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Startup Weekend Louisville

March 6th, 2015

From Insider Louisville

magine you’re at an antique store and you’ve stumbled across the perfect dining room table at the right price, but your Volkswagen Jetta just ain’t having it. Pull up the Moov app on your phone and find an available person with a pickup truck and summon them with a click.

Moov — an Uber for pickup trucks — overwhelmingly won the sixth Startup Weekend Louisville this past weekend. The judges’ favorite by a wide margin, the company also almost swept the audience vote. None of the other nine companies that pitched on Sunday afternoon earned more than single-digit votes. Moov received 41.

By the end of the weekend, the Moov team had a beautifully designed working app, added 17 Moov’rs — people with pickups who signed up to participate — and performed one successful “Moov.” They’d also signed up one affiliate consignment shop whose owner told them that she’d put Moov on “speed dial.” Mayor Greg Fischer visited Startup Weekend on Saturday afternoon and was so impressed he gave them their first dollar.

Like Uber, Moov splits its fees and gives 80 percent to the driver. The driver can see on the app who is requesting a Moov, how much they’re willing to pay, and some details about the item being moved and its destination.

It wasn’t the only emergent business from Startup Weekend, which began at 6 p.m. on Friday with tours of the host facility — FirstBuild, the GE-affiliated microfactory at U of L. Designer Katie Bush kicked off the presentations with a keynote speech about living in Louisville and working in Silicon Valley.

Bill Kenney, an entrepreneur from Essex, Ct., came to town to facilitate the event, which drew 64 registrants. Twenty-eight of them presented one-minute pitches for new startups. Nine of those pitches advanced to compete.

Here are the other eight:

  • MarketSpring matches students with employers who need projects to be completed. Employers bid on projects, and students (or groups of students) compete to fulfill them. Employers and students rate their experience and students develop a portfolio of work. Seventy percent of college students are unemployed, the team noted, and the majority of those who have a job are working in service positions that do not enhance their resumes.
  • PromoSavvy spent the bulk of the weekend testing business models and pivoting. A freshman at Berea College who was a team member noted, “We started out as a nonprofit doing something about compost … and ended up as an ad agency.” The final product resembled Groupon but was more time-sensitive.
  • MixxThis is a phone app that allows you to select an alcoholic beverage you’d like to order at a bar and show it to the bartender on your phone in big bold letters. This helps combat crowding, loud music and generally noisy bars. The team tested it at 15 bars with 25 bartenders to excellent reviews. They also talked to a marketing representative for Jack Daniel’s who gave the app positive feedback and said they would consider sponsorship.
  • Solarband came in second place. Its product is a wearable technology that measures UV rays and alerts you before you get sunburned. Using a 3-D printer, they created a wristband prototype, conducted customer discovery at an area swim meet and talked to more than 40 parents, many of whom said that they would buy one for their kids for about $40. The team also considered taking resorts and amusement parks as clients — venues that would rent the devices out for a day.
  • EverAlert had a working prototype that alerts you via text message or email if your sump pump fails or your power goes out. Sump pumps typically have buzzer alerts, but that does you no good if you’re not home.
  • Tetherall is a small beacon locator that vibrates when it gets too far away from its partner. The team said that there are a lot of devices that help you locate something you lost. The Tetherall, however, stops you from losing things in the first place. If you’re at a restaurant and your car keys slip from your pocket, for instance, as long as a Tetherall device is attached, you’ll get a buzz on your phone.
  • Optimum Furniture is modular furniture designed for a small apartment or one of the increasingly popular “tiny homes.” The two-person team built a prototype in the woodshop at FirstBuild. The three-piece structure could serve as a stool, a stepstool, a coffee table, a shadow box or a piece of art. It was designed to be hung on a wall.
  • TechTrigger is a device that you can place on a live-trap mousetrap (or any size trap) that will send you a text message when the trap has been sprung. It also has a locator that will beep so you can find the device. Not only is this good for pest control, but it can be used to track hunting traps as well. The team built and demonstrated a working prototype and 3-D-printed a plastic mouse to use as an example.

The winning team won a gift certificate to Heine Brothers, a trophy created by FirstBuild and six months of co-working space at Velocity, among other prizes. The next Startup Weekend will be in September or October of this year. The judges were Trisha Finnegan, ‎Vice President of Community Leadership at Community Foundation of Louisville; Ross Jordan, Senior Associate at Yearling Fund LP; and Kayla Mount, CEO of SuperfanU.

Melissa Chipman