The first all-female (bar one male) Startup Weekend successfully concluded Sunday night with First Curled Problems capturing the attention of judges for the originality of their idea and points for the execution of their MVP.
The idea behind First Curled Problems is a community for curly-haired women to embrace their hair. The site is populated with user-generated styling advice and information on localised weather conditions. The site would then be monetised by relationships with local salons and affiliate sales through hair products.
The joint runners-up were Handlebar, a cycling app targeted at travellers which hoped to include local businesses in their suggested rides, and Flushed, an app that used government data plus community recommendations to allow people to find the nearest toilet that met their requirements (disabled, baby change table, etc).
Three startups created over the weekend sought to solve the problem of work flexibility that students and women with young children need. Very Flexi is aimed at professional women who want to maintain their skills when at home with a baby, and Connect the Dots is aimed at helping students find intern work.
three out of 7 pitches at #womenSWMelb about flexible working/work experience. Are you listening, Australia?
— Antonia Mochan (EMA) (@antoniam) May 18, 2014
The judges noted that My Job Share, which sought to pair up applicants to apply for one position was the most original of the solutions around flexible work arrangements, noting that while the problem around job flexibility was an obvious one, more work needed to be done by these fledgling startups in coming up with solutions that worked for businesses as much as the people they were trying to help.
The other startup created over the weekend was Go Sprout, which empowered local communities to advocate for events they wanted to see with the option of businesses then sponsoring them to make it happen.
Startup hackathons aimed at women seem to be a welcome trend, with many commenting that they found the experience less intimidating than other startup events.
Later this month Create-a-thon, a two-and-a half-day mobile app development workshop for non-tech women entrepreneurs is being held in Sydney.
Starting Friday, May 30, the event aims to appeal to women with great ideas, but without the tech skills to take their insight to the next stage. It will have a mobile-app focus.
Bronwen Clune was a judge at Startup Weekend.