Here’s a quick Q&A with this year’s Startup Weekend winners – Ajerni:
Q: How would you describe your experience with StartupWeekend?
It was insightful, creative, hectic, challenging but best of all it was fun. The thought of making a company in 54 hours has always baffled me, I thought it was impossible. Startup Weekend proved that not only can you make a company in 54 hours but also befriend great people that will help you in the long run.
Q: When did you realize that the app was viable commercially?
I’ve always thought the app would have a good revenue stream but I wasn’t sure how. As a team we constantly discussed what were the best options to monetize, at first we agreed on having a fixed rate for every transaction, then we got feedback that the chalet owners will feel we’re taking part of their share so we settled with a fixed price instead of a fixed rate.
Q: What are the challenges that you faced while building the app?
There were many challenges when it came to developing the prototype, specially since we wanted to stand out so we decided to make a functional prototype with a payment gateway. Since our application was using a combination of Android app development and web interface development we had to find the most efficient way of connecting them together to get a seamless experience for the user. The other main challenge was adapting a responsive layout to work with all android devices.
Q: What was your experience forming the team and working together? How are decisions made within the team?
Fortunately our team had two great developers. One of them was really good with app development, while the other has developed great web pages. So the prototype ended being a combination of the two. I was the graphic designer and was responsible for putting up the presentation together and pitching. We also had a business entrepreneur who helped alot with customer & feature validation. The mentors did a great job with helping us finance the business. Each of us had his own tasks, and when someone had an idea we would discuss it together and see whether it was worth adapting to the prototype. One of the issues we faced was there were so many ideas it was hard to stay focus on the core features, we had to drop some implementations for the sake of time and simplicity.
Q: How do you see the startup evolving in terms of product roadmap and regional reach?
We are in the process of meeting up with different lawyers to see where we can go with this and how far we can reach in Kuwait. We are planning to expand to GCC region once the app in Kuwait hits breakeven profitability. There are a lot of upcoming challenges when developing the full app such as syncing the database to the server and handling multiple reservations at the same time. We called the app “Ajerni” so that it wouldn’t be limited to private chalets but rather to everything that can be rented.