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The Global Startup Battle 2015 was a world-class event that brought together startup enthusiasts and industry professionals from the Chicago community in order to identify and develop innovative business ideas.

The weekend kicked off Friday afternoon with a speech by Anthony Zeoli (JOBS Act and crowdfunding expert) which provided attendees with an overview of the investment ecosystem in Chicago as well as general advice on launching a startup. After the lecture was over the attendees took the stage to pitch their startup ideas! While all of the ideas presented were fantastic, a voting session by participants narrowed down the best and determined the official teams for the weekend:

Giftr – A social platform for discovering gift ideas through relational groups

HirePower – Software tool aimed at improving and streamlining the hiring process (particularly for management consulting firms)

Chews – Interactive platform that provides menus that help users find their ideal meals (particularly beneficial for individuals with dietary restrictions)

Chefy – An app that allows people to schedule private chefs to cook at their home

Between the Notes – A startup which aims to revive classical music education for the next generation

Oyster – Curated weekly entertainment guide that delivers experience and variety

On Saturday, the teams worked on getting market feedback for their ideas by conducting in-person interviews and polling social media. As they figured out what worked and what didn’t, they refined their business models and adjusted their marketing strategies. It was a great learning experience which allowed attendees to get a deeper understanding of their potential customers and the most effective ways to market their products.

On Sunday morning, with their ideas polished and their business models defined, teams worked on their pitches with the help of an amazing roster of mentors which included professionals in the fields of product design, data analytics, software development, venture capital, marketing, and social entrepreneurship. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, the teams presented the results of their hard work to a panel of judges that included high-profile members of the startup community including the assistant director of the University of Notre Dame’s entrepreneurship program and a managing director of Techstars, one of the world’s largest startup accelerator programs.

While in our book all of the teams are winners for successfully turning their ideas into viable products and putting together amazing presentations, one team stood above the rest: Chefy. By developing a sound business model and validating its business concepts with market data (including receiving request from a chef from Italy to be included in their beta), Chefy embodied what Startup Weekends are all about.

If you are interested in oin us for the official relaunch of the Startup Weekend Chicago meetup on January 14th: www.meetup.com/Startup-Weekend-Chicago/events/226871292

Stay tuned for more updates and information regarding our next event (last weekend of February 2016) at http://www.up.co/communities/usa/chicago.

Carlos Pena