Miguel A Hidalgo, Miami Account Planning Graduate
I had to click ‘read more’ when I saw a Facebook post with a picture of a shirt stating “I created a company in 54 hrs. What did you do last weekend?” Right then I learned Startup Weekend was being organized in Miami for the first time. I was not going to miss it. I had read about the success stories from Startup Weekend… I wanted to experience the same rollercoaster. After all, I went to Miami Ad School. I breathe challenges. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I am thrilled to be part of the winning team that created Breakin’ Bread.
Startup Weekend (SW), hosted in different cities all around the world, has teams work on an idea that addresses a need or a market. The end goal is to establish a potentially successful business within 54 hours, cumulating in a four minute pitch to a panel of judges.
So, there I was Friday night. I kept asking myself which roll I should take on my team. I graduated as an account planner from Miami Ad School, yet my design background could be valuable in a situation like this. To our advantage, I was not the only design savvy person on http://www.miamiadschool.com/advertising-programs/account-planningboard. So, I decided to play a more strategic/business driven roll.
We definitely had a well-rounded team. Breakin’ Bread’s members were: Adriana Castro, Monica Delgado, Daniela Hernandez, Juan Murillo, Francisco Tamayo and myself. Everyone brought skills and talent which benefited the project and contributed to our win.
The SW method to create teams involves a short 60 second pitch from each of the people who has an idea. The other participants then join them to execute it during the weekend. Adriana Castro pitched an ARBNB-like platform which paired chefs and people for a unique dinning experience. I pitched an instant camera to print selfies with your business card info. Adriana’s idea caught my interest so I left mine behind to join their diverse group.
Chemistry is extremely important when you are exposed day and night to the same five individuals. Disagreements did arise and it got frustrating for many of us, but in the end compromises were made by everyone. The purpose of this exercise was not to be right, but to present a potentially profitable business.
At first it was difficult to distinguish our app from other existing platforms, but we landed on a key insight after careful revisions and help from different mentors from SW Miami: Many of us gather to eat as an excuse to share with each other, but we may end up eating by ourselves when we can’t have a meal with someone we know.We expanded Adriana’s original idea and conceived Breakin’ Bread as a social platform that allows people to have unique communal dinning experiences wherever they are.
When you realize you could win SW and be a part of something that has the potential to be real, you ask yourself, ‘Are we doing everything right?’ If you are ever in this position, don’t panic! Keep cool, be diligent, work as hard as possible towards a minimum viable product (MVP) and validate your idea. It worked for us.
By the time we presented, our team chemistry was visible, we had a great pitch, a mockup of our app, a business model and over 75 people that had already signed up on a landing page we released hours before we presented. The judges related to our pitch and gave us first place with a very juicy prize.
It was an unparalleled ride. I would recommend it to anyone with an entrepreneurial soul, especially Miami Ad School students or grads.
Four of us are still working to bring Breakin’ Bread to everyone later this summer. I hope you download it, eat with new people and start something great!