The winners of 2015's Startup Weekend was a group started by Sherrie & Paul Norton. They came in with a unique problem targeting a very specific market. Below is our interview with the founder of SlipShare, Paul Norton.
What is SlipShare?
We are lifelong boaters and know what a problem it can be to find a slip when you need it most. Some of the factors that affect boaters are the weather, mechanical breakdowns or any other unforeseen circumstances. SlipShare is designed to remove the anxiety and give you peace of mind that a slip or mooring is waiting for you when you need it most.
Where did you come up with the idea?
Sherrie and I had been kicking around an idea for an app that would allow boaters to book slips much like on Open Table. Kind of like how you would book accommodations on travel sites. We had formulated our idea prior to the weekend but really had no idea where to go with it or how to get started. With nothing to lose we registered for Startup Weekend Stamford and made the commitment that if our idea was picked, great! And if it was not we would join another team to learn what we could.
How did you pitch the idea at the event?
To best describe the problem we decided to put together a little skit where we would show the problem and solution. We knew that this would be the best way to clearly articulate our idea. People must have understood it because by the end of the night we had the most talented and dedicated team. If we tried to recruit this team on our own, it would have taken years.
How was your Startup Weekend Experience?
It was simply amazing; our teammates found a fit for their skills and got to work, not a lot of discussion or debate, just got on with it. We also had coaches and mentors guiding us along the way. The guidance we received over the of the weekend advanced our idea from something we just talked about to a plan we could move forward with. It was amazing. We hardly slept it was so exciting. We knew there had been something special about the weekend and when we gave our final presentation we felt good about our prospects. But hearing our name announced as the winners at the end of the event was a thrill for the whole team. We were Triumphant!
What have you done since the weekend?
It's been a year of market research and planning. We interviewed several firms to do the coding and selected one in the fall. We are in the midst of starting to sign up marinas for a late spring launch to boaters. There is a lot to do with little time.
We never would have gotten here without the Startup Weekend Stamford and the amazing group of people who joined our team. Add the coaches, mentors, judges and other volunteers and we realize and appreciate that there were hundreds, if not thousands of volunteer hours behind our success.
Do you have any advice for this year's participants?
We would encourage anyone with an idea or interest in learning how to move forward with an idea to take part in the weekend. It is an opportunity that you don't find often. The people are wonderful and genuinely want you to succeed. We hope to see you there!
Thank You Paul & Sherrie. We are glad you had a great weekend.
Join us for Startup Weekend Stamford and start your own adventure!
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