This past weekend we’ve seen Startup Weekend Education ASEAN kicking off for the first time ever! After a successful installment of the local version (Startup Weekend Education Bangkok) earlier this year, now the event focused and opened doors to ASEAN members. #SWEDUASEAN called, and motivated programmers, educators, marketers and designers followed that call.
Startup Weekend Education ASEAN saw participants from more than 20 countries and saw almost every ASEAN country represented amongst the participants. Some of them left their home countries for the first time ever just to join SWEDUASEAN and to make a change in education technology. One of the members from Vietnam even went on a plane for the first time in her life just to be in Bangkok for this event. That is dedication!
Besides that #SWEDUASEAN also had participants from Thailand who have never been to Bangkok before. Participants from the very South, North and Northeast found their way to the capital to join forces and develop solutions to current educational problems.
Besides coming from different nations and provinces participants also came from different age groups. Some of the participants were motivated retirees while others just graduated or even still studied in High School. One team even was lead by one of the retiree participants while another one was based on the pitch of a High School student. Both of those teams went on to do quite well and even received some praise later on during and after the pitches were over.
During the 54 hours of the startup weekend education mentors from all walks of life were present to help teams optimizing their potential and making the best of it. Mentors explained the business model canvas to educators, helped with design ideas and gave educational feedback to developers and marketers. Even if a team didn’t win, members surely learned a lot during the whole experience.
In the end teams had to present their final pitches in front of judges who were well experienced in all fields related to Education Technology & Startups and represented investors, incubators, governmental offices, startups and media.
What is always interesting to see during Startup Weekends is the diversity of ideas that participants are presenting and trying to focus on. Even during a quite narrowed down topic such as education the applications have been quite diverse.
First there was a tutor matching service that aims on matching tutors with students while also securing the attendance of students by notifying parents of their attendance. Then there was a service that aimed on gamifying exams in order to get rid of exam anxiety and make learning more fun. We saw service that tried to match students with coffee or learning spaces that are open to learning focused groups in order to give students better and more learning spaces. There was the idea of creating an internship matching application in order to help students finding internships easier and the idea of ‘dealing’ lecture notes via smartphone application. Moreover another team had the idea to save freely available online content in a curated manner.
As one can see the diversity of ideas was huge and hence it was not easy for the judges to find a winner. After quite some discussion the top 3 had been identified though.
Crowd Favorite: Lecture Dealer
An application aiming on enabling ‘good’ students to sell their lecture notes to ‘lazy’ and ‘rich’ students. A very Thai approach and obviously ethically questionable but the idea entertained the crowd and the pitch delivery was very entertaining and hence earned enthusiastic cheers from the Bangkok crowd and fellow participants.
2nd runner up: Go Score
Go Score aimed on taking the anxiety out of exams by offering gamified tests and exams. The presentation was quite impressive and the team seemed to be really into it and will quite likely follow up on what they achieved during the weekend.
Runner up: Gao
Gao showed that you don’t need to be too fancy when tackling educational issues. A common issue for teachers is that you find lots of material online but have to organize it in your bookmarks or share it on your social media sites but you usually don’t have it readily available for right away use. Gao tries to change that by introducing a service that lets you easily save you great content and have it curated.
The winning team, Tudex, won the competition by sprinting away from the front. Pitching as the first team is not always an advantage but Tudex delivered a well planned and executed pitch, showed some reasonable numbers and a service that judges deemed viable. Tudex aims to create a tutor – student matching platform that considers location based information while also focusing on security by getting parents on board and notifying them about their children’s attendance.
The three winners now have the chance to enter the Global Startup Battle. Best of luck to all of them and let’s hope our ASEAN winners will also rock the global stage! Congratulations again!