A group of Information Technology students from Ateneo de Davao University bagged the top spot in the recently concluded Startup Weekend Davao, a 54-hour pitching competition sponsored by Kickstart Ventures Inc. and Globe Telecom where developers, designers, marketers, and product managers come together to share ideas, form teams, and build products using mobile and web platforms.
Alexandra Victoria Eneco, Marcel Tunichii Villaruz, Mary Mynell Mariano and Jasper Adlaon bested 50 other participants with their novel idea called “Keep Up”, an application primarily designed for event organizers and people who are interested in joining various activities whether it is a party, a seminar, a game, a jamming session, a workshop or any get together one can think of.
Using the popular concept of social media, Keep Up intends to become the primary source of information about events in the country. Event organizers can use it to create events, advertise their activities and attract participants. On the other hand, interested parties who are members of Keep Up can view what is happening around them and signify their interest to join by just a click of a button.
The application also allows users to see what their friends are doing—the events they have been to and the ones they want to attend. There is also a portion where participants can voice out their opinions and talk about the event.
“We are fond of social media. We make use of it a lot. For us, it is something that we can integrate, and it is something that we can actually work on. There are people who will be interested because the Philippines is all about the hype about what’s going on, what’s happening right now so it’s safe to say that there’s a market for it and we’re ready,” said Eneco.
Before conquering the national scene, Keep Up wants to make its mark in its hometown, Davao City. “People don’t really know the skills and capabilities that are available here in Davao. We want to put ourselves on the map. When you talk about technology and latest events, it’s always in Manila and Cebu. Davao is not only about Durian, we also have a lot to offer,” she added.
Ironically, Keep Up was a last minute decision of the group.
Villaruz’ idea centered around a portable dictionary with automatic translator, Eneco wanted an app to block unwanted text messages, while Adlaon was interested in a virtual fitting room. The name Keep Up was taken from “Keepop” which took off from Mariano’s proposal of bringing together people interested in the Korean pop scene.
“After Keepop, the group talked about festivals but I felt it was still limited so I presented to them a proposal about an application that will cater to all events under the sun and that is when Keep Up was born,” said Adlaon.
The students joined Startup Weekend Davao as part of their Technopreneurship class and had never imagined emerging as winners. Pia Angeli Bernal, Social Enterprise Investments Manager of Kickstart said: “It is exciting to see students showing interest in technopreneurship at such a young age and even winning competitions like Startup Weekend. We look forward to more students who would form startup companies and use current technology to come out with new and innovative products for mobile and the web. Kickstart would be more than willing to harness the capabilities of these students and guide them into becoming future technopreneurs.”
Kickstart is a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom which helps tech startups in the Philippines build robust businesses and technical foundations that will allow them to become bigger and better. “We do this by putting big company resources such as capital, facilities, expertise, and business connections behind the startups that we fund so they can launch faster and achieve scale profitability sooner,” Pia added.