Events / Startups

‘Spoiled’ app to avoid wasted food wins Lean Startup Machine Philly 2 honors

Entrepreneurship over a weekend: event attendees practiced "lean startup methodology," a set of best practices spinning out of a book published last year. Here's what ideas came from the workshop

The NightBliss team posed for a photo before their presentation.

The second local iteration of Lean Startup Machine, the buzzy paid workshop and methodology that has entrepreneurs launch a business in just a three-day period, was held at Callowhill-incubator Venturef0rth this past weekend.

First place was awarded to the team behind Spoiled, Ross Staszak‘s idea for an app that keeps the user from wasting food and buying unnecessary food that is already at home. It works by scanning the customer’s receipts.

“The main success [of the event] is that people learn right away,” said Aksel Gungor, the local coordinator for Lean Philly and cofounder of ride-sharing startup Ridaroo. He noticed that the teams started coming together on Friday night, and when they did, the learning process was sparked. All this spins out of so-called “lean startup methodology,” a set of best practices spinning out of a book published last year by tech startup vet Eric Reis. The big focus: Talk to customers sooner.

Around 30 entrepreneurs participated and created seven different product ideas, some of them more viable than others.

The team for Spoiled working in the final hour before presenting their plans for an application that fights food waste, which won top honors from judges.

“I learned how important it is to disprove your ideas and how much time I probably could have saved on other projects that I’m involved with, including my current business, applying this process,” said Staszak, who brought the idea for Spoiled and is pictured above at right.

Staszak is currently COO of deals-app CoupedOut, and came to the workshop because he had read the book, The Lean Startup, and had some ideas he wanted to test out.

Second place went to Thrst, Al Rivera and Paul Boland‘s project about a new nightlife guide to connect bars, restaurants and other venues to consumers.

Similarly, Mike Negri created the idea for NightBliss, essentially a “Match.com” to connect nightclub goers to nightlife events. While the project didn’t win a big prize – the judges jokingly awarded Negri the “Captain Obvious Award” – the team for NightBliss agreed they had learned a great deal during the process.

“Even if this venture doesn’t work, we’ll use these things,” Negri said. “It’s like a college course in a weekend, so we’ll use these things for every other venture we attempt.”

This report was done in partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods program, the capstone class for the Temple’s Department of Journalism. Additional reporting was provided by editor Christopher Wink.

Companies: Lean Startup Machine / Ridaroo

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