Living Nest wins Brunei’s first Startup Weekend

Living Nest will build a website where the public can submit, vote and earn commission on furniture designs that will be manufactured

Living Nest are looking to build a website where the public can submit, vote and earn commission on furniture designs that will be manufactured, after emerging as the winning team at the first ever Startup Weekend Brunei (SWB) last weekend at Progresif’s HQ in Gadong.

The top three teams from Brunei’s Startup Weekend – part of a worldwide three-day program held simultaneously to birth new, innovative ideas –  will receive mentorship from consultants Startup Hub and  receive an invitation to enter the Brunei Info-Communication Technology Awards (BICTA) this year with a chance to win up to $7000 cash prize.

Living Nest, who comprise of eight local youths, received five return tickets to Kuala Lumpur and full access passes to the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards, the ASEAN-counterpart of a global competition giving recognition to the best talents in the startup industry. The runner-up team was presented with a one-month tech mentorship with Microsoft Brunei.

Living Nest’s leader, an electrical engineering student at UTB, shared that their website – currently a basic prototype – will house creations by designers, with the public voting on their designs – the top being manufactured and sold.

“The idea came to me when I went to an expo in Giant Rimba where former convicts were selling their woodwork products as a means of living,” said Mira Shamsuddin, who captivated the SWB crowd with her initial pitch, with seven participants joining her team straight after.“The original idea was actually to build a website where customers can customize their furniture of choice down to the patterns, colours and materials. I wanted to find a way to help expose their honest work (and the work of other designers) to expand their market.”

Their website will have a monthly theme where designers can submit their product designs based on the theme. Once a winning design is chosen and manufactured, designers will receive commission and a subscription-based payment plan. After submitting their BICTA submission due at the end of the month, the team is planning on developing their website and executing market validation involving the furniture industry.

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The runner-up of SWB, Do Good (pictured above), pitched the idea of an app that encourages the public to start and tracking “doing good deeds” for the community, while also supporting their favourite charities. Nakhoda came in third, proposing an platform that targets the tourists by offering an online site or application that curates fun and interesting local businesses, accommodation, events and transportation services.

During the three day event, six teams were formed, with participants generally grouped into categories of the designer – those who have the skills to draw or design products, the developer – IT-savvy individuals with the ability to create prototypes and the hustler – those who excel in non-technical skills such as marketing, research and development.

SWB brought in private sector experts to offer mentorship and guidance throughout the three days, before teams presented their business ideas in a three-minute pitch to a panel of judges comprising of Radi El-Fassed, Head of Product Development at Progresif Cellular, Rahimah Yusof from Google Developers Group and Hamdi Matussin from Mixmediaworx.

“The ideas were refreshing and unexpected,” said Hamdi, the judge responsible for checking the design concepts of the prototypes. “I thought they were very promising for the economy.”

For more information regarding Startup Weekend Brunei, visit their Instagram @startupweekendbrunei.

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