On-demand car wash service airSponge was named the winner of the first Startup Weekend Brisbane Women hackathon held at River City Labs last weekend.
Created by business partners Areej Alsheikh and Amin Bazzaz, airSponge works like most other on-demand services: a user can either request someone to come wash their car, or make a quick buck by finding someone nearby who needs their car washed. The startup has already signed up 25 washers, seven people who need a car washed, and has washed one car.
Alsheikh said the event was “one of the most enriching experiences” for the pair, who intend to take airSponge further.
“It was a bit intimidating at first not knowing what to expect, however as soon as we dove into the project, the adrenaline started pumping and we were able to complete one milestone after the other. The weekend was so much fun, incredibly useful, and very well organised,” she said.
Other startups pitched at the event include Brilliant STEM Speakers, which aims to help organisers for STEM-related events find female speakers, and Care 4 My Car, an app giving young drivers car advice and how tos.
The hackathon aimed to empower, foster, and mentor women-led startups in a collaborative, safe environment and inspire them to take risks and develop innovative thinking, and helpbuild a bridge for women who might not ordinarily feel comfortable taking part in a startup event.
Peta Ellis, general manager of River City Labs, said she saw a “promising turn out” at the event.
“It was so great to see these ladies in an environment where they felt comfortable enough to just go for it – the airSponge team is certainly testament to that,” she said.
“On a personal level, it was incredibly reassuring to see how much support the wider startup community threw behind the organisation and running of the event. My hat goes off to all those who came down to be part of it and assist in getting these startup teams’ ideas off the ground.”
The organisers hope that with the experience of the event now in hand, more women will feel confident in taking part in other general startup events.
airSponge won a $4000 business package from accounting firm Hanrick Curran, which Alsheikh said she and her cofounder will redeem to get help with a business structure for the startup. They are also looking into joining an accelerator program.