Tell us more about your startup
Easy2map is a map making tool which enables users to create their own fully customised Google Map for their website or blog, without the need for code or development. Applications of such a service include Franchise Store Locators, Property Brokers’ vacancy listings and even Band Tour Dates and Times, where fans are able to upload concert pics to the pins locations. [checkout http://deucela.com/]
What drew you to Startup Weekend?
I had just launched my first physical business (a clothing company) and wasn’t feeling too confident about its success within the ailing textile industry in Cape Town. I knew I really enjoyed the energy and passion of entrepreneurs, and I felt I could both contribute and learn from joining a group project at Startup Weekend.
Most importantly, I also knew that I wanted a learning catalysis into the online business world. I was sure I would find it at Startup Weekend, as I’d heard that “tech guys and devs” would be attending.
What was your take of the Startup Weekend experience?
What Startup weekend had to offer is exactly what I am interested in: sharing ideas, creative thinking, collaboration, making something happen, and maybe even some reward at the end. What really amazed me was the amount of pro-activity and like-mindedness of the attendees, and well as everyone’s open-learning attitude and their willingness to share and teach others around them.
How did your idea evolve over the Weekend?
We had a very tricky task ahead, and we all knew it. The possibilities with Geomapping are endless, and our biggest task would be to define our exact target market.
Initially, we wanted to create a platform to map out “where all the Entrepreneurs in Cape Town are” with the aim of connecting entrepreneurs together.
Then we shifted direction into trying to “create an improved Yellow Pages, but for entrepreneurs, for Venture Capitalists to find and connect with entrepreneurs”
And then, even once we had settled on that target market, we decided to shift direction again, to offer a great improvement on franchise store’s locator maps, which were typically a list or table of data one needed to sift through to find their closest store. Instead we saw a gap where we could replace this list or table with a Google Map, greatly reducing the time and stress needed for site visitors to find their stores, and that’s what we went for in the end.
What was the most challenging aspect of Startup Weekend?
For easy2map, as a group, our biggest challenge was defining our product or service, which really took some time, and put some added pressure on us.
But the other major stressor was the final presentation, showcasing what we had achieved over the weekend to the judges, for which we worked really hard to be ready.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone considering attending SW?
Go in with an open mind: you are going to learn things this weekend, and you will be challenging yourself and your own thinking. Also – don’t be afraid to express your interests.
It has been jutst over a year since Startup Weekend. Tell us about your journey to where you are now.
We’ve had an interesting and rocky journey since Startup Weekend, but it’s been really fun.
Our first task was to see who “wanted-in” on the idea after the weekend, and as such, we were left with one developer, an entrepreneur, and a part-time finance guy…not ideal for a tech startup with no funding and global aspirations.
But through numerous meetings and discussions, we managed to work toward a goalset to launch our idea and take easy2map.com live. Now, just after its beta-testing phase, we have a steadily increasing usership, some paid subscribers, and we are working toward market-specific applications of the mapping tool.
I’d just like to thank the organisers of Startup Weekend Cape Town 2011 for bringing this great concept to Cape Town, without which we would have no easy2map.com today.