How FishBit won big at Chicago Startup Weekend

by Nenad Tadic
February 10, 2014

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No talk, all action, launch a startup in 54 hours.

That was the premise behind Chicago Startup Weekend, a premier startup event where developers, marketers and startup enthusiasts had just 54 hours to launch a full fledged startup from their simple pitches.

With a background in the aquarium industry--having owned a fish tank in high school--Nathan Levine, a mobile dev by trade, entered the competition with a problem: monitoring a fishtank’s pH level, ammonia and temperature was too difficult when not near it. The solution? FishBit.

Levine came up with the idea behind FishBit just last week. He even entered the competition late. “After googling the idea for about 30 minutes and being completely shocked at how limited the market was, I decided to do it.”

His team won first place last night.

FishBit notifies fishtank owners in real time if their tank needs attention. During Startup Weekend, the team was able to produce a prototype, a mobile app and a video detailing the problem and solution here.

Team-building went very well and was an important component in the team’s success, Levine said. “All of us were qualified in getting our parts done. The only thing that could have made it better would have been for a designer to jump on board,” he said.

During Startup Weekend, teams spent all day Saturday to Sunday afternoon launching their product. Teams had five minutes during their presentations on Sunday. There were some things that could’ve gone more smoothly (technical error during the presentation), but overall Levine said the team was able to thoroughly answer questions and provide the judges with detailed information about their idea.

He has some advice for budding entrepreneurs participating in the next Startup Weekend Chicago: “Come in with some kind of differentiation and really focus on a certain market without generalizing too much. Besides that, focus on the presentation and give answers that truly answer what the judges want to know.”

As for what’s next for the team, they’ll continue working on FishBit, but Levine won’t quit his day job at Earshot.

To enter or learn more about upcoming Startup Weekend events throughout the country, click here.


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