Over 25 people arrived at Merge last Friday, excited to participate in Startup Weekend Iowa City 2019.
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event, during which groups of developers, startup enthusiasts, and more pitch ideas for new startups, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo or presentation by Sunday evening.
The weekend kicked off with dinner and introductions on Friday evening, followed by everyone give 60-second pitches of their startup ideas. Of those, six ideas were chosen to be worked on by teams throughout the weekend.
The final six teams were:
- MoRA – an online platform that allows rent out their art to local businesses and homeowners
- AgFinder – a sharing platform that connects farmers with the niche resources to more effectively operate their farms
- Agble – trains and connects youth and young mothers with farmers who need skilled labors in Nigeria
- Handshake – an online site that connects freelancers with clients and ensures that freelancers get paid for their work
- MRI Solutions – an algorithm that increases MRI quality and identifies studies that are incorrectly protocoled
- Food Fight – an app where users can vote for their favorite dish from local restaurants to receive coupons and deals
On Saturday, teams spent the bulk of the day discovering customer relationships and channels, developing value propositions and business models and beginning to prepare for their final pitches on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, teams frantically wrapped up their presentations and finalized their pitches. Final pitches began on Sunday at 4:00. Each pitch was five minutes long followed by a three-minute Q&A with a panel of judges.
This year’s three judges were: Mark Nolte, President of the Iowa City Area Development Group; Kimm Harris, Entrepreneur and Lecturer at the University of Iowa; Samantha Ferm, Government Contracting Specialist at CIRAS.
Following the pitches, the judges decided on the top three teams. First place was given to MoRA. Second Place was given to Handshake. And third place was given to Agble. In addition, a Crowd Choice Award was awarded to MoRA.
“I really hope that everyone participated this weekend walks away having learned something,” said Jay Cooper, organizer of the event. “Thanks so much to all who participated, to the judges who are here, and to the coaches who were here all weekend, taking the time to make our entrepreneurial community better.”
After startup weekend was over, participants got together at the Mill to celebrate completing the weekend.