Startup Weekend Boulder 2010

Back in April I ventured to Boulder to participate in a event called Startup Weekend, founded in 2007 by Andrew Hyde. The idea is for people with different backgrounds to gather together to form a startup company with the hope of having a working prototype to present by Sunday evening. The focus of the event is to pitch ideas, then form one or more startup groups and create a product or service based on the selected ideas. However, it also gives people an opportunity to network with other locals who share a similar interest in entrepreneurship, as well as with a few venture capitalists or other mentors and sponsors who are willing to share their expertise and experience, as well as ideas and comments on the various projects.

During the drive down to Boulder I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was excited and anxious to find out what the weekend had in store. After arriving on the CU Boulder campus, everyone gathered for some food and drinks and met each other, having the usual small talk and sharing some project ideas. Then we settled down and were given a brief introduction of what to expect for the weekend, with discussion about the theme for the projects for that weekend: Triple Bottom Line – people, planet, and profits. There were around 12 ideas pitched, and 6 were selected by voting. Once the 6 were selected everyone wandered around deciding which group to join. I decided on the idea that Terry pitched – where you can rate how you feel at any given time and associate other information that can then be tracked, graphed, and correlated. This project would eventually be known as FeelAwesome and was also joined by Ami, Dan, Eliana, Matt, Thad, and Zack. The other groups that were formed were EatMyStuff, Ferment-In, PadSpark, ThePluginLife, and Twlp.me.

The remaining time on Friday was spent on introductions, fleshing out the original idea, deciding who would work on each aspect of the project and final pitch presentation. It was decided we were going to do a mobile app, so I would be working on developing an initial working iPhone app. Since I hadn’t received my new macbook yet I did what any self-respecting computer geek would do and brought down my 25″ monitor and MacMini for the next two days. Similar in spirit to a hack-a-thon, we mostly spent the time working while taking breaks every so often to socialize and eat. The final day was mostly spent getting the app to the point where we could share screenshots of the functionality. The other members who were not developing were busy creating the slides, marketing on twitter and facebook, and otherwise getting the final presentation ready.

The final presentations were 5-10 minutes with each team presenting their ideas and products while answering questions from the other groups and sponsors. Our team came in 3rd place, just behind the winner Twlp.me and the runner-up PadSpark. It was fun to see everyone’s results, and it was surprising just how much can be accomplished in such a short period of time.

A big thank you to the sponsors: Twilio, Hosting.com, and AskYourTargetMarket.com for helping to keep the costs down and offer prizes to the winning teams.

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