ArcticStartup: Reporting From Garage48

If you had to build a completely functioning system of augmented reality with 3D Models placed upon QR codes to simulate Dungeons and Dragons (Or any other board game) complete with monsters and other visuals based on the position of the QR codes on the battlegrid, how long do you think it would take you? Well at the latest Garage48 event the BattleGrid team did just that in 48 hours, showing exactly what can be done in a short time and under immense pressure.

Garage48 is no new in the Nordic/Baltic region and runs  a number of times throughout the year. The event might even come to Helsinki later this year. ArcticStartup sponsored last week’s event and sent me to mentor, judge and cover it. Trying to stay in the spirit with the event, I took it to do the mentoring at 2 AM and slept in the Tartu University Auditorium, claiming that I will be there throughout the night if any team needs me urgently (Thankfully, they let me sleep after 2AM).

To be honest with you, when reading the short pitch descriptions on Friday, I was not impressed and thought that none of the ideas had a shot. Boy, was I wrong. Which is just another affirmation that its not about the idea but about the great team behind it.

The ideas ranged from really simple ones such as TopThree, which allowed people to select Top Three preferences of everything, to make sense of the hundreds of likes that your friends have (By perhaps adding even more likes). Or to really complex ones like BetOnIt (Their work looks loads better today than it did yesterday, which is a good sign) who built an SDK to allow game developers to integrate real money betting into any skill game with one line of code. Or E-Garantii, which is aiming to take down the Finnish Warrantify by implementing a really unique approach to warranties and receipts by integrating directly with the Government ID card system. Hence you only need to say your personal ID number to the teller at POS to get the e-warranty (No scanning, no taking pictures and no inputs).

The overall winner was tough to choose, and we had to go through three voting rounds in the jury. Perhaps a little surprisingly, even to the jury, the votes showed that the overall winner was Matemaatik. They created a system for Math teachers to have an easy access to exercises based on quality, rating, difficulty and popularity. Perhaps the win can be attributed to the fact that they already had teachers willing to pay for it out of their own pockets, organized a presentation to the 900 or so math teachers later this year, created a fully functioning product in 48 hours with little left to do, had a clear monetization plan and really grasped the concept of the Minimum Viable Product.

ArcticStartup also had a special prize to give away, which I could choose all by myself. With such pressure, I chose two and made the rest of the jury vote amongst them. The winner was Battlegrid, mentioned at the start of the post. They will be coming to Arctic15 with a demo stand to display this amazing technology. We also gave a free ticket to, who created a way to vote for songs, change channels and do many other cool stuff at your local pubs through voting on your mobile device. For some reason the audience constantly voted for Justin Bieabaer (Not sure if I spelled it right) though. Can’t wait for the next event, taking place in Riga on the 26th of October.

I hope that the rest of the teams continue to work on their projects. Here is a list of all the teams:

MATEMAATIK – Garage48 Tartu 2012 WINNER
Collection of Math problems for teachers to export and use.

AJAPAIK uses crowdsourcing to collect location metadata and contemporary rephotographs for historic photos from public collections.

E-warranties without the hassle of taking/scanning of receipts.

Augmented Reality web application to extend the experience of tabletop games (e.g Dungeons & Dragons, Battleships, Monopol ect).

Momote lets you decide what music is played at your favourite pub. (Can also be used to change TV channels)

Mashday is a platform of open calendars for users to find their most relevant events and see them in their existing calendars.

Long lists don’t work. We’re helping people to share their Top 3 preferences in a visual way.

Virtual environment for evaluation of culture. Votes of audience and experts can be crucial aspect in getting funding from local governments or entrepreneurs.

We are building a platform to help mobile game developers monitize on their product by enabling betting in mobile multiplayer games.