16 Judging Criteria

Plasticons_Education-20-128The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighted equally):

  • Business Model
    • How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?
  • Customer Validation
    • Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?
  • Execution & Design
    • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

 




28 Pitches. 10 Teams. #SWEvv 5.0

Startup Weekend Evansville 5.0 February 19, 2015DSC_0827

We had a huge turnout for SWEVV5.0. Over 90 tickets sold. Mayor LLoyd Winnecke kicked off the evening, giving the participants a sincere thank you for their courage. He also told them to “Never, never give up on your dreams. We need you. Evansville needs you and your ideas.”

We had 28 pitches, and 11 teams making the cut. After team formation, we have 10 ideas proceeding in this competition.

EntoMythology

  • Alex Godwin
  • Angela Lankford
  • Jennifer Williams
  • Jenna Citrus
  • Joe Vessell

 

Finance Video GamesDSC_0841

  • Johnathon Marvell
  • Ben Peyronnin
  • David Sullivan
  • Max Smith
  • Larry Robinson
  • Sam Stevens
  • Casey McCoy
  • Niko

 

Adrenaline Vision

  • Eduardo Pzixoto
  • Charles Kelly
  • Catherine
  • Parag C.

 

LullafiDSC_0821

  • Mike Boren
  • Austin Craig
  • Munkhbat

 

Guardian Angel

  • Ryan Loehilen
  • Eric Nelson
  • Jesac Sulivan
  • Wazniac
  • Mark
  • Candance Fairer

 

Night Vision Goggle GlovesDSC_0859

  • Josh Hazelwood
  • Neil Kassinger
  • Elyse Goonan
  • John Curtis

Interns with no Experience

  • Shifan Zhang
  • Nader Jomaa
  • Munchbat
  • Thu Pham
  • Zhujun Li
  • Peggy Forbes
  • Candace Fairer

 

Collision Coffeehouse

  • Zac Parsons
  • Nathan Templeton
  • Peter Doster
  • Randy Russelburg
  • Benjamin Sermersheim
    Zack Mathis
  • Mark Davis
  • Mark Trunkhouser
  • Joe & Tracy Klencewski

 

Hey Evansville

  • Zack Mathis
  • Thu Pham
  • Mark Davis

 

Pick Ups Delivery

  • Mike Harvey
  • Jezi Martinez
  • Sean Effron

Any additions or corrections to teams or team names need to be sent to Dana. (You have this info in your name badges.)

More photos can be found on our Facebook Page! 




When It's Time To Pursue Your Idea.

From a recent article in Forbes by the Muse, I was inspired to share their four ways to know it’s time to pursue your idea because they run parallel with the desired goals and outcomes of Startup Weekend Evansville.

“Ideas…They’re fantastically fun to throw out and thrash around, but making them happen is a daunting prospect. Especially when you’re looking for an idea that can bloom into a business.

So how do you know if your idea is strong enough to plough ahead? Or invest? Or quit your day job? There’s certainly no science to it, but there are some things that help make the decision easier—so that when you do take the plunge, it feels less like a plunge and more like a shallow dive.

In an attempt to make this a more interesting read, let’s check out some signature moves from famous old prodigies and see what they can teach us.

1. The Darwin: Share Your Idea

Darwin didn’t hide away in a black box and magically resurface with his theory of evolution. He wrote stacks of letters to other scientists, journalists, and friends to pressure test and develop his theory before he was ready to share it with the world.

I find it deeply infuriating when people say “I have an idea” and follow it quickly with “but I can’t tell you about it.” The notion that people are idea-goblins, waiting to steal your genius and launch it before you do is, on the whole, quite absurd. Having ideas is the easy bit. Making them happen is where the real hard slog starts.

So set aside the conspiracy theories and get sharing. It really is critical. By circulating an idea, you strengthen, build, and evolve it into a more robust thing. In short, you’re upping its chance of survival by allowing it to adapt to feedback and input. As a bonus, sharing also gets you in the habit of pitching (and defending) your idea; and the sooner you can practice conversing like an entrepreneur, the better.

2. The Alexander: Have a Cunning Plan

If planning battles was as sexy as fighting them, perhaps we would have celebrated Alexander the Great’s strategic chops as well as his swordsmanship. Whether invading Thessaly or Thebes, he knew exactly what had to be done and how to do it.

The same diligence must be applied to start-ups; and creating a business model is a great place to start. It forces you to address your shortcomings and decide whether or not you can overcome them. No idea is perfect, but deciding early on where your weaknesses are and how to conquer them is a big time and energy saver in the long run.

Creating a business model will also give you a taste for the hard work involved with starting a business. There’s a Hollywood-style myth currently doing the rounds about the start-up that gets acquired for a billion dollars after a year or so of what looks like very fun work. Start-ups are indeed fun, but it’s important to not gloss over the intense hours, sweat, and work—and the planning—they require.

3. The Galileo: Trust Your Gut

This isn’t the “are you willing to be incarcerated for your idea” test, but there is something to be said about trusting your gut. Only a lunatic would have rocked the boat as much as Galileo did without dogmatic belief in his idea.

My own “trust your gut” moment came eight months in. I’d been trying relentlessly to find partners to help me build my site. It had been fruitless and laborious and I had pretty much given up. But then I noticed a pattern. When I went out on the town, I’d find myself talking about my idea heatedly, and repeatedly. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t abandon it. I believed in it too much to let it slide.

 4. The JFK: Up the Ante

Once JFK announced to the world that America would be the first nation to put a man on the moon, there was no turning back. An ambition had been declared and now it had to happen.

As an entrepreneur, start looking for ways to up your own ante and terrify yourself (just a little). Yes, start-ups are lean and should operate with prudence, but until you take a bold action to transport your idea from your head to the real world, it really is just an idea. Actively pursuing ways to make it real will force you to commit with new tenacity. For me, this moment came when I wrote my first check. I felt the stakes rise and my commitment triple once I paid for logo design. Until then, my idea was just an idea.

If you have a business idea of your own, these are all things you can do, and should be doing, now. They’re more than just best practices, they’re tricks to help you build confidence. And confidence counts. Having conviction in your idea and conviction that you can deliver on it is what will make “taking the plunge” feel less like a risk and more like an inevitability”. – The Muse

If you are at this point of thinking and thinking about your idea, realize you are not the only one pondering the same market problems and solutions.  Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, ideas are commodities.  It’s only a matter of time from when someone steps forward and brings their idea into the “light” that the reality of validation can begin.  Life is too short to wonder what if.  Take an easy step at Startup Weekend Evansville.




How Will Your Ideas Be Judged At Startup Weekend Evansville?

The Startup Weekend Evansville judging criteria is broken up into four sections. Teams are judged according to the following criteria (weighed equally):

Product Execution:

  • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (be it software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimal feature set to be able to start collecting data.
  • How many iterations of the product have the done throughout the weekend? Successful product execution should be able to show you a roadmap of where they started and how they have collected data to evolve their product. A great SW team should be able to make it through many cycles of data collection throughout the weekend.
  • Were they able to demo something functional?

Business Model Validation:

  • Can you identify a clear customer segment?
  • Can you identify a clear value proposition to that customer?
  • How many customers did you talk to in the weekend? 
  • How have you validated your solution with the customers?
  • How will you acquire customers? 
  • What differentiates your model from competitors?

Design:

  • What are your users core needs?
  • How many users have you engaged with?
  • What feedback have you gotten to inspire your user feature set?
  • Tell me based off your user insights why your product looks this way? 
  • Tell me based off your user insights why your product feels this way? 

Team:

  • Who is your team made up of? 
  • Why can this team take your idea to the next level?
  • What has your team done this weekend to show you can go above and beyond all other startups to become successful? 



From Idea to Reality in 54 Hours

Screen Capture for Blog

Last February (2015), on a cold and icy Friday night, I had the opportunity to participate in a Startup Weekend on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana. The weather was of little concern as inventors and entrepreneurs (both young and not as young 🙂 ) from around the Tri-State pitched their invention or business idea to an impressive audience of educators, engineers, scientists, business owners, IT specialists, marketeers, angel investors and more.  Based on the content of the pitches, the audience voted for the ideas they felt had the most promise, and then all participants worked together throughout the weekend to develop the ideas further.

Join us again in 2016!  February 19 – 21 at USI, teams of citizens will rally around creative ideas and define what else needs to be done to get the start-up concepts off of the ground. Perhaps the idea needs a marketing analysis, a prototype, a capital investment analysis or technology assistance.  If participants do not have the knowledge, they generally know someone in the community that does!

On Sunday evening, a fresh panel of judges from the community arrive for a terrific dinner and the opportunity to vote on the best of the best ideas.

Are you interested in pitching an idea?  Or, perhaps you would like to offer your expertise to help a Startup team or be among our prestigious judges?

I hope you can join us! To learn more about Evansville’s Startup Weekend click here.

More than 23,000 teams from 150 countries around the world value Startup Weekends as a seed to economic growth.  To learn more about Startup Weekends visit https://startupweekend.org.

 




Startup Weekend Evansville: Helping Integrate The Regional Startup Ecosystem

Coined by a botanist in the first half of the 20th century, “ecosystem” referred to a localized community of living organisms interacting with each other and their environment. Noticing relevant parallels between the worlds of biology and commerce, J. F. Moore (1993) ported the concept to the increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing context of business. Moore noted the trend of successful business evolution involving attracting resources, creating cooperative networks, and co-evolving capabilities around innovation.

Initially embraced by the technology sector, the concept has now moved beyond buzzword status and represents a metaphor that impacts the mental models of leaders as they make decisions in a wide variety of business domains.  For example, companies such as Apple, Facebook, Alibaba (China), Softbank (Japan), Nokia (Finland), and SABMiller (South Africa) all make explicit their intent of developing and strengthening aspects of their ecosystems (E. Kelly 2015).  According to Kelly (2015), “ecosystems are dynamic and co-evolving communities of diverse actors who create and capture new value through increasingly sophisticated models of both collaboration and competition.”

Startup Weekend Evansville (SWE) in parallel with our host university, University of Southern Indiana, is providing a unique platform for all persons to engage in the healthy development of our startup ecosystem.  SWE provides a neutral “playground” for all persons to intersect and cross-pollinate ideas, relationships, and resources for a more cohesive ecosystem.  A recent white paper further highlights key “ingredients” for a thriving startup ecosystem.

You can make a valid contribution to our community by just showing up, having fun, and participating to demonstrate your support of this entrepreneurial effort.  In just 54 hours, you can bring about significant change.




How Will Your Ideas be Judged at Startup Weekend Evansville?

The Startup Weekend Evansville judging criteria is broken up into four sections. Teams are judged according to the following criteria (weighed equally):

Product Execution:

  • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (be it software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimal feature set to be able to start collecting data.
  • How many iterations of the product have the done throughout the weekend? Successful product execution should be able to show you a roadmap of where they started and how they have collected data to evolve their product. A great SW team should be able to make it through many cycles of data collection throughout the weekend.
  • Were they able to demo something functional?

Business Model Validation:

  • Can you identify a clear customer segment?
  • Can you identify a clear value proposition to that customer?
  • How many customers did you talk to in the weekend? 
  • How have you validated your solution with the customers?
  • How will you acquire customers? 
  • What differentiates your model from competitors?

Design:

  • What are your users core needs?
  • How many users have you engaged with?
  • What feedback have you gotten to inspire your user feature set?
  • Tell me based off your user insights why your product looks this way? 
  • Tell me based off your user insights why your product feels this way? 

Team:

  • Who is your team made up of? 
  •  Why can this team take your idea to the next level?
  • What has your team done this weekend to show you can go above and beyond all other startups to become successful? 



When it’s Time to Pursue Your Idea

From a recent article in Forbes by the Muse, I was inspired to share their four ways to know it’s time to pursue your idea because they run parallel with the desired goals and outcomes of Startup Weekend Evansville.

“Ideas…They’re fantastically fun to throw out and thrash around, but making them happen is a daunting prospect. Especially when you’re looking for an idea that can bloom into a business.

So how do you know if your idea is strong enough to plough ahead? Or invest? Or quit your day job? There’s certainly no science to it, but there are some things that help make the decision easier—so that when you do take the plunge, it feels less like a plunge and more like a shallow dive.

In an attempt to make this a more interesting read, let’s check out some signature moves from famous old prodigies and see what they can teach us.

1. The Darwin: Share Your Idea

Darwin didn’t hide away in a black box and magically resurface with his theory of evolution. He wrote stacks of letters to other scientists, journalists, and friends to pressure test and develop his theory before he was ready to share it with the world.

I find it deeply infuriating when people say “I have an idea” and follow it quickly with “but I can’t tell you about it.” The notion that people are idea-goblins, waiting to steal your genius and launch it before you do is, on the whole, quite absurd. Having ideas is the easy bit. Making them happen is where the real hard slog starts.

So set aside the conspiracy theories and get sharing. It really is critical. By circulating an idea, you strengthen, build, and evolve it into a more robust thing. In short, you’re upping its chance of survival by allowing it to adapt to feedback and input. As a bonus, sharing also gets you in the habit of pitching (and defending) your idea; and the sooner you can practice conversing like an entrepreneur, the better.

2. The Alexander: Have a Cunning Plan

If planning battles was as sexy as fighting them, perhaps we would have celebrated Alexander the Great’s strategic chops as well as his swordsmanship. Whether invading Thessaly or Thebes, he knew exactly what had to be done and how to do it.

The same diligence must be applied to start-ups; and creating a business model is a great place to start. It forces you to address your shortcomings and decide whether or not you can overcome them. No idea is perfect, but deciding early on where your weaknesses are and how to conquer them is a big time and energy saver in the long run.

Creating a business model will also give you a taste for the hard work involved with starting a business. There’s a Hollywood-style myth currently doing the rounds about the start-up that gets acquired for a billion dollars after a year or so of what looks like very fun work. Start-ups are indeed fun, but it’s important to not gloss over the intense hours, sweat, and work—and the planning—they require.

3. The Galileo: Trust Your Gut

This isn’t the “are you willing to be incarcerated for your idea” test, but there is something to be said about trusting your gut. Only a lunatic would have rocked the boat as much as Galileo did without dogmatic belief in his idea.

My own “trust your gut” moment came eight months in. I’d been trying relentlessly to find partners to help me build my site. It had been fruitless and laborious and I had pretty much given up. But then I noticed a pattern. When I went out on the town, I’d find myself talking about my idea heatedly, and repeatedly. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t abandon it. I believed in it too much to let it slide.

 4. The JFK: Up the Ante

Once JFK announced to the world that America would be the first nation to put a man on the moon, there was no turning back. An ambition had been declared and now it had to happen.

As an entrepreneur, start looking for ways to up your own ante and terrify yourself (just a little). Yes, start-ups are lean and should operate with prudence, but until you take a bold action to transport your idea from your head to the real world, it really is just an idea. Actively pursuing ways to make it real will force you to commit with new tenacity. For me, this moment came when I wrote my first check. I felt the stakes rise and my commitment triple once I paid for logo design. Until then, my idea was just an idea.

If you have a business idea of your own, these are all things you can do, and should be doing, now. They’re more than just best practices, they’re tricks to help you build confidence. And confidence counts. Having conviction in your idea and conviction that you can deliver on it is what will make “taking the plunge” feel less like a risk and more like an inevitability”. – The Muse

If you are at this point of thinking and thinking about your idea, realize you are not the only one pondering the same market problems and solutions.  Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, ideas are commodities.  It’s only a matter of time from when someone steps forward and brings their idea into the “light” that the reality of validation can begin.  Life is too short to wonder what if.  Take an easy step at Startup Weekend Evansville.




If you seek change, you are an entrepreneur and Startup Weekend Evansville wants you.

“While the news is full of stories of business geniuses and technology gurus who build multimillion-dollar companies seemingly overnight, being an entrepreneur is a journey.  Do you see a problem and have an idea for an innovative solution?  Be it in the realm of the arts, education, engineering, health care, and beyond, your desire to create change makes you an entrepreneur” – Startup Weekend: How to Take a Company From Concept to Creation in 54 Hours

You may be an entrepreneur and not even realize it.  If you resonate with the aforementioned, you are not alone.  Even if you have never launched a product, service, or started a business.  Entrepreneurship is more than the explicit startup.  Entrepreneurship is a mindset.  Entrepreneurial mindset development involves connections.  Multiplicities of connections abound at Startup Weekend.  The first step is connecting with likeminded individuals that allow you to be and think the way you do.  The ethos of Startup Weekend Evansville is openness to new ideas and acceptance of all perspectives.

Startup Weekend Evansville helps harness the raw power of creativity and human potential by empowering individuals and teams to build and validate the solutions to the opportunities and problems they see and feel every day. Through Startup Weekend Evansville, people are able to pursue their passions and find the people they need to transform their vision into reality, while providing opportunities to learn how to succeed not only on a local level, but with the ability and potential to become a high-growth venture. We at Startup Weekend Evansville are confident these opportunities will influence hundreds and ultimately thousands of entrepreneurs and contribute to an infrastructural change and cultural movement that will positively impact our communities and ultimately our economy.

54 hours can change your life and potentially, the world.  Come play with us!

-Bryan K. Bourdeau – Co-founder Startup Weekend Evansville




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