Eye of the Tigers

No, I’m not talking about the Rocky theme song here – I’m actually referring to the mascot at Princeton University, but now that you already have it playing in your head…

At TokBox we’ve travelled to dozens of Startup Weekend events but there was definitely a different type of hunger at Princeton Startup Weekend. Not many of these events get the chance to be hosted on a prominent university’s campus, with the leagues of inspired and creative students anxiously awaiting their opportunity to make a dent on the universe. It made the weekend exciting and fruitful for some of the future entrepreneurs that we met. I’d like to highlight some of my favorites here.

  • BroDate – Besides a totally awesome name worthy of a like from the Brogrammers group, a team of 4 computer science students tried to solve the problem of engaging in meaningful conversations with people of like interests that you may not already know. Think of if as “StumbleUpon” for people. Voice your interests, and when your up for a little discovery you can get matched with people with similar interests for some impromptu video chat – via OpenTok ;-).
  • RoadTrip – A very real problem for college students is grabbing a ride to get off campus when theres something outside the bubble you need to get to. Few college students are blessed with the privilege of having a car, but many times they have friends just down the hall that really would have appreciated a ride to the same hometown over Thanksgiving, yet they are riding alone. RoadTrip attempts to solve that problem, giving these students a way to team up and save money.
  • BuyInPals – In a similar vein, grouping homeowners for purchases from contracts like roofing, landscaping, driveway pavement, etc. could really bring in the savings. The problem is you may not know who else in your neighborhood is interested in taking advantage of these deals when you are. Enter BuyInPals.
  • Duma – A few students with a similar experience abroad in Kenya and a few passionate teammates created a system for matching workers looking for a gig with people that were in need of labor, designed specifically for the problems and needs of individuals in Kenya. Using SMS people can communicate about opportunities and Duma will support growing their network of contacts.
  • Hungry Tigers – This was more of a hack than a full blown startup, but I really appreciated what they were trying to do. Princeton already has a listserve of emails about free food on campus, what they built was a UI to make this stream of data infinitely more useful. Now you can visualize the availability of this precious starved-college-student-coveted resource.
Mentor Signups at Princeton Startup Weekend
To be honest all the teams were excellent, the judges were insightful and experienced, and the (plethora of) mentors/sponsors gave the attendees very comprehensive support. Pairing this with the desire to build that college students and this community held empowered some real solutions and we hope will make some really successful startups.
Oh and check this sweet 360 Panorama shot while people were setting up for final demos.