Startup Weekend Iowa City is a success

Startup Weekend Iowa City took place this weekend and was a huge hit. Over 20 people showed up excited to participate in the 54-hour event Friday night.

The weekend kicked off with dinner and introductions at 5:00 Friday. Following the introduction, everyone was invited to come up and give 60-second pitches. Nearly everyone presented ideas they had. 18 ideas were shared in front of the audience. Of those, five ideas were chosen to be worked on by teams during the weekend.

The final five teams were:

  • BetterHires – connects high school talent with businesses
  • HippoCamp – using augmented reality to train spatial skills for kids with dyspraxia and other neuro-diverse disorders
  • Magic Compass – a random trip generator for adventurers
  • Practical Engineering – builds specialty tooling for larger companies
  • Sandwich Hero – an app that allows you to swipe left or right to choose local restaurants

On Saturday, teams spent the bulk of the day discovering customer relationships and channels, developing value propositions and cost structures and beginning to prepare for final pitches on Sunday evening.

From 12-3, several local mentors were provided to the teams helping them develop their product or service, giving expert advice and guiding them in the right direction.

Sunday morning, teams frantically wrapped up their presentations and finalized their pitches. Final pitches began on Sunday at 4:00. Each pitch was five minutes followed by a three minute Q&A following with a panel of judges.

Following the pitches, the judges decided on the top three teams. First place was given to BetterHires. Second Place was given to Magic Compass. And third place was given to Hippocamp. In addition, a Crowd Choice Award was awarded to BetterHires.

“I had so much fun working on this thing. This was amazing,” said Jay Cooper, lead organizer of the event. “I personally hope you walk away from this having learned something, having made new connections and taking away something bigger than just the project you worked.”

Joining Cooper in organizing Startup Weekend Iowa City this year were Ian Castillo, Mark Hadley and David Miessler-Kubanek.

After startup weekend was over, participants got together at the Mill to celebrate completing the weekend.