. What’s your unique value proposition. You could not tell me. Sorry. I must stop and apologize at this point. I feel partly to blame for your team missing the point because if I was a better mentor, I could have prevented this from happening. I’ve learnt from this experience working with your team though. I’ve thought of a better way how I can deal with an inflexible, belligerent team that won’t take on advice at Startup Weekend. So congratulations for that. Now, you have two ways to react to this feedback. I hope you choose to flearn responsibly. And if you do become some kind of actual design agency that does great work in spite of my assessment then that’s great.

 

  Amjad Abdulrahman (Business) Momen Kamal (Developer) Isbah (Designer)

 

Special Plus

Special Plus

A platform to help develop those with special needs to that they may become productive – mainly through treatment or finance. The plan is to provide sponsors with skilled special needs individuals – this way they both gain. We aim to unite and facilitate international special needs support organizations, companies, and financial institutions to help them unleash their full potential!

Team observation: A brilliant idea is just one factor of a successful startup. The charisma of the founder also comes into play. When Aaya disclosed her idea during the 1 minute pitches, everybody paid attention.  This was maybe because because she whistled into the microphone or probably because she has such a magnetizing aura about her. Either way, this is one team that I personally want to see become successful. I think there is genuine potential for the Special Plus idea to become global. Why? Because when Aaya told me that some of the best phone operators are blind and some of the best at data entry are deaf, I instantly recognized that Special Plus is creating a triple win scenario. The disabled win because they can get a chance to earn a decent living without being marginalized. Companies win because they get access to an untapped talent pool with the added benefit of positive CSR by employing people with disabilities. Special Plus wins. We all win. I really liked the passion shared across this team. Their output was great. They showed initiative. I’m not so sure about the MVP though, this still needs some work but that’s okay. Special Plus won second place. That’s validation!

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: I can see three hurdles that Special Plus will have to overcome for them to become the world changing startup that they’re striving to be. The first is to get the tech right. The MVP presented at Startup Weekend looked very rudimentary but at least it’s a start. As you get more customer feedback, you will surely optimize your tech and UI. Remember to keep it simple and easy to use. The second challenge is to get this idea to spread and start getting some early adopters on board to trial the scheme. I’m confident team founder Aaya already has some contacts to grass up. This needs to be done quickly. Early stage startups need to maintain momentum. If you’re limited with your target market and relying on 3 or 4 customers to make a decision then it’s likely you will have trouble keeping motivated. Don’t rely on a limited target market to get your startup moving forward. Get on top of your customer relations and start building a database of interested parties. Find a CRM software to do this that’s free, easy to use and you like. At the very lease, make a spreadsheet of customer contacts. The third challenge I can see is positioning when monetizing this startup. Making money off disabled people can be perceived by some as being morally reprehensible. You need to manage this perception carefully. You will have to be forthright in your branding and marketing communications about your revenue model. You could loose trust very easily if people start to think that you’re exploiting disabled people.

Final thoughts: Special Plus is off to a great start. Your team placed second at Startup Weekend. Congratulations! I really want to see this idea takeoff because it’s full of positively and win. While the team has no shortage of passion, I’m not sure about technical ability. The MVP didn’t function that well at Startup Weekend? You will need to work on this and come up with a product that matches the brilliance of the idea. I am confident you will find the support here in Sudan to deliver such a product. Your team has garnered amazing acknowledgement already, 650 likes on Facebook! I am also in love with your logo. I want to see this everywhere! I also want to discuss with team your public relations strategy and writing your first press release. Unfortunate we were unable to meet on Wednesday to do this but that’s okay. Let’s stay in touch. Hope your national TV interview went well! Good luck!!!

Special Plus Team

Ahmed Kamal (Developer) Alamin Jaafar (Designer) Aaya Mamoun (Business)

 

Sh0o0f

Sh0oof

‘Shoof’ is a web application that serves as a directory of available teachers in Sudan. The main idea is to help people select more appropriate tutors. ‘Shoof’ provides a profile for each registered teacher. These profiles provide information about the experience, location, and schedule of the teachers. The teachers benefit by having more students to teach, and thus more income. We make money by charging both the users and the teachers a small premium. And so everybody is happy! It’s a Win-Win-Win situation! We will also provide educational animations and videos targeted at all ages – all in the hope of enhancing education.

Team observation: I spent quite a bit of time with the Sh0o0f team to help them progress. The Sh0o0f team were absolutely resolute on their idea to make fancy looking educational for teachers and executing this idea at Startup Weekend was always going to be troublesome. Startup Weekend requires you to validate your idea with your target market to make sure you have an actual market to sell to and make money. It’s a fair challenge to do in a weekend and you can get hamstrung and loose progression quite easily, going around in circles trying to justify your assumptions. This is what happened with the Sh0o0f team. They got stuck and couldn’t move forward. It’s a trap to get so stuck on your idea and then try to piece everything around it to try make it work. The problem with Sh0o0f is trying to make money out of it. Education is a funny business, extracting profit is not easy. The Sh0o0f team were assuming teachers would want to pay to have fancy videos made out of their lessons. I’m not sure that Sh0o0f spoke to any actual teachers about their idea? Or did any validation on end users to see if they would pay for this service? Sh0o0f embodied the classic Startup Weekend conundrum; loving your idea so much and refusal to pivot despite knowing the idea won’t pass Startup Weekend judging criteria.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: Is there an actual market here in Sudan for this product or are you only interested in this startup because you’re deploying your mad skillz to make something cool? If it’s the former, good luck, I hope you succeed! If it’s the latter then what you’re doing is a hobby and it will be difficult to get paid any real cash money for doing for what you’re doing.  The crowd reaction to your thermal dynamics video was pretty positive and you’ve amassed an amazing 801 likes on Facebook. If you guys can get your first three customers (teachers) to pay you money and you can achieve ROI then there is no reason your startup can’t be successful. Your biggest challenge is getting paid. What kind of teachers would use this service? How much do you think they would pay? Would a teacher paying you to make a fancy teaching video get a return on their investment for making a video with you? Will students actually pay for this service?

Final thoughts: While I really want success for the Sh0o0f team to happen, I am not sure it will be with this iteration. It’s hard to get money out of education. Many have tried. Many have failed. If you prove me wrong with Sh0o0f then that’ll be awesome. To do that what you need to do from now is focus on getting your first 3 customers to pay you money for your product. Don’t waste your time on developing something that nobody wants. Remember it’s okay to fail. I failed 6 times with startups before I made any money. Maybe this frank assessment will be the motivation you are looking for – do you persist or pivot?

 

 Ahmed Ezzaldeen (Designer) Muaz Kory (Designer) Salma Ibrahim Adam (Developer) Lina Amir Sid’Ahmed (Business)

 

University Portal

No logo

An interactive system that goes with the student-university life style: the system will track student performances over time and present them to students in a way that helps them make well-informed decisions about their education and their career. Ultimately, we hope to help people choose a suitable major – something that he or she will excel at, thus increasing their happiness and their contribution to society. The system will also help students organize their studies and school-oriented events.

ObservationsIn theory, having a nice university portal is a great idea. In practice, you need to sell that idea to the university. That is the premise of Startup Weekend. To sell your idea. This was a very difficult idea to sell in a weekend. Whilst the team worked hard at executing their idea, it was always going to be difficult to get validation from your primary customer. Universities are large institutions that are difficult to penetrate to find your key decision maker and they are notoriously slow at making decisions. The University Portal team persisted with their idea despite the validation challenge. The end product they came up with was polished and would definitely resonate with their end users – university students. However, they aren’t going to pay you for this. Universities / schools are. If you find the right person to sell this idea to, go for it, be successful I recommend though that you cease further development until you find an actual buyer for this product. Otherwise you are wasting your time. Don’t give up though! If it’s not this iteration then maybe the next, or the one after that you’ll find success! Fail forward and don’t forget the other critical skills you had a chance to develop at Startup Weekend! Hope you stay in the game for the next SW!

 Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Elmuzamil (Developer) Mohammed Saeed (Business) Mohammed Gamal (Developer)

 

AHALNA – Our Family

 

AHALNA - Our Family

A social mobile app that empower youth and younger generation to know their ascending tree and interact with their relatives through status updates, and social events. It is different from normal social networks in that users collaboratively build their networks – once they identify themselves, they are automatically presented with their family tree. This greatly simplifies the process of finding and interacting with relatives! We will make money through targeted advertisements, and family funding. This will prove effective as we will have vast amounts of data about users.

Team observation: This was one of the larger teams, 6 members, and they all worked very hard staying back until the early hours. It’s always a good sign to see teams working hard together; possibly reaching the coveted ‘performing’ stage of group dynamics over Startup Weekend. I’m not sure this team will continue with their startup though. I haven’t seen as much output from this team post event compared to some of the other teams. This loss of momentum is not a good sign. I could be wrong though and we could see this team have a resurgence soon. The family tree app is a great idea and had lots of support at SWKhartoum but there were issues surrounding the business model.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

 Challenges: There was mad validation for this product, I think everybody in the audience would have downloaded this app straight away if they could. Although, I’m not sure how this app finds your family? You need to enter your family details in manually or will the software find your family for you? If you could get a hold of a Sudan population data set and citizen history to populate family trees automatically, this would be a valuable technical marvel. Not so sure about the privacy issues though… The big problem with this team was the revenue model was unclear. How is this team going to make money? There were lots of ideas about monetization but none of them were articulated clearly enough to impress the judges. I made a few suggestions but I think they fell on deaf ears. If you can get your revenue issues sorted then this app will be successful. You’ve got 500 million people across the MENA market, 10% of that have smartphones and this is growing rapidly. Everybody has a family history. You could deploy the bait and switch strategy – get users, add features then ask for money.

Final thoughts: It’s not just me that wants this app to be successful, Ahalna had mad support from the crowd at Startup Weekend! I’m pretty sure you’d have at least 500 Facebook likes by now but I haven’t seen a Facebook page from your team yet. Facebook likes are validation! If you can bootstrap an app together and aggressively chase a critical mass of users, you can worry about monetization later. Whatsapp doesn’t make money. Twitter took years to make any real money. Same with Facebook. Same with Instagram. The value in these companies is their user database. If you can get rapid growth and hit 1 million downloads by June next year, revenue can come later. Do it!

 

 Mohammed Osman(Business) Ahmed Abdallah(Developer) Eyas Elhashmi(Designer) Musab Kamal(Developer) Abdulhadi Tagelsir(Developer) Ahmed Albakheet(Developer)

 

Neptune

NeptuneNeptune is a system to help telecom companies monitor fuel level in BTS site generators. Neptune features a hardware unit that is installed on each fuel tank and a web application to display a map showing fuel levels on different BTS sites on the map. This will help BTS operators better check the status of their sites.

Team observation: The Neptune team had their heads down all weekend and worked impressively hard at executing their startup idea. I approached this team once or twice but sensed I was merely interrupting their workflow with my presence; my assistance wasn’t that necessary to their success. Clearly I was right because this team won Startup Weekend, congratulations Neptune! Again this was one of the few teams that reached the performing level of group dynamics and when that happens, anything is possible.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: Customers. In the presentation you limited yourself to telecom companies only. I can see the Neptune solution being applied to other markets – anybody that has a diesel generator will find Neptune useful. Running out of backup diesel generator electricity can be disastrous for some industries – banks, hospitals, cold food storage for example. Neptune can prevent a potential catastrophe. Basing your target market on such a tight vertical can be very limiting. You have identified 3 or 4 main customers for your product, telecom companies here in Sudan. What if they all say no to your idea? Can your startup survive? Another challenge I can see for Neptune is competition. I just did a quick Google search for ‘remote fuel level monitoring’. There are already several companies that are providing a similar product to what you’re proposing. This in itself is validation – there is a pre-existing market and somebody is already making money. You will have a cost advantage over these competitors though because of your geographical positioning, but will this be enough to sustain Neptune as a startup company into the future?

Final thoughts: Use the momentum of Startup Weekend and get that first customer as soon as you can. Get a contract signed. And don’t just sell the product and forget about it, add a long term service plan into the deal. Annual or biannual equipment checks and maintenance add to your revenue stream, you should be thinking 5 years ahead. Your financial projections over the next 5 years should incorporate an R & D budget so you can continue delivering clever new products that solve real problems.

Neptune Team

Mohammed Haider Ibrahim (Designer) Mustafa Abdelhaleem (Developer) Hussam Eldeen Hassan (Business) Aymen Mekkawi (Designer)

 

One is Fun

One is Fun

An advertising, publishing, marketing, and trading web application for comic books and video games that is focused on providing a rich, enjoyable, and profitable experience. It will benefit both the content creators and the buyers by facilitating the means for easy and convenient transactions.

Team observation: One is Fun won the social impact and creativity prize, congratulations! This is a motivated team with a great idea. I had no idea the comics scene here in Sudan was big enough to support this idea? Bringing content creators and consumers closer together is always a big win. The One is Fun team operated like the Neptune team – in the zone. I didn’t get around to helping the One is Fun team too much because I didn’t want to break their flow! Congratulations again on winning the social impact and creativity award and I hope your big TV interview went well!

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

 Challenges: Online / mobile payments. This is a recurring problem here in Sudan. You will be taking 1SDG per month from your end users? How will you facilitate this payment? Are you taking into consideration transaction fees? I’m still unclear about the online payments system here in Sudan. Hopefully you’ve worked around this issue with your startup? Do you guys have a website yet? Have you started collecting customer interest and reached out to content creators? What’s the ROI for content creators? Is there a similar platform already existing in Japan with their manga scene that you can model? I really want to see some examples of Sudanese comics, where can I find some?

Final thoughts: 1SDG per month, per customer. How big is your target market here in Sudan? Will you be able to generate enough revenue to sustain this startup into the future? Some interesting points were raised when you surveyed your Facebook fans for your TV interview (hope your interview went well!) Asking your target market what they want is the best way to serve them a product that they actually want. Continue getting feedback and keep improving your MVP! Wish you the best of luck and if you have any more questions or need help with putting that media kit together, please let me know!

 

Mohammed Yahia (Business) Mohammed Wasfi (Developer) Waleed Abdalla Fadl (Created Idea)

 

Scan Arabi

Scan Arabi

Optical character recognition is a process where images of text are converted into digital text – text you can manipulate and read. There are many applications and services for English OCR, and while this is great, what we need is Arabic OCR. There are no applications of high quality for Arabic optical character recognition. Our idea is to implement a fast, effective, and accurate android application that will perform Arabic OCR on pictures taken with the camera. You have a document you need to send? Just snap a picture, and it’s ready to go!

Team observations: Scan Arabi had one of the the biggest teams at Startup Weekend with seven members. Sometimes a bigger team can be difficult to work with but this wasn’t the case for the Scan Arabi team. Their output was solid over the weekend but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to impress the judges. Seems the revenue model wasn’t convincing enough for the judges to vote this team the best. The judges also mentioned that this idea was competing with some much bigger industry players. A quick Google search and you can find a few web apps that execute a similar scanning idea. I’m not sure that there is a mobile app available yet though?

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

 Challenges: Again, you are competing against some bigger players in the scanning space who have larger budgets and greater access to technical capabilities. Also, how to extract money from this idea is a little tricky. There are some free alternate services to Scan Arabi, how do you compete against free? Startup Weekend stresses the idea validation process so that you can determine if your idea is viable and there is a market for it. During your validation process, did you find any customers that would actually pay for this service? If you did manage to find a viable customer base to support this startup then proceed with gusto!

Final thoughts: I loved this teams presentation. No need to explain why haha! Again, if you have already found customers who are willing to pay for this service then proceed with gusto! If not, flearn and move onto the next idea. Good luck!

Scan Arabi

Ashraf Elmahadi (Designer) Yosra Othman (Developer) Mustafa Alghali (Developer) Elrasheed Elnoman (Designer) Elebaid Elshafi (Business) Alaa Ahmed (Developer) Eltayeb Khalid (Developer)

 

Perfecto

Perfecto

Perfecto provides the basic contact information about service providers in Sudan along with their rate and the review comments of customers who make use of their services. Perfecto oriented to change the behavior of getting services in Sudanese market.

Team observation: The Perfecto team seemed quite happy deploying their capabilities and executing on their idea without any concrete validation from their target market or without any real competitor analysis. There isn’t really much that separates this idea from what Google is already doing – provide the basic contact information about service providers in Sudan along with their rate and the review comments of customers who make use of their services. What is the unique value proposition of Perfecto? What is Perfecto going to do that is different from Google?

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: Monetizing this idea. How? Charge businesses to list with Perfecto? Take commissions? I think a better idea would be to start a business that teaches other businesses how to use and leverage Google to their advantage. The old saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them”. There is no way you can beat Google at its own game. The are already doing what Perfecto is proposing. What you can do though is find a market for businesses who haven’t listed their details with Google. Getting found on Google now is kind of a big deal. Many business owners are either too busy or they simply don’t know how they can list their business on https://www.google.com/business/. There is a viable market of tech inept business owners out there for somebody to go exploit and make money from.

Final thoughts: I think this team was just happy to be attending Startup Weekend and weren’t really serious about winning the competition. And that’s okay. It’s a fun weekend where we learn new stuff. I hope the Perfecto team got value out of the weekend!

 

Islah Abdelhamed(Developer) Abdelhamed Tarig(Business) Yasir Amir(Designer) Mohammed Fadel(Developer)

 

Weambo Game Development

WeamboWeambo is a game development team specializing in games that are designed to be educational and instill good morals in those who play them. We also focus on our heritage, our culture – we try to integrate as much Sudanese culture as we can! We do not believe that one has to sacrifice greatness in a game to make it more educational – innovation is key here. So it goes without saying that our games will also be a joy to play; fun, education, and culture – what more could one want? Our first game is called ‘The Mummy’ – it is about the pyramids and pharaohs of Sudan.

 

 

Omer Ahmed(Developer) Ola Yahia(Developer)

 

1 Day House

1 Day House

We will develop low cost house designs by 3D printing them using 3D concrete printers which will reduce the construction process. It will take just 24 hours (a single day!) to build a whole house costing approximately $5000 US dollars. They will also be environmentally friendly and compatible with Sudanese culture.

Team observation: I was so happy that a team at Startup Weekend had the fortitude to tackle the housing problem in Sudan. The social and economic benefits of housing people are immeasurable. Simply put, houses makes peoples lives better. Originally this team had the idea to build houses out of paper or another low cost material. A similar solution to this had been proposed before in Sudan; making $200 houses out of rubbish failed to gain traction though. 1 Day House pivoted from paper and explored 3D printed houses as their startup idea. They managed to acquire the interest of a major Khartoum concrete supplier over the weekend, underpinning their validation process. Plenty of interest was also shown from potential home buyers because who wouldn’t want a cheaper house? It was a noble attempt at a 3D house printing startup but it unfortunately failed to impress the judges. I’m not sure the MVP and final presentation did justice and reflected the hard work that this team put in over the weekend. Don’t stop trying though!

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

 Challenges: 3D printing houses is a hugely disruptive technology; consequently there will be massive resistance, objections from self-interested parties that want the status quo construction techniques to remain will be belligerently defiant and completely hostile to the idea. From a layman’s perspective, 3D printed housing technology looks just like good common sense – make houses quicker, better and cheaper. It’s unfortunate though that common sense often ddoesn’talways prevail especially when there are greater external factors to consider. There’s a lot at stake to let this technology become mainstream, most notably, jobs. The housing construction industry employs a significant proportion of the population. If 3D printing houses takes off, it’s going to leave a lot of people without a job and a means to earn money. Having people employed in meaningful work is seemingly perceived to be of a greater importance than building houses quicker, better and cheaper. Sudan already has a significant unemployment problem, disrupting the housing construction sector with 3D printed houses is just going to exacerbate that problem. If there aren’t enough jobs for people, how will they earn money and be able to afford to buy a house? You need to address this objection if 1 Day House is going to proceed successfully. What are the benefits of having less people employed in the construction industry? The technology also hasn’t been demonstrated. People need to see a house printed before their own eyes. Then you’ll likely get traction.

Final thoughts: It’s not impossible for 1 Day House to succeed; you just need to be prepared for a very big fight, every single day. There will be hostile forces conspiring against your success, they desperately want you to fail. Don’t give in though. Stick to your guns. Have a plan. Execute everyday. Your immediate plan should be to get as many housing prospects on your list as possible. Get them to pay a deposit. If you have a list of 1000 customers who’ve a paid a deposit (a token 1SDG will suffice) for a 1 Day House, it will make raising further capital from banks or other investors much much easier. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote made his fortune with cement. If you can get him on board, nothing will stop 1 Day House. Good luck!

 

Khalid Khogali (Business) Abdallah Adam (Designer) Mazin Zaidan (Developer) Hussam Aldeen Mohammed (Designer)

 

Your Doctor

Your Doctor

 

Your Doctor is a reservation system designed to facilitate reservations to doctors or clinics in an efficient and convenient manner. At the core of Your Doctor is a database containing information about registered doctors and centers of service. Much of this information will be made publicly available to users to help them better select their doctors – things such as academic history (education), experience, clinic services, and availability makes making decisions much easier. Users will provide data about their insurance, location, and required specialty, and will then be presented with a list of nearby candidate doctors.

Team observation:  Your Doctor is a great idea, in theory. Anything that can improve health care in Sudan is a great initiative. In practice though, this startup idea will have to overcome a few obstacles before it can be fully implemented. I stressed considerably to this team the importance of validation with this startup idea; go and speak to doctors and see if they will actually buy into the scheme. Getting a critical mass of doctors who back this idea will be the key to success for this startup. It’s ultimately up to your doctors in Sudan to decide on the fate of this idea. Your end user patients will be happy to use the app only if doctors are using it.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: I see two major challenges for My Doctor – monetization and privacy. Who pays? Doctors, patients or both? Doctors will likely be unwilling to pay for a service to fix a problem that they might not think exists. For a doctor, the reservation system is not broken. People will still need to see a doctor regardless of how long they have to wait. Doctors are notorious for having little regard for their patients waiting time; their focus is just on treating people. End user patients will obviously see the great potential and benefits in the Your Doctor startup idea; find a suitable doctor, get prompt treatment. There is a danger though that this app could create resentment in the community from those who think that health care shouldn’t be a user-pays system; to pay more money to get better treatment is seen as repugnant and sectarian by some. This leads to another major issue – privacy. Will doctors be willing to reveal their academic history and experience? Will this app punish bad doctors? Will reservation history from patients be secure? Will insurance information from patients be secure? Are patients going to be willing to divulge such information? Can this reservation system be abused i.e. maybe there is a vendetta against a certain doctor or a clinic, will they be susceptible to false bookings?

Final thoughts: Getting doctors to buy into this solution is going to be the hardest sell; they probably won’t recognize that there is a problem with the current system. Patients will turn up to clinics for treatment regardless of how rudimentary the reservation system is. Anything that improves the patient side of the equation will have support but it’s not about the patients in this scheme. It’s all about the doctors. You need to apply the WIFFM (what’s in it for me) directive. How is this going to benefit doctors? How will you sell this scheme to doctors? Here’s how I would do it –talk to as many doctors as you can and put it them, “How would you like to serve patients that will pay you more money for your services, will be more easily satisfied with their health outcomes and who will recommend your services to their friends and family?”. Sell the results in advance. Get the doctors on board, the patients will follow…

 

Mohammed Osman(Business) Alshima Babiker(Developer) Mutaz Hamid(Designer)

 

Voice Operating System (VOS)

VOSControlling your everyday technology with your voice is a vision to the future. VOS (Voice Operating System) is the key to the future. Where you can control your computer and other devices through your voice but not only in English but also in arabic. Our vision is to collaborating with different companies to make their products voice controlled. Why waste time and energy typing or reading while VOS can help you do it.

Team observation:  This team embodied the classic startup idea conundrum; having an idea that you’re so unequivocally fixated on, belligerently rejecting the notions of profitability and business sense because the ideas credence is indisputably sanctimonious and the belief that’ll rain money despite the fact that there is a complete absence of a viable market. This is the exact reason why most tech startups fail and why the concept of idea validation at Startup Weekend is stressed so resolutely. You need to stop and ask yourself, “Who would actually buy this?” Are you making this product for an actual market of hungry buyers, willing to remunerate you for solving their problem or are you just making something you think is cool just because you can? If it’s the former, congratulations, you’re on your way to startup business success. If it’s the latter, congratulations, you’ve got a hobby. My assessment here may sound abrasive but the reality is, this idea was never going to be viable no matter how hard you tried to find a market for it. Disabled people aren’t going to care about operating a computer enough to part with their cash. Yeah, it’s a cool idea but… I really tried my hardest to work with this team to get them to see the startup light but they were totally steadfast in their idea conception. This is a good thing because lessons can be learned and at the end of the day, that’s what the spirit of Startup Weekend is all about. Flearn. Maybe some members in this team needed that harsh dose of reality to move them onto future success for the next project.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: This idea is like Siri. And how did that work out for Apple? Yeah, it’s cool but nobody cares enough about it to go mainstream and the other mass market applications for voice operated controls are already on the market. The Ford Focus motorcar has had voice operated controls for at least the last two years. I fail to see how you can compete with Ford at the motorcar level and with Apple at the computer operation level. It must also be added here that Siri is free. How is VOS different to Siri or the plethora of other voice operating systems? The market has deemed Siri to be unequivocally inept and of no real intrinsic value. The market dictates success; your idea of cool does not.

Final thoughts: I sincerely enjoyed this team’s righteous dogged determination and sheer self-belief in their idea. The MVP demonstration at the presentation was sheer brilliance; how you programmed VOS to delay response in telling us the time until the absolute last minute was exceptionally nonchalant. The crowd was utterly impressed with the unfolding drama and you were rewarded with an appreciative and thoroughly rousing round of applause. The judges, however, were less than impressed. Their assessment was forthright and honest because it needed to be. How will you compete with Siri et al? How will you find a market for VOS? Did you even go out and validate the idea in front of potential customers? Does a revenue model even exist for VOS or are you just making up numbers? VOS was a valiant attempt at a startup but next time when you execute on idea you must do one very most important thing first – go validate the idea with potential buyers / customers before doing any development work whatsoever. Hope to see you with great success in the future!

 

Ahmed Omer (Developer) Esra Hisham (Developer) Mohammed Aboubaker (Developer) Ahmed Gubara (Designer)

 

 Integrated-Sd

No logo

Integrated-Sd focuses on integrating businesses into a single platform. This is achieved by removing barriers between suppliers of goods/services and consumers by collecting all necessary information into a single data cloud and making them accessible to target clients via web/mobile apps. At the moment, Integrated-Sd is concentrated on the medical sector. We will provide easy to use Hospital Management Information Systems to Hospitals at the back end and make medical services available to patients in the front end using mobile apps, with G.P.S capabilities.

 

 

Hozifa Zain Al-Abdeen (Designer) Hamid Abdulmalik Al Hassan (Developer) Ioquis Hagoutaris (Business)

 

Kick Off

Kick OffHave you ever had a brilliant idea, but couldn’t turn it into an actual project because of skills shortage? Do you have money that you want to invest on a great project? If you can say yes to any of these questions, then this is the right idea for you!

Team observation: I saw a lot of work emanating from this team during the weekend but at presentation time, their output reeked of the shotgun approach. There were big aspirations from Kick Off and this was their inherent problem; trying to be too many things at once and failing to execute anything really well. Kick Off wants to be freelance jobs board, a startup forum and a crowd funding platform. This is too much to implement in such a short amount of time and with limited resources. Execute on one idea well and then add-on other ideas moving forward. Don’t try to be everything all at once at first because that will ultimately stretch you, leaving you vulnerable and susceptible to systemic failure. Just focus on doing one thing and do that one thing well. The MVP shown during the presentation was just a picture of a website; it didn’t actually have any functions other than being a visual representation of the team’s aspirations. If you want to be jobs board, a startup forum and a crowd funding platform your iteration must be spot on to gain the trust of users.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: Credibility. Jobs boards need the trust of the users for them to work. There needs to be a critical mass of available work and there needs to be a reliable stream of workers to fulfill tasks. For example, numerous iterations of micro jobs site Fiverr.com have sprung up and ultimately failed. Why? Because nobody was posting jobs to the site and what work that was being done was bunkum. Credibility on the crowd funding side of things is also fraught with danger. Investors ultimately want ROI and with so much startup failure how can you guarantee that?

Final thoughts: The Sudan startup scene is ripe for the ideas that Kick Off exposes. Sudan needs a jobs board, it needs a startup support community and it needs crowd funding. Integrating all these mechanisms into one portal could work but implementing it harmoniously would be an arduous task. Pick one vertical and stick with that. Start small and build up to the bigger picture. If I were in Sudan and the Kick Off was my baby, I would start by become an online startup community forum first. Be a blog and report on local startup news. Add a jobs board as you expand, then add your crowd funding plugin after that.

 

Lujain Mahmoud(Business) Mohammed Nimir(Designer) Mohammed Ismael Ahmed(Designer)

 

AlMorshid / Masar

AlMorshid / Masar

AlMorshid is a platform with a single purpose in mind: to help students choose the right specialization, and thus the right career. We believe that selecting a suitable career is paramount to happiness and productivity. This project will help students and experts connect and network – so that students may learn from the more experienced. It will also collect and curate a great amount of information about the available degrees in Sudan; this information will be specific to the offerings available here!

 

 

Mujtaba Imad(Developer) Khalid Farah(Developer) Alnour Ahmed(Business)

 

Smart Farm

No logo

The purpose of Smart Farm is to increase the yield and decrease the costs of farming through application of technology. Smart Farm consists of physical infrastructure (electronic valves, moisture sensors, networks, and more), and an android application. The android application will be used to control the physical infrastructure. Essentially, you will be able to control most of your farm from your phone! We think that this is a worthy project because farms have been the lifeblood of economies for hundreds of years – economic growth could help us in Sudan significantly.

Team observation: It’s great that a team was having a crack at trying to solve agriculture problems; Sudan really needs to produce more delicious food! This team was heroically stoic on the Smart Farm idea and that’s an endearing trait for an entrepreneur – never give up! However, this startup iteration was always going to be difficult to aggrandize at Startup Weekend; validating your idea with actual potential customers during your allotted 54 hours is a critical criteria for success and this where this team struggled. I asked the idea founder if he had actually talked to more than three people that could be potential customers. He couldn’t give me a straight answer. The weakness in idea validation carried through into the presentation. It’s great having ideas but the reality is you need to be able to sell that idea and generate cash flow if you want a successful and sustainable startup business.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: This idea isn’t unique, its been done before and you can already buy a product similar to your proposed concept off the shelf. Before acting on any idea, do your research and see if what you’re hypothesizing already exists. In Smart Farms case, yes this idea exists. Automated farming has been around for a few years and there are already some well-established players serving this market. That’s a good thing; a pre-existing market indicates that profit is being generated solving this problem. However, it would be very difficult to find the economies of scale to launch this product in Sudan especially if you’ve only identified one potential customer. Smart Farm needs componentry to be manufactured and you simply cannot compete with the manufacturing efficiency coming out of China. What’s stopping somebody from buying your idea in an already available boxed set and setting up their automated green house on their own?

Final thoughts: There should be more technology innovators focusing on the agricultural sector. People gotta eat! The reality is, if we don’t increase agricultural output 50% by 2050 global hunger is going to be a substantially bigger concern than it is today. The agricultural response to that increase in output must also be done by using fewer inputs – less water, less land, less fertilizer and less human capital. Smart Farm is a great retort to this predicament; please don’t abandon your aspirations to solve agricultural problems! I’ve already mentioned the challenges with this iteration of Smart Farm – economies of scale. Don’t let that stop you from moving forward in this vertical though. If you’re really passionate about automated greenhouses, reach out to where the economies of scale are. Find companies that are already serving your niche, contact them and tell them your story. They will be interested to hear about your ideas and could potentially partner with Smart Farm in the Sudan market.

 

Eltayeb Khalid(Developer) Mohammed Nimir Khalid(Designer) Montaser Fatih Elrahman(Developer)

 

Tender Gate

No logo

Tender gate is a website & mobile app that provide information about the bidding start date and close date for bidding offers. With this website & application companies will be able to catch the opportunities available in the market and reduce the potential decrease of work when information are missing or too late. All that by send to companies the bidding offers available in the market.

Team observation:  This was a really solid startup idea because it solves a genuine problem and it has the potential to scale across global markets if it’s executed well. In my home city Perth, tenders (typically government tenders) are still advertised in the local newspaper; there is no collective online space to post and bid on tenders. This is not an uncommon practice across the world. Your potential market here is massive. Human resources were spread thin across this Startup Weekend and this affected a lot of teams. I think your execution would have been better if you had access to more resources. The MVP presented didn’t do justice to the idea. If you get solid validation from potential customers – they see value in Tender Gate and want to purchase your solution – then you should proceed with pursuing this startup idea.

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: Monetization. The revenue model. How do you propose to make money from this? Commissions? Membership? Cash on delivery? Privacy. You’re dealing with confidential information. How will this be managed? Governments must operate with extreme vigilance and act with impartiality when putting out tenders. If there is a perceived bias with how tenders are awarded, the tender process loses credibility and becomes invalid. How to overcome this?

Final thoughts: This is a great idea but you need to test your assumptions and go validate your idea with as many potential customers as you can. Put it to them, “How much money does it cost your business if you miss out on a tender?” And then follow up with, “What would it be worth to your business if you never missed a tender again?” Follow up with your proposed solution. Pivot and proceed until you have a rock solid MVP.

 

Rania Mohamed (Designer) Nisreen Mahmoud (Developer) Rufaida Omer (Developer)

 

Gashrati

No logoWe are developing an international online clothes market. The clothes market will consist of a collection of stores – each with their own products. The website will allow consumers to browse the offerings and place orders. Payment will be completed via VISA/MasterCards where applicable. In Sudan, users will have the option of paying cash on delivery.

Team observation: Your team is so small, just two people, I did not know you even existed! I am so sorry! My sincerest apologies for missing you. I hope you had a good experience at Startup Weekend and left the event positively. It’s very difficult for a duo at Startup Weekend to excel because there is so much work to do in such a small amount of time. I hope this doesn’t deter your future startup endeavors. Good luck and keep striving for success!

Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: I can only see from the description of your startup what your idea was about. Again my apologies for completely missing your team. There is already an abundance of online stores and online shopping platforms that serve the clothes market well. How is Gashrati any different? Does it just serve the Sudanese market only? Do you have a customer base to tap here in Sudan that would like to have their own online stores? When the online payment problem gets solved, online stores here in Sudan will inevitably boom. There would be a viable market in transitioning offline stores to online. If you position Gashrati as an online store pioneer, you will do well here in Sudan. Again good luck!

 

Nihal Mohammed Elamin (Developer) Azzam Elzain (Business)

 

Blu

No logo

Bluetooth tag that prevents your smart phone from getting lost or stolen – it will also help you find other tagged items. When you go outside, you turn on the “theft mode”; then when the phone becomes faraway from the tag, an alarm will sound, thus alerting you. The GPS will automatically be turned on, and this will help you pinpoint the location of your phone.

Team observation: Blu team, I don’t think I gave you enough attention to help develop your startup, my apologies. There were too many teams at this Startup Weekend! Maybe next time SWKhartoum will keep team totals below 15. That being said, yeah your idea was great but has it been done before? Did you research this idea? Are Bluetooth tags already available to buy? Could you demonstrate your MVP or were you missing a critical component? You got a great response from the crowd during your presentation when you proposed your solution but will that inevitably convert into sales? Who will buy this? Did you get actual validation?

 Was Tim a good mentor? Take the survey here.

Challenges: You can’t proceed with this startup without your Bluetooth tags. Will you proceed to purchase the required tags? How many tags will you buy? This is the thing with startups; do you invest money in buying componentry to perfect your MVP? Or do you go out and make sure you have a market first? If you choose option one, you risk failure and losing your capital. I’ve seen this done before. It’s not pretty. Option two is better. Find the market first, get pre-orders if you can, and then go execute. Don’t skip on research!

Final thoughts: The popularity for this product was well evident but will this translate into money in the bank? The best way to validate this is to take pre-orders. Get an upfront financial commitment from your potential customers. Have you heard of Kickstarter or IndieGoGo? You can do a similar crowd funding campaign in Sudan with cash and promises. You’ll need to establish epic credibility though if you want to take money for pre-orders. It can be done. Just hustle!

 Mohammed Almodather Satti (Business) Ahmed Nimir (?) Islah Abdelhamid (Developer)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Loading Facebook Comments ...