StartupWeekend Buzzes with Entrepreneurial Activity Adam Coomes and Dan Melton, co-organizers get things started at Going from Friday Anyone can pitch an idea—there skills of a developer. Kansas City’s Start Up Weekend. were 30 this year. The assembled Interestingly, however, how night idea to Monday group then votes by a show of hands quickly teams started and how teams “wowed” the audience and Oh, and here’s a final hint: morning start up. on the ideas they would like to see organized they appeared Friday judges in their own way on Sunday Don’t run a live online social carried forward to the culmination night didn’t necessarily correlate I night. Who knows which concept media demo in a room full of IT t wasn’t just the coffee, Moun- of the weekend—a final presentation with how complete and polished might be the next big start up in developers who have laptops and tain Dew and beer creating a and judging on Sunday night. their concept and presentation Kansas City? Like Dan Melton wireless access. Just sayin’. buzz in the room, it was the Of the 30 ideas pitched this year, were on Sunday evening. said, Startup weekend is really energy of aspiring entrepreneurs nine made it to Sunday night. After Also, some team “leaders” about networking and connecting waiting to pitch their the “official vote,” who pitched a winning idea came with talented people who have a ideas. In fact, the air the winning ideas in with much of the work already Learn more about passion for entrepreneurism. was so supercharged are sent to separate done. Some had business plans Start Up Weekend So, next year bring your that the dozens of and the teams, see areas of the room and financial projections com- idea to Kansas City Startup laptops would have video and photos of and a kind of speed plete, while others had already Weekend, and prepare come to life with or the weekend events dating, cocktail done initial graphic design or for 54 hours of work, without batteries. at http://kansascity. party environment programming. Again, success on fun, energy, Mountain It was Friday night startupweekend.com/ ensues, in which the Sunday didn’t always correlate Dew, coffee, lack of and the beginning people who want to with how much advance work had Follow the weekend sleep, inspiration and of Startup Week- through Tweets work on a project go been done. connecting with people end 2010. by searching on talk with the person For the uniniti- Wrapping Up who have the skills and who pitched a I #KCSW at Twitter.com n the end, all the concepts were talent to help make your ated (and Start Up winning idea. pretty amazing and all the idea a reality. Weekend seems Some ideas very much like an initiation of attracted people like moths to a sorts), this 54-hour event brings light bulb, while others struggled together a group of entrepreneur- to find the talent and skills needed ial-minded people to pitch busi- to move forward. At least one Here’s the Pitch “The Chosen” ness ideas and develop them over idea “died” Friday night, unable A sampling of ideas pitched on The nine concepts taken to final presentation: the weekend. The “goal” is to recruit team members inspired Friday night: HerdMap—Winner // Uses location-based social media to show where to have a product or business by the concept. So, she took her Gallery App // Smart Phone app social “hot spots” are in real time concept ready to launch on idea home—possibly to develop it to display photography or graphic 1 More Point—Runner Up // Open source game engine for the Android Monday morning. herself, or to try again next year. design portfolios phone platform But according to Kansas City co- organizer Dan Melton, the real value Jumping In Education Station // Online social Medical Upload // Online tool for medical professionals to share medical in Startup Weekend is the network- ing and community building that B y 9:00 p.m. (initial pitches started promptly at 7:00), teams were off and running…or media/collaboration tool for educa- tors and coaches images easily and securely while protecting patient privacy Like a Top // Online tool to track vehicle mileage, oil changes and routine happens among the participants. Loser League // Online progress maintenance, and send e-mail reminders walking…or crawling….or, gasping tracking and competition toward “It isn’t always about the suc- Speak Back Now // Social media tool allowing audience interaction/com- for air. One team with a particularly weight loss goals with family/friends cess, it’s okay if the start up fails ments at public forums, conferences, etc. good mix of talent and skills—IT de- on Monday morning,” Melton Startup U // Computer simulation The Student Stop // A social media networking Web site for students to velopers, project managers, a graph- said. “It’s about meeting each game to teach entrepreneurial skills meet, interact and share knowledge at the university they attend ic designer and a finance guy—were other and connecting.” already establishing milestones, Grubbin.it // Web-based food ordering and crowd-sourced delivery service. Eclectic Mix of setting up a collaboration portal on Your Galileo // Web reference tool that aggregates information from People and Ideas Google Groups and assigning multiple sources and presents it with one click I n the room this Friday night, roles and responsibilities. Java Join // Web tool allows users to browse “friends of friends” on social ready for the one-minute “Figuring out what our media sites and initiate a potential meeting pitches, are about 75 IT develop- deliverables are is going ers, graphic designers, marketers, to be the hardest part.” recent college grads, a finance guy “Where do we want to 2010 Judges for Start Up Weekend Kansas City and an Army officer, among others. be on Sunday night?” James Clarke, senior porfolio manager, Fiduciary Research It doesn’t really matter who you are By 9:15, they were and Consulting, and a founding investor in Proteon or where you come from (in fact, deep into brainstorm- Therapeutics, LightSpeed Genomics and Orbis Biosciences. participants came from as far away ing and strategizing. Herb Sih, co-founder, Clickspeed; founder and president, as New Jersey). What’s impor- The start was Think Big Partners; and vice president Mariner Holdings. tant is that you have an idea or a somewhat slower for dream and/or the desire to put your other teams. At 9:30, one Kathy Walker, managing director at OPENAIR Ventures, knowledge and skills to work in an “team” still wasn’t a com- former chief information and network officer for Sprint. entrepreneurial venture. plete team—lacking the critical Reprinted with permission of Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc. ©2010, all rights reserved. Appeared in the May 2010 issue of KS Small Business magazine.