Camping in Detroit

Camp started as an experiment.

When 300+ developers applied for free flights to ‘a secret location’ (Detroit), it became real.

To evaluate which projects to accept, we enlisted Camp Counselors to help determine the final 5 teams of Campers.

After a month of pre-Camp group office hours, Camp kicked off last weekend in Detroit.

We stayed together at a loft building, ate meals family style, and hacked at Bizdom. One Camper compared it to a nerdy Real World:

This is the true story… of eight strangers… picked to live in a house…write code together and have their demos taped…

Here’s what happened…

Ian Webster, Judy Mou and Brittany Wald built Chatalyst.

Like most of us, they hate wasting time in meetings.

Chatalyst is a videoconferencing tool to conduct the perfect remote meeting (try it, it’s shockingly fun).

Patrick Stapleton built PricePage.io.

PricePage boosts SaaS conversions for dev tools by helping buyers decide: should we build it or buy it?

Patrick wants to see fewer startups fail from spending time building non-core software.

“Startups die because developers have ego. They love challenges, but this leads to traits like wanting to build everything. This is dangerous, and something PricePage helps solve.”

Alex Deschamps built Roadmap.space.

Roadmap auto-generates visual public roadmaps by syncing with either Trello or Github Issues.

If you’re feeling meta, check out the roadmap for Roadmap! We look forward to publishing transparent roadmaps for everything we work on.

Mike O’Shea built Simple Security.

Mike was tired of rolling his own security alerts for each app he worked on, so he built bank-style security notifications as a service.

Simple Security allows any developer to send suspicious access alerts to users, without writing any code.

Brian Mosko and Nick DiPalma built UpSensors.

Brian runs the Bacon Boys food truck in Las Vegas, and had to throw away $400 in bacon when his fridge’s compressor gave out overnight.

All this food, gone.

UpSensors remotely monitors temperature 24/7, to prevent food loss and replace manual temperature checks in foodservice.

Camp was…awesome

We were blown away by Campers’ creativity and talent, and we think you will be too.

For detailed updates on their progress, give us a shout here.

What we learned

(alt: making Camp II more awesome)

Let the pedestrians define the walkways.

We intentionally imposed as little structure as possible at Camp.

Our goal was to give Campers enough space and support to do great work, and learn from the processes that worked well or didn’t.

While this produced some anxiety from having no idea what would happen, the teams were so great that very little structure was necessary.

Learning and growth come from leaving your comfort zone.

Except for one team member, nobody at Camp had ever been to Detroit.

Being outside of our day-to-day cities, jobs and lives fostered creativity that’d be difficult to recreate elsewhere.

Don’t fly Spirit Airlines.

Spirit cancelled our team’s flight home and couldn’t re-book us for 4 days.

So we rented a car and drove back home to NYC — we recommend Sakura Buffet in Clarion, PA if anyone makes the drive.

See you soon Detroit

We miss you already — but we’ll be back this October for Camp II!

Applications are open now, and if you’re looking to get a passion project off the ground, we’d love to meet you.

A huge thank you to the folks at Bizdom for generously hosting us for Camp, FoodJunky for keeping us all fed and happy, and Detroit Venture Partners and Quicken Loans for supporting Demo Day.

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