Written by: Jennifer Jordan
July 31, 2012
The last week of MIT AITI Colombia 2012 was a whirlwind for the entreprenuers and for the instructors. At Universidad ICESI regular classes began this week, so AITI was in a different room each day. The teams learned to work wherever and whenever they could--this proved a useful skill because by Monday afternoon they definitely had achieved the required sense of urgency to get their demos done and presentations polished for Thursday's Demo Day and Business Plan Competition. They voted for extended Lab hours on Tuesday and Wednesday night, hacking and practicing their presentations until well into the evening.
On Wednesday morning, Jorge Quiroga, Google digital marketing strategist and web analytics whiz, helped our entrepreneurs understand the importance of setting up a webpage, launching a Google Adwords trial, and getting their MVP (minimum viable product) into the market. The beauty of Eric Ries' LEAN start-up methodology is that rapid MVP launch gains entrepreneurs immediate feedback on whether their product is meeting a customer need. This learning helps the enterpreneurs iterate repeatedly to find the market and tune their product for it.
I am extremely proud of all 10 of our teams, but I was especially happy to see the results from the teams that took the advice to launch their MVP and get out and talk to potential customers and partners. The teams that talked to customers and partners and launched their MVP had the strongest showings in the final business plan competition on Thursday, July 26th.
So, now (drumroll) the moment you've all been waiting for, the winners of the MIT AITI Colombia 2012 Business Plan Competition:
First Place: Bee Juegos – Juegos educativos para hijos con TDHA y una comunidad para sus padres (educational games for children with ADHD and a community for their parents). Anna Maria Lopez and her team did a tremendous job communicating their value proposition and market opportunity.
Second Place: DynAds – Publicidad dynamica y personalizadad en tiempo real para dispositivos moviles (dynamic personalized and localized advertising in real-time for mobile devices).
Third Place: Control in Touch – Security in Touch Traquilidad en tus manos (affordable home security in your hand)
Andromo – La forma mas fácil, rápida y practica para convertir casas en hogares inteligentes (the easiest, fastest and most practical way to convert your house to an intelligent home)
Mi Pico y Placa – Recuerda siempre tu Pico Y Placa, llega a donde necesitas, encuentra que hacer (always remember your Pico Y Placa, get where you need to go and find what to do)
My Route – Somos una FAMILIA, somos My Route y venimos para facilitar las cosas (Making public transportation (MIO) easy)
Quick Order – Rapidez en su pedido (rapid mobile ordering)
LIV – Communicate y Revive momentos, Vive LIV! (Communicate and revive moments with LIV, automated video management)
Cocina Facil – La forma facil de cocinar (The easiest way to cook with mobile recipes and offers)Social Brush – Dibuja sin fronteras (Draw without boundaries)
But this is not the end, it's just the beginning. In the next two weeks, MIT AITI Colombia 2012 Business Plan Competition winner Bee Juegos will travel to Medellin to meet with angel investors. The company has already gained strong support from an advisor and garnered interest from potential strategic partners in Spain and from potential users in Spain and Argentina. Second place DynAds has a meeting with a potential corporate client to discuss launching a pilot. Third place winner Control in Touch has two meetings scheduled next week with angels who expressed interest in the their home automation solution, but who advised them to combine resources with fourth place runner-up Andromo to keep going.
Ongoing work and great opportunities are not limited to the winners. Mi Pico y Placa launched its webiste and MVP seven days before the final and already had over 640 page views and nearly 50 downloads of the alpha MVP. To put this in context there are four other companies working on solutions for pico y placa (a system, used in countries ranging from Colombia and Mexico to Bolivia and India, that limits car operation to alternate days with time outs during peak hours to limit traffic congestion and air pollution), but the leading company in Bogota has only 30,000 users and is offering only reminders and alarms. Mi Pico y Placa has already overtaken the other 3 solutions will be launching new capabilities for ride sharing, to do recommendations and cooperative buying as quickly possible to provide greater value to customers than the existing solution. The young MyRoute founders continue their work with contacts at the MIO in Cali, operator contacts and handset manufacturer contacts at Samsung and Motorola, advised by MIT Sloan Fellow Carlos Sierra. Quick Order will be working on a pilot to reduce the lines at one of the restaurants at Universidad ICESI and with a corporate partner in a local plazoleta.
Many of the teams are looking ahead to upcoming business plan competitions including LATAM Start-Up, the PulsoSocial Conference and the next round of competition to enter the Wayra Incubator.
Universidad ICESI and the local community are committed to supporting these students and future technology entrepreneurs. We have events scheduled for the next three months, ranging from two hack-a-thons at which engineering, programming and business students can come hack along with the MIT AITI entrepreneurs to speed up technology and business development for the teams, to a condensed business plan seminar with ICESI Professor of Entrepreneurship Andres Otero and a weekend Start-Up Lab at which the MIT AITI Colombia entrepreneurs will serve as the instructors, mentors and advisors to help more young entrenpreneurs in the region come together, form new teams and get to work on solving the customer needs they see.
As I said, this is just the beginning!