SURREY â€” When he first set out to take part in a weekend event to create a startup company in 54 hours, Surrey’s Denny Hollick never thought he and his team would actually end up taking first place.
But after accomplishing that and more, they’re now coming off of spending a week exhibiting at the world’s largest technology trade show. Suddenly, the possibilities have gotten that much bigger.
Their idea? A crowdsourced 3D printing service that allows artists and studios to offer tangible models of their designs to consumers. The name is ConceptKicker and it came as a result of a Google-sponsored event last fall called Startup Weekend Vancouver. That event propelled them to an international startup challenge that they also won, leading to their debut at the world’s biggest tech stage, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
"Startup weekend was kind of a fun thing that we all got together for as complete strangers and we didn’t really have that much in terms of expectations coming out of it," recalled Hollick. "So to end up at CES just because of what we did at Startup Weekend, that’s definitely not something you’d expect."
During the week-long event, Hollick said the ConceptKicker team made numerous industry connections and learned a lot from mingling with others in the tech sector.
"We had some pretty big interest, a lot of people thought it was unique, others were interested in how they could use it in their own ways because it’s such a niche idea and a lot of people are trying to figure out how to incorporate it into their own brands," he said. "We had a VP of some large corporation come by, he was with the company that does Oreos and Animal Crackers and he was trying to figure out how he could incorporate what we’re doing with stuff like brand promotion or whatnot. Maybe a character for Animal Crackers or something."
Hollick, son of Now publisher Gary Hollick, said the team also got to meet the U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.
"It was pretty amazing… she’s a former VP of Google and she wanted to sit down with us and a few other people and chat about our idea."
As for the next step, the company did a soft launch in December and is hoping to ramp things up and hammer out any kinks they might have in the process.
"So the next big thing for us is going to be focusing on the business, getting some sales and successful campaigns out the door to be ready to grow the business and ready for investment," he said.
"We’re looking at doing that with some well-known artists and we’ve got some good interest with gaming studios."
But that doesn’t mean the ride stops there. Hollick noted the ConceptKicker team also has other networking and conference trips planned for Italy, New York and San Francisco, all of which were prizes from winning the Global Startup Battle in December.