Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What is a ProtoHack? My first code-free hackathon (Part 2)

If you've read my previous post about my first ProtoHack, then you know that we were working on solving the problem of the lack of garden space/community garden spots in our GreenCity themed ProtoHack.  After a brainstorming session and some discussion, we decided that the solution to our problem would be an AirBNB for garden space.

To be honest, I'm don't quite remember how we landed on this idea, the whole day had become a blur! All I remember was that we had discussed about our interest in urban farming and that led to my experience in community gardens. Looking back, I think this idea was a success because it is a real issue in our lives and it only takes a (somewhat) simple solution to fix it.

During our hacking we were offered mentor sessions which I thought was a great way for us to get feedback on our idea. Types of mentors available included people in Industry, Design and Pitch. These short 15 mins sessions were great to keep us laser focused on things we needed to work on in the short amount of time we had.  Once we got the feedback that we needed, we spent the remainder of the time building our prototype, which was the mock website (we did this using Wix - and easy drag and drop website builder) and attempt to perfect our 90 sec pitch.  We worked our way through dinner, (which was provided by Chipotle - Protohack really did pamper and fully nourish us the whole day- Thank you!) revised our pitch multiple times and came up with our name - Gardenhood.  Believe it or not, it took us a while to settle on a name we liked.  We wanted one that matched our concept and give an idea of what our concept was about - I mean first impression is every in 90 sec. right?  Our tagline? "Find your garden at your Neighbours'".

Our concept was simple - People in the city are now mostly living in condos, which lacked garden space for them to grow crops or flowers.  Community gardens are available, but from my experience, they aren't very many around, and if there is, there's probably a wait-list to get in.  We tried to solve this by providing a service - the AirBNB of gardens - by allowing detached home owners to rent out their front/back lawns to condo dwellers in the area that are interested in gardening.

Like AirBNB, our web service allow hosts (people renting out their lawns) to set how much land they want to rent out, their price for their property and preference of gardens they'd prefer.  In addition to property listings, we also want to create a community for gardeners and hosts with profiles of individuals.  This not only allow participants to connect through their gardening interest, but also for hosts to decide if they want to rent out their lawn to a gardener based on their experience level.

Our business model is identical to AirBNB, we take a commission of each rental transaction.  We've also decided to add a Shop area to our revenue structure to supplement our commission structure.  By partnering with local garden suppliers, the shop acts as an ad platform for us as well as a platform for affiliate sales.

We thought our concept fits in the GreenCity theme because it also aligns with City of Vancouver's Greenest City by 2020 goals! This concepts helps with accomplishing goals like the Green Economy, Zero Waste, Access to Nature and Local Food targets.

Before we knew it, it was time to present to the judges!  We had 90 seconds to get our concept across with a prototype of our platform.  During this time we were judged on our Concept, Business Model, Design and Presentation.  This part was actually my favourite, not because we got to present, but because I got to see what other teams have been working on!  At this point, I was just amazed at how many innovative ideas were floating around in the room and how amazing these events are for bringing creative people together.

So, what did the judges think of our concept? I'll be posting that in my next blog post!

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