Creativity and positive energy was flowing last night at the 2013 Startup Weekend Tempe. Developers, designers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups at the event, hosted by the ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (formerly Venture Catalyst) located at the AREA48 Formation Space.
Startup Weekend follows a basic formula: Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour whirlwind of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with a five-minute presentation in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with helpful feedback.
Eli Chmouni, one of the organizers for Startup Weekend shares some insight, “We had about 80 people who signed up. We have everyone go around and pitch ideas and we vote on which ones we like the best. From there, teams are formed and they’ve been working ever since. The teams have to do a lot of customer forecasts so you’ll see a lot of them going around doing surveys, talking to people, doing market research, product development. This kind of work typically takes about three months and these guys are doing it in three days and it’s insane! This isn’t just a regular pitch of an idea – they have to show us how it will be done.”
Judges are tasked with providing feedback and looking for a legitimate business idea and something that could have a true customer base and revenue model. Bob La Loggia, CEO Appointment-Plus, was one of the eight judges “Building the ecosystem in Arizona is so important and a lot of how you build the ecosystem begins with startups,” he said. “We have some great ideas here and a lot of great mentors who will be coaching these individuals to help them build these ideas into successful businesses.”
In the end, PokitBoss took home the victory. PokitBoss is an app, designed for an executive assistant, that allows users to safely and securely store credentials, to-do lists, contacts, calendars, expenses, and other valuable information needed to complete necessary tasks. Jenna Burns, founder of Pokitboss, says “We are super ecstatic. This team is amazing and really came together to bring this to life. All of the wonderful mentors have been so inspiring to us. Make sure you buy it in the app store!”
Navi Singh, sales manager, added, “We all clicked so well and this has just been such an amazing experience for us. To have all this amazing support and all this creative energy is so great.”
Caleb Barclay was part of the second place team who designed Wannabe Wino, an app that helps you find local wine deals, rate various wines you try, and helps build your wine education base then rewards you by reaching a certain level of knowledge (Novice to Connoisseur). This team also produced a hilarious promotion video we hope they share with the public. Barclay says, “We’re tired, but we have stayed focused. We really wanted to take the most time developing our product and making sure it’s completed because we want to show what we’re capable of. This has been a great opportunity for me because I’ve met a lot of great future contacts and collaborators.”
The second runner-up was Tiny Steps, an app designed to help users create long-lasting healthy habits.
Here’s a basic rundown of the twelve competing teams:
- An app that partners with local wineries to produce local deals for users
- Rate wines and keep track of which ones you liked the most
- Work your way up to different levels of wine knowledge (i.e. Novice, Connoisseur, etc.)
Viewers Like Me
- Reliably find movies you will enjoy based on reviews from previous viewers
- Rate films and write reviews
- Have a basic network of friends who can rate films and view your ratings
- A smart watch that can have pre-programmed apps within it to complete various tasks
- Using the pebble watch, Watch Devel has developed an app called the pebble pager to help users find their lost phone
Future Transit Systems
- An on-demand car and driver service with a monthly flat rate fee
- Make living better for consumers who need to get around town quickly
- Comprehensive system to keep track of expenses on a subscription basis, complete with account setup
- Assist businesses with expenses due to Common Area Maintenance
- Places kids directly into their favorite video games using a gestured control armband
- Helps users take steps to create healthy, lasting habits by entering a long term goal and taking short term action
- Online community that seeks to create and sell upcycled (or recycled) products to create a green, sustainable society
- Group of tools within a secure app designed specifically for executive assistants
- Allows users to store secure information and credentials
- “The Random Act of Kindness Project” seeks to encourage users to complete tasks, such as donating blood to earn badges and win prizes.
- Compete against other local users within community
- Seeks to help users tie a tie using a number system on a basic model
Congrats to all the winners and to everyone who participated in the event!
Startup weekend motto: “Create like a God, Command like a King, Work like a Slave”
To learn more about Startup Weekends, visit http://startupweekend.org/