The night before I published this story, I attended the MBYS Platform Launch Party at Bushwick Generator, home of the Bushwick Blockchain Alliance. There, I ran into Shannon Nagaoka -- It was our second unplanned meeting since our shared StartupBus adventure. Our first unplanned meeting took place at the the Williamsburg Hotel during Party On The Block to kickoff Blockchain Week 2018 with Byzantine, Futurism, Startup Grind, Dispatch Labs, Futurism, Blockchain for Good, 25 Kent and the Bushwick Generator.
I love running into StartupBus alumni!
Asked about her experience months later, she recalls, "As you can imagine, hacking on a stuffy bus with a group of strangers to launch an actual startup in only three days provided abundant roadblocks. From spotty WiFi, motion sickness to temperamental hackers, challenging team dynamics and the general expected stress of a hackathon (i.e. competitive pressure to launch a product in 72 hours), it was the ultimate test on our abilities to collaborate, keep calm and execute!
But despite how difficult the trip got — program miscommunication, hidden agenda, travel logistics falling through — I still value the experience as I got to learn a lot about myself and my limitations. Working with women I’ve never met, I quickly learned the different communication and work styles of our team and adjusted. With an experienced entrepreneur to handle business development, domain expert to refine our pitch, and a UX designer and developer to build, I adapted and took on the role of project/product managing to ensure our product-market fit while pitching in on marketing and development. My main objective was to prioritize our team’s limited resources to build a realistic prototype within 72 hours that satisfied the competition’s requirements yet still solved our target customer’s main problem.
In the end, our team PetFolio got through rounds of pitch competitions, technical review, and placed second in the competition! We were able to get some traction of aligning a few B2B partnerships, approximately 400 email signups and a working prototype despite how difficult it was to code. (We only learned blockchain development that week!) It was a validating experience to see what we were able to accomplish personally and technically, and I am very proud of our efforts.
This was truly a unique experience — no other hackathon like it! You'd be surprised at what a bus of determined women can accomplish in just 72 hours."