Have you heard??? The 12th Edition of Kansas City Startup Weekend is coming May 29th! Come join our caffeinated weekend and kick off #1WKC in style at ThinkBig Partner’s beautiful new building at 1712 Main Street.
Would you like to take Startup Weekend for a “test drive” first? No problem! We have bootcamps set up to tackle key topics like “What is Startup Weekend Anyway?”, “MVP & You!”, and soon to be a new favorite “Pitch Karaoke”! These are great opportunities to grab a friend and meet the locals.
Saturday, 1/24: Startup Weekend EDU – Kansas City
It’s Saturday evening here at Startup Weekend EDU – Kansas City and we’ve already experienced a half-baked game of narwhals, lime pickles, and musical socks, along with 22 early-stage pitch ideas, 9 top-voted teams, and a total of 9 teams formed. Below you’ll find the rundown and inside scoop on the innovation, collaboration, and caffeinated startups being born inside downtown Crossroads Academy’s new 21st century school. Interested in watching the final pitches? Buy a ticket to Demo Day and watch this group of talented educators, students, and entrepreneurs take Kansas City education by storm.
UNIverse is a platform to connect students to mentors to gain specific academic and career advice so that students can develop skills in areas related to their personal interests.
Organizer’s Notes: “What famous person would you love to have dinner with?” or so goes a classic ice-breaker question. UNIverse is attempting to take this question literally: what do you, as a student, want to know and who do you need to meet to get you there? Imagine meeting the Socrates of the 21st century, all for a lower price than college tuition. Can we go back to UNIverse(ity)?
STUCCO is a platform for schools to document behavior incidents and collect data to drive effective interventions and student support.
Organizer’s Notes: Beyond the amazing name (STUCCO), I’m excited for the potential to build data-driven, positive behavior support. Too often, school’s behavior management systems focus on negative consequences or unintentionally reinforce negative behavior. STUCCO has the potential to change that using the same practices in data-driven instruction teachers are already using for academics.
KC Tech Dojo (soon to be rebranded 😉 )
Tech Dojo is a program that brings computer science and tech education directly to schools.
Organizer’s Notes: There are plenty of coding programs out there, so why don’t all of our students know how to code? The Tech Dojo team is looking at finding a niche to answer this question and provide schools this valuable piece of 21st century learning for free. Yes, I said free.
Partners in PD
Partners in PD empowers 21st century, teacher learning through adaptive, innovative tech tools for professional development.
Organizer Notes: Partners in PD looks to address the bane of every teacher’s experience with professional development by making content relevant and accessible beyond the school building. An exciting piece to this startup is the team’s ideas on how to plug in to teacher training programs to prepare educators long before they even get to the classroom.
Mobile Design Challenge
Mobile Design Challenge is an annual, student-driven, problem-solving experience that closes the divide between students in the urban core and suburbs of Kansas City through design challenges.
Organizer Notes: This team has faced many challenges already, but I think they’re the dark horse of this competition. Their team leader unfortunately fell ill early on, but they’ve pressed through and have some amazing ideas. Stay tuned.
My Learning teaches the first character set of Hirajana, the basis of Japanese, in a game. Mastery is achieved in just 10 levels.
Organizer Notes: The ambition of this team is mind-boggling – to put a language’s characters into ten levels, let alone guarantee mastery, seems hard enough. When you find out that Japanese has over 20,000 characters and that they want to eventually build a game that further teaches these characters…the possibilities seem endless.
Learning Ground is a game that makes up remedial skills in math, geography, history, and communication arts.
Organizer Notes: Any technology that engages students, is adaptive, and remediates necessary skills is a slam dunk. The team is also exploring the parent-sided market rather than selling directly to schools – an interesting twist that they’re looking to validate.
Mobile Make is a mobile maker space that improves STEAM education by providing lesson plans and real-world applications to skills necessary for the 21st century.
Organizer Notes: There’s plenty of hype around maker spaces right now, but the mobile aspect of this startup, plus the focus on building lesson plans and curriculum rather than just providing raw materials could make any teacher AND student excited to see this truck pull up to their school.
Pennez is a digital platform that focuses on improving urban core literacy through graphic novels that are culturally-relevant, differentiated, and adaptive to students’ learning.
Organizer Notes: This team came prepared with research, anecdotal evidence, and a mission to make reading material culturally-relevant to minority populations. They’re upfront, unapologetic, and more than necessary in every school in Kansas City.
Join us tomorrow to see where these teams end up!
SW CITY TEAM
If you haven’t heard yet, Kansas City will welcome the first Startup Weekend EDU January 23-25 at the new Crossroads Academy building downtown.
St. Louis is also hosting its own Startup Weekend EDU the weekend prior to KC’s, and as all commonalities between the two MO I-70 cities go, this breeds a little competition.
Next Wednesday, 1/14, each city will host a social media battle to garner the most retweets, shares, likes, and favorites in an attempt to generate ticket sales for their respective events. The Startup Weekend EDU event with the most attendees will earn their winning team:
+ A sampling of the losing’s city’s best food (KC sends BBQ, St. Louis sends toasted ravioli, Gus’s pretzels and Provel cheese)
+ Game tickets to that city’s professional indoor soccer team (KC = Comets and St. Louis = Ambush)
+ Bragging rights, of course
Startup Weekend EDU – Kansas City is also offering a special promotion from now until January 23. If an individual…
1) Retweets @SWEDUKC
2) Posts an idea they have to improve education on the Facebook page
3) Comments on a previous post
4) Tags a friend
…they will receive 15% off their weekend admission.
Here’s how you can help:
RT @SWEDUKC next Wednesday 1/14
Share Startup Weekend EDU – Kansas City‘s posts
Tell all your KCMO friends about the event
Attend and build something better for education!
May the best city win.
The second day of Kansas City Start Up Weekend has been busy for all of our teams. The day started off with announcements from Kelly Tomlinson and Wendy Overton and the teams were off to work, figuring out their business strategies and then heading out to get market validation. The teams that came out of last nights pitches are:
- Amplifer App – An app that will use your friends phone speakers to play your music
- Get Unleashed – combines fitness, candy crush, and a cute little dragon to help fight obesity
- Converse – Curated conversation for the globally minded
- Donation DoGood – Creating a Nation of Do-Gooders
- Rent to Me – Turning the rental property industry upside down
- Daily Deeds KC – Helping people be able to help the community even more
- Hive – A way to automate your home HVAC system with multiple thermostats and your vents
Also throughout the day we had several of our mentors come through to help these great teams out. We had Chris Brown, who was giving the teams legal help and advise. Melissa Roberts stopped in to discuss marketing with our teams and finding the voice of the company. Carrie Royce has been helping teams out with finding their voice for their pitches and also with whatever the teams need. Rick Vaughn has been influential with providing the teams with information on how the funding process works and what investors are looking for. Chris Cheatham came to help the the teams find that target market for their first customer. That’s just some of what the mentors were helping out with and we will have even more tomorrow helping the teams tie up those loose ends before the end of the 54 hours.
We’re halfway through and already seeing some amazing things so be on the lookout on twitter and tomorrow evening as the teams pitch their amazing ideas!
Kansas City Startup Weekend #10 kicked off with a great opening by our facilitator, Wendy Overton. She got the attendees and Friday night pitch spectators going with a rock, paper, scissors championship.
Kevin McGinnis with Pinsight Media+ and the Sprint Accelerator, followed up with an inspirational talk about building relationships at Startup Weekend. He mentioned a number of his friends and business opportunities have come from his multiple Startup Weekend experiences.
Then it was time! The pitches began and went on until 15 ideas had been put on the table. Here’s what was pitched:
- RigRPG – Social platform for A/V specialist to post their rigs
- Amplifier – Chain links devices to stream same music source
- Change for Good – Solution for users to round up their purchases to make a donation to a charity
- Percentile Budgeting – Simple budgeting app that leverages percentages to allocate budgets
- Rent to Me – Airbnb for renters, brings the landlord to the person looking
- Empathy Chat – Tinder for meeting pen-pals
- Help Connect – Peer to peer volunteering opportunities
- Electric Hooka – Electric based heating element for hooka pipes
- Thunderbird Unicorn – Creates a new experience replacing business cards
- Unleashed – Fitness app fighting obesity
- Seeds – Hybrid seed solution
- KC Daily Deeds – Crowd sourcing ideas for charities
- Home Connect – Information aggregator for in home climate control
- Get the Job – Interviewing practice app
- Home Décor – App that provides home decoration suggestions based off of personal preferences and budgets
Let the voting begin! After a bit of mingling time for pitchers to convince others to give them one of their coveted three votes.
With votes tallied, a total of seven teams were formed to take on the next 51 hours of the weekend!
We’ll keep you informed, and come see the final products Sunday afternoon (meal included)! Join us!