24hourstartup is a project to ‘conceive, design, build and promote a web-based business’, and is a collaboration between digital agency Nonsense and White October.

Their 24 hours started at 12pm yesterday, and is due to finish with a working beta of the site at 12pm today. I talked to Nonsense MD Rob Mosley last night, and this morning, about the project…

Why did you decide to build a startup in just 24 hours?

It’s really a team building day that got out of hand. It was our Creative Director Robbie Greatrex’s idea, and Dave Fletcher, MD of White October helped to develop it. We do digital marketing and they build websites so it’s a good fit.

We had a chat about it and wondered what we could achieve in the space of 24 hours. We had the idea for a while and told everyone else that there would be a secret project, only revealing the true project at the beginning of the 24 hours.

And you’ve listed the startup on eBay?

Yes, we listed it for sale on eBay at the start of the 24 hours, and we’ll work as hard as we can to add as much value as possible to it for the buyer. The idea of listing it on eBay means we have to have a startup with relatively broad appeal.

What is the startup going to be?

It’s going to be around the concept of searching and shopping for products by colour, some people might just want something purple, or to narrow it down by colour and it’s a concept that users can have some fun with it. It’s something we can apply to affiliate feeds, and we have feeds from retailers like Dorothy Perkins and Wallis already.

We’ve also had a few guys thinking about brand names, and have eventually settled on Dr Hue. We’ll develop the site through the night and create a working beta by the morning.

Any guesses on how much it will fetch on eBay?

At the moment, just six hours in, the bidding is up to $200 (At 9am today, it’s $250). Someone calculated that, based on the fact that it reached $200 in that time, it should be $3,000 after 24 hours.

We’ve interested in the startup world, and this is an interesting experiment for us. The input and work we put into this startup will be reflected in the price, as one of the things the eBay buyer is getting is the hype and interest that has been built around it.

How will you use the proceeds?

We’ve decided that half will go to the two companies, Nonsense and White October, and the rest will be split between everyone who has worked on the project.

Presumably this will prove to be a useful PR exercise for Nonsense and White October…

Yes, we’re doing what we can to promote it on Twitter. Before the end of most people’s working hours, we were getting three or four retweets a minute, and we’ve had some interest from blogs.

After the 24 hours is up, is that it or will you keep tweaking?

No, we’ll down tools after the time is up, though if we’re halfway through an upload to the server, we’ll wait till that’s done. A lot of the more intensive work has been done at the start; deciding what sort of startup to create, deciding on a name etc, now its a case of getting on with it.

We’ll have to do some sort of handover to the buyer, and turn over all the source code but that’s all we’ll do after 12pm tomorrow.

I also asked Rob a couple more questions this morning, 21 hours in: 

What were the biggest challenges in creating the site in 24 hours?

  • Staying awake (it’s very hard now!)
  • Juggling several workstreams; brand, design, development and marketing.
  • America being on Thanksgiving and Twitter being a graveyard overnight, though the UK posse kept us motivated.

How far are you along with it now?

At the time of writing we’re still on for a launch at midday. We have all design done, marketing planned and example blogger outreach campaign running. We haven’t tested cross platform though, and might not be able to! We’re still bloody proud of it though.

If you want to follow the last few hours of the project, there is a live office webcam here.