I wasn’t cool enough to go to computer camp as a kid, but this past weekend I got pretty close to redeeming myself.
I participated in a caffeine-fueled Startup Weekend in Columbus. The basic format – about 80 random people got together at a business incubator, TechColumbus. Friday night people can go up and pitch a new business idea for 60 seconds. Everyone votes on their favorites, then the top 15 ideas are left to be made into businesses. Teams are divided up with developers, programmers, graphics experts, coders and business hustlers. Then it’s a mad dash all weekend to develop the product, create a business plan, define your market, and forecast projections in time for a presentation on Sunday night to 5 local CEOs. Some previous participants have lead to legitimate successful startups like Heroes2U and LaunchRock.
Before the pitches to the judges Sunday night, it was 48 hours of chaos for most the teams. We all had to create and ship the name, logo, website, pricing/monetization, strategy, customer feedback, and forecasting. The final results seen in the presentations were incredible. 15 separate businesses were presented to the panel and audience, some of the highlights included:
- PocketChange – an app for giving to charities that’s a mix between Tinder and FundMe
- No Signal – an app to send messages via phone when cell towers or internet goes down
- skillswipe – a platform for student tutoring over lunch
- PillTrack – software for administering prescription drug usage
- Veterans on Watch – a social media platform for war veterans to support one another and prevent PTSD-related events or suicide
- NomNow – food delivery app for late night and college eats
- Well HQ – social media hub for big pharma brands to listen and engage when FDA regulations change this July
- YoungMoney – financial literacy gamified for 6th-12th graders
- Face Facts – an app like Shazaam to identify actors by scanning faces with your phone
By the end of the weekend, everyone involved was proud of their final product and stood the test of the judges. Some teams are moving on to actually develop their business, such as WellHQ, the winner from Startup Weekend.
Amazing event. Can’t wait to participate again and see what develops.