Techstars Global Startup Weekend
Over a period of 54 hours in late April 2020, thousands of people around the world came together to create solutions to local and national problems by joining the Techstars Global Startup Weekend COVID-19 Edition. In the thick of lockdown, the opportunity to connect and tackle problems caused by the pandemic was a welcome change.
Customer Funeral Industry
No stranger to the startup format, I had a great experience working with the Medxnote team in the 2014 Startup Weekend Dublin 2014. Initially nervous about what I could contribute, I came away from the event with more confidence, excited about the role design can play in innovation.
This time around, I wondered how bringing strangers together to collaborate as a team would work remotely. What would the atmosphere be like? Would there be the same buzz? The Techstars community and Irish Organizing team did an incredible job ensuring this startup weekend did not disappoint – the community spirit, adrenaline rush, and feeling of being part of something positive was always there.
Working with new and diverse people is one of the best things about participating in a startup or hackathon event, and I was privileged to work with three talented ladies on the Gather Round project.
People want to find ways to honor their loved ones and grieve together, and the inability to adequately express grief during the pandemic is a double-tragedy.
Gather Round is a place for communities to gather, share memories and support each other through bereavement during Covid-19 and beyond. It helps people connect and find meaningful, lasting, human touchpoints to celebrate their loved ones.
The Product Experience
54 hours is not a lot of time to come up with an idea, validate that it solves real problems for a market, identify a unique value proposition and revenue stream, and articulate a vision for how the product could work. While my team-mates focused on this, I concentrated on product vision. What would a customer journey for each market segment look like, and what touchpoints would they interact with? I started with identifying our initial segments:
Those who setup a memory page on their own behalf or on the behalf of a deceased family member or friend.
Those who are invited to share a memory or message of condolence.
Funeral directors who offer memory pages as a funeral package service.
Third parties, for example, death notice websites that integrate with Gather Round.
I prototyped a journey for our Memory Contributor segment, keeping in mind an elderly user. Validation was a central theme of the weekend, and the team focused on hypothesis and value proposition testing and feedback. I also worked on branding the product and tidying up our slide deck. We were delighted to be awarded 3rd place in the competition, especially considering the high standard on show!