UBC Engineering student wins Startup Weekend Ottawa

The MyJam team after winning Startup Weekend. From left to right: Mike Mason, Christopher Baltz, Tejbir Wason, Simeon Seguin, Anna Trojanowska, Aqeela Somani, Lucas Moore and Matthew Gale.

It’s a common problem at parties and gatherings, one person hooks up their iPod playlist and the group is subjected to the latest of the pop charts when they’d much prefer classic rock.

Now, there’s an app for that.

Tejbir Wason, a UBC engineering student, won Ottawa’s Start-up Weekend on June 6-9 with an app call MyJam, which allows friends to up-vote songs they prefer to hear, creating a musical democracy at any party.

Wason, a third-year student Electrical and Computer Engineering student, got the idea from one too many nights being forced to listen to songs he didn’t like. Wishing there was a more democratic process of choosing songs, Wason built an app that allows everyone at the party to ‘like’ songs. The songs with the most votes move up on the common queued playlist.

Tejbir and his team developed MyJam at Startup Weekend in Ottawa. The goal of the 54 hour event is to launch a start-up over a weekend enabling participants to experience what working at a start-up is like. Established industry leaders from the start-up community act as mentors and help teams with their pitch, business model, value propositions and rollout strategy.

Wason says he and his team were “in it to win it,” though they were not without challenges. Wason, a software developer, had to take on the role of a designer to prepare the mock-up of the app to demonstrate for investors, which went on to win the prize for Best UI/UX Design. Another challenge was making the app profitable. The solution? Integrating in-app purchases. Hate the song currently playing?

“For $0.99 you can interrupt the currently playing song and bump your song to the top of the queue. This essentially starts a bidding war to play the song you like.”

Wason had previously volunteered at Startup Weekend events in Vancouver but was ready to get off the sideline and “get his hands dirty” with Startup Weekend Ottawa. The first day of competition, Wason pitched his idea for MyJam, winning the leading pitch and forming his team consisting of five software developers, two business developers and one graphic designer.

The only university student on the team, Wason is also the only Vancouverite.

The team plans to continue developing the app. Right after they won the competition, their twitter account began getting flooded with messages from venture capitalists in the music industry interested in the development of the app moving forward. They plan launch the app for iPhone by the end of August and launch for Android in December.

Though he was initially daunted by the idea of building a start-up in 54 hours with people he just met, he drew upon his previous Hackathon and entrepreneurship experience and his software engineering courses that taught him the technical skills needed to prototype a functional app and also how to build a strong team dynamic.

“The technical skills gained from courses at UBC helped immensely in rapid prototyping a functional app in a short period of time,” he said. “I am confident that my learnings from UBC will help me tremendously moving forward as we get this idea off the ground. We have the momentum and the perfect support group of mentors and advisors to build a competitive business. It is truly one of those apps that already should exist but doesn’t. Execution will be key and the team is more motivated than ever to launch the app by end of August.”

For more information on Ottawa Startup Weekend visit: http://ottawa.startupweekend.org/

For more information on MyJam visit: http://myjam.co

For more information on Tejbir Wason visit: http://tejbirwason.com/about