One of the most exciting things for a Startup Weekend organizer is to watch a team of entrepreneurs iterate. I had the pleasure of observing this beautiful dance through Eli Rubel and his company, Tell it in 10. What makes this particular story so special is that it started a week before the October 2011 weekend, at bootcamp. Eli came in eager to learn and willing to do whatever it took to take his concept to the next level. Never before have I seen someone so motivated, so excited, and so willing to learn. Eli went on to pitch his concept at Startup Weekend, build a team, and create an innovative product…all before Sunday night. Now he is taking this dream to the next level.
I had a chance to catch up with Eli and hear about how things are going for Tell it in 10. Below is the unedited transcript of our conversation:
Jeff: Tell us about your Startup Weekend company. What is the name and what does it do?
Eli: Tell it in 10 is a web platform that lets users curate meaningful stories in batches of ten, from images aggregated across all of their social networks. Our aim is to create a community of de-cluttered visual storytelling.
J: How has your product changed since Startup Weekend?
E: Thats a difficult question to answer- because really, everything has changed. Though the initial pitch I made at Startup Weekend was based around the same vision, the way in which we have chosen to focus our value proposition has changed significantly. Rather than building a product to suite the immediate needs of the marketplace, we have chosen to focus on driving new social behavior, in anticipation for a shifting point in the social space that we believe is quickly approaching.
J: What milestones and successes have you had since the weekend?
E: Since Startup Weekend, we’ve been in a constant state of “go.” We moved into our office space and were incorporated before the end of the week that followed. Within 30 days had built out the first version of our platform and just last week we sent out our first wave of invitations to the alpha platform; which we couldn’t be more excited to share with everyone.
J: What has been the biggest challenge since Startup Weekend?
E: The biggest challenge we have faced thus far was deciding whether to bootstrap and build at a pace that was feasible for our team size, or go for funding, bring on several new team members and try to push the envelope in terms of both development time and community growth rate. We ultimately went with the latter.
J: What does the future have in store for you and your company?
E: There are lots of exciting opportunities on the horizon for Tell it in 10. We’ve had site visitors and invite requests from over 22 countries and are working hard to be ready for an open beta as soon as feasibly possible.
J: If you could rewind and do Startup Weekend over again, is there anything you would do differently?
E: We had a blast at Startup Weekend! If I had a rewind button, I would probably have spent less time revising brand nuances and a bit more time on our deck content. It’s amazing how a few simple aesthetic changes and some content cutting can improve your pitch. I also would have tried to take a few minutes to set up clearer post-weekend expectations with the entire team, as many of the teams that form during Startup Weekend are far too large to be a sustainable business.
J: What was the best part about Startup Weekend for you and your company?
E: I would say the momentum and support we attained over the course of the weekend would have been nearly impossible, or could have taken months, if we tried to create it organically. On a personal level, I was fortunate enough to be able to work with a group of extremely talented people from diverse backgrounds in business, technology and advertising – the experience in and of itself was invaluable.
J: How can the Startup Weekend community support you going forward?
E: At this point in the game, simply spreading the word- telling your friends to sign up for an invite via Twitter, Facebook or word of mouth, would be extremely helpful as we begin to build up our brand identity. Though many of you already signed up for invites, we would love to see everyone in the community engaged with our platform- anyone who isn’t on the invite list can submit their email through our web site homepage and we will do our best to get them codes as soon as possible.