SWLou Teams Chosen and Going Strong

We have eleven (11) teams that have formed and are competing this weekend at Startup Weekend Louisville #8.  For a quick recap of the weekend so far, check out pictures and updates on Twitter (@SWLouisville and #SWLou).  Interested in watching the pitches? Join us at 5pm on Sunday at our host, UofL College of Business (Harry Frazier Hall, 110 W. Brandeis Ave., Louisville, Kentucky 40292)

  • Socrates, an anonymous question asking application for the classroon
  • Ali Khushub, makes wooden accessories out of historic wood
  • Fun Gym, improves the gym experience for begginners
  • Aqui, a quantitative faculty and student attendance tracker
  • Moonshine Energy, connects Kentuckians with renewable resources
  • Outdoor Tailgating Game, a new game, kind of like cornhole
  • Lists, a coupon app associated with your grocery list
  • We Care/Notify, notifications for companies when employees or families when people pass away
  • Biblio Shop, facilitates college students selling items to each other within a certain area
  • Stundent Loan Payment App, an app that transfers micro amounts out of your accounts and actually makes student loan payments
  • Snap Hunt, helps you find snapchat users

Visualizing the Hustle

It takes more than an idea. Starting a business requires ambition, intelligence, passion, and a plan. It takes long nights of deep thinking, weekends spent glued to a computer, and the stomach to handle all the unexpected success and failure entrepreneurship brings.

Most of all, it takes hustle.

CEO and founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick, spoke to a crowd of entrepreneurs at 2010’s Tech Cocktail Startup Mixology Conference. While there, he shared a nugget of entrepreneurial wisdom that helped ease the uncertainty that so often clouds startup development:

“Fear is the disease. Hustle is the antidote.”

For Startup Weekend Louisville’s 8th iteration, Forest Giant distilled Kalanick’s message into a design that reflected the spirit of Louisville’s entrepreneur community: hustle. Check out the video below featuring Creative Director Jon Shaw’s inspiration for the 2016 design.


Forest Giant is company of designers, developers, and strategists driven by opportunities to solve complex problems using software and technology. Learn more about our latest project, Helm, at www.gohelm.io or view our work at www.forestgiant.com/work. Forest Giant is proudly based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville’s Startup Weekend Announces Speaker, Judges, & Sponsors

LOUISVILLE, KY – Startup Weekend Louisville returns March 11 – 13 at UofL College of Business with an impressive lineup of local experts and sponsors. This bi-annual event connects Louisville entrepreneurs, developers, designers and startup enthusiasts with mentors and resources. Throughout the course of this 54-hour event, attendees share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.

Startup veterans and mentors will be on hand throughout the weekend to provide expertise and give talks on their experiences in the fast-paced world of technology startups. The weekend will start off with an opening talk by entrepreneur and Capture HigherEd CEO, Steve Huey. Sunday’s closing judges include Stacy Griggs, CEO of El Toro; Jackie Willmot, COO of XLerateHealth (& UofL MBA); and Moses Icyishaka, Analyst at Chrysalis Ventures.

“Startup Weekend is a valuable asset to the city of Louisville. It brings the city together in support of entrepreneurship and innovation.” says new Lead Organizer Austin Lopesilvero. “The Software Guild, first-time signature sponsor, has played a significant role in making this weekend a reality. Forest Giant and Composable Systems have also stepped up to the plate, bringing both financial support and promotional material, including this year’s t-shirt design.”

Here’s how it works: On Friday night, attendees will take the open mic to pitch their ideas to the group in 60 seconds or less. After groups form, the rest of the weekend will be spent formulating the most popular ideas with the help of mentors and seasoned startup entrepreneurs. By Sunday, teams will be ready to present their ideas in front of a panel of judges who will award prizes, including legal services, pre-accelerators and more, all of which are targeted to continue to help teams build their startups after the weekend.

Other sponsors of the weekend include Humana, UPS, New2Lou, Connecting Things, The Mayor’s Summerworks Program, Fort Phelps Legal and Business Counsel, LaunchIt by Nucleus, and Derby Wars. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.StartupWeekendLouisville.org. Tickets are still available for purchase via Eventbrite.

About Startup Weekend Louisville: Startup Weekend Louisville is an intense 54-hour event where local entrepreneurs, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, startup enthusiasts and anyone interested in building a business will come together to share ideas, form teams, and launch a startup. Follow us on Twitter @SWLouisville.

About Startup Weekend: Startup Weekend™ supports the development and expansion of entrepreneurship through events worldwide that educate aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market. Startup Weekend has built a network of nearly 200,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and 100 trained facilitators spread across more than 300 cities in 150 countries. Kauffman Foundation, Google, Microsoft, .Co, Sendgrid and Cloudmine are sponsors. For more information, visit www.startupweekend.org or follow us on Twitter @startupweekend.


A Word from Our Sponsor: Forest Giant

Forest Giant will be sponsoring the eighth iteration of Startup Weekend Louisville to help develop the city’s growing business community. Founder and CEO Dave Durand has been an active participant from the start and recalls the early days before Startup Weekend Louisville began.

“When I moved to Louisville in 2004 there was a small entrepreneurial community. The web hadn’t blown up with chatter about startups; no one knew what a VC or a term sheet was. In 2010 we got involved with bringing accelerators to Louisville. Although the city really struggled to support those startups once they graduated, they empowered the startup community to see that there are outlets for them to learn and engage in building businesses. From that time period Startup Weekend emerged.”

Since the very beginning, Durand and the Forest Giant team have set out to innovate and inspire. Ranging from city-enhancing projects like Resurfaced to city-centric apps like Louisville Love, Forest Giant has played an active role in developing and representing the city. Sponsoring an event like Startup Weekend Louisville is in the same vein: making Louisville better, together.

During Startup Weekend Louisville’s inaugural event in 2012, the Forest Giant founder played a dual role as mentor and participant. Durand collaborated with three other local tech and business professionals to create CityAnchor, a blog aggregator that showcased the best Louisville-centric blogs in one place. Although competition was fierce, the team won.

“I have a special place in my heart for Startup Weekend to not only teach new entrepreneurs, but creatives, developers, and all minds alike. Startup Weekend is an essential piece for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Louisville. I am really excited that we have it here and am honored to play a part in helping to push the effort forward.”

Forest Giant is proud to be a part of the growth of entrepreneurs in the city of Louisville. The growth, energy, and good that will come from this year’s event and the events for years to come is something we are delighted to be a part of.

About Forest Giant

Forest Giant is company of designers, developers, and strategists driven by opportunities to solve complex problems using software and technology. Learn more about our latest project, Helm, or view our work at www.forestgiant.com. Forest Giant is proudly based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Hustle, Tips to Generating Revenue with Startup Weekend

About the author: Glenn Vicary participated in Louisville’s 7th Startup Weekend in 2015..

Startup weekend might be competition, but the experiences you gain are the real prize. It’s a great weekend full of new experiences and connections. This year, startup weekend is located at the University of Louisville College of Business, a great place with history of entrepreneurship. Everyone can read books and talk about achieving their ideas, but why not spend two days making it a reality? Start-up weekend is a crazy blur of working on an idea with people and help making it happen. Each person is unique, which is why startup weekend groups people into three categories; hustler, programmer and designer. This way, individuals can use their strengths, or develop new ones.

Do you know how to convince a stranger to buy a new product? Your widget will need a great website and a way to accept payment. How about making cold calls to find experts to give input in your business’s formation? Now what about within a 48-hour period?

We finally settled on creating a pizza Priceline service. By the end of the weekend, we had created a website, developed a working contract with local pizzerias, received angry phone calls from hotels for soliciting their customers, and most importantly, sold pizzas to people GENERATING REVENUE! More importantly, we had developed a tremendous network of friends and contacts.

It’s a great process, because you are given the opportunity to pitch your own ideas, but also choose which team you would like to work with. Additionally, they always have great mentors who are there to help you develop your project and and skillset. I highly recommend participate in this rewarding opportunity.

RSVP for Startup Weekend #8 today!
Note: Early bird pricing ends Friday, February 12 at 11:59PM.

If you read this post after March 11-13, 2016, always visit http://www.louisvillestartupweekend.org for the next event.

Startup Weekend Louisville Returns On March 11-13

During the weekend of March 11 – 13, Louisville will once again become a hotbed of startup activity.  Startup Weekend Louisville is a 54-hour event with a place for almost anyone – entrepreneurs, product developers, designers, makers, students, artists, engineers, marketers and inventors.  At Startup Weekend they’ll connect with peers, resources and mentors to help them jumpstart their business ideas. The College of Business at the University of Louisville, home to nationally ranked entrepreneurial programs, will host Startup Weekend Louisville.

How Startup Weekend Works

A Startup Weekend is unique – there’s nothing else like it. It’s not a pitch contest, it’s not a hackathon and it’s not a business plan competition. On Friday night attendees with new, undeveloped business ideas can make a 60-second pitch to the audience. After choosing the most popular ideas through a voting process, teams form organically around them. Then it’s a frenzy of business model creation, market validation with customers, and building a minimally viable product. Entrepreneurial leaders from the community offer support and critical feedback on Saturday and Sunday, and on Sunday evening each startup team presents to a panel of judges who select a winner. To help foster the nonstop startup experience, Startup Weekend includes meals and snacks for participants.

Like most startups, Startup Weekend Louisville runs on a shoestring budget – all of the organizers, mentors and judges are volunteers, and local sponsors contribute money, goods or services to help offset the cost of the event.  Participants can register by visiting StartupWeekendLouisville.org

Louisville’s First Startup Weekend at The University of Louisville

Startup Weekend Louisville will be hosted at the University of Louisville College of Business.  “UofL College of Business students, alumni and faculty share a rich history of entrepreneurship and are frequently recognized in national and international rankings.  We are honored to host Startup Weekend’s budding entrepreneurs and look forward to what they create during the weekend event,” commented Interim Dean Dr. Rohan Christie-David.

Suzanne Bergmeister, a Startup Weekend volunteer, mentor and Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville added.  “As the Entrepreneur in Residence, I share with students that no business plan or idea survives first interaction with customers.  Startup Weekend’s format teaches rapid feedback from potential customers so that the ideas can be quickly refined and improved.”

About Startup Weekend

Since its founding in Boulder, CO in 2007 over 1,500 Startup Weekends have been held in over 400 cities around the world. Over 100,000 entrepreneurs have been involved, and over 8,000 startups have been created. Google, Amazon Web Services and Coca-Cola are sponsors.

High School Senior Leads Team JobTrack to SW Lex Victory

Monica and Nerf from team JobTrack

Congratulations goes out to all the teams that participated in Startup Weekend Lexington 2015. We had some incredible technical achievements, including virtual-reality software and 3D-printed hardware. We ate some delicious food and stayed well-caffeinated with drinks from Ale8 and Common Grounds. And we had lots of fun, from building paper towers, to pulling all-nighters getting a prototype ready, and making new friends and potential future business partners. Following in the footsteps of SW Louisville, this year’s SW Lex event was won by a team led by Isaac Rowe (aka Nerf), a high school senior. JobTrack’s team includes Monica Leslie and Will Swinton-Ginsberg.

Our top three teams were:

  1. JobTrack – an eTranscript to connect online learners with job recruiters
  2. IntraFeed – an internal business solution for gathering employee feedback
  3. Lapper – advanced human / dog shared hydration device

These teams scored higher on the judging criteria, which included Customer Validation, Execution / Design, and Business Model. Our top 3 teams will go on to represent SW Lex in the Global Startup Battle – Champions Track. Lapper was also recognized as the community favorite team, while PikaPic received honorable mention from the judges, and VReader was highlighted for its Big Idea and technical achievement.

A few stats on this event:

  • 68 total attendees
  • 45 participants
  • 28 ideas pitched on Friday
  • 9 teams formed
  • 7 startups presented on Sunday
  • 7 sponsors
  • 6 organizers
  • 6 coaches
  • 3 judges (from 3 cities in KY)

The story of last year’s winner, FinanceU, should serve as a reminder to all our teams of what can grow out of Startup Weekend. Since SW Lex 2014, FinanceU has entered other startup pitch contests, raised over $15k on Kickstarter, and launched a fully-functional product.

Startup Weekend Lexington 2015 – Demo list

SW Lex 2015 pitches

Here are the 7 demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Lexington 2015. In addition to competing for some great prizes from our sponsors, the top 3 teams from SWLex will go on to compete against teams from around the world in the Global Startup Battle – Champions Circle. For a quick recap of the weekend so far, check out pictures on Flickr and updates on Twitter.


Last week for Early-Bird tickets!

The Early Bird... (in this case, the Wandering Albatross)

So, you survived the mega-Lexington weekend of Breeder’s Cup, Halloween, and UK vs Tennessee football. You’re still getting over the delicious taste of kettle corn and other street food from the downtown festival vendors, and you’re contemplating the void between now and Thanksgiving. What will you do for these empty few weeks of November?

Come to Startup Weekend Lexington 2015, of course! This is the last week to snag early-bird tickets, so be sure to register by Friday (Nov. 6) before the price jumps from $50 to $75. This is still a steal for 7 meals and 54 hours of immersive entrepreneurship with your friends.


This message brought to you by my favorite early bird, the Wandering Albatross.

Where Are All The Women Entrepreneurs?


tl;dr – special SW Lex promo code for women!

Melissa Chipman recently wrote an excellent article on the upcoming Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame (EHoF) induction ceremony, another event happening during Global Entrepreneurship Week. After highlighting the five Kentucky entrepreneurs who will be inducted this year, she pointed out some interesting statistics about EHoF inductees: “It’s worth noting there is only one woman in the Hall of Fame — iPay Technologies’ Dana Bowers — and there are 29 men. There also is only one person of color.”

When you’re the only one of something in the room (as Melissa was the only woman at SW Lou in 2012), it can feel kind of awkward. You may ask yourself questions like, “Am I supposed to be here?” or “Am I good enough for this?”. As Melissa’s team went on to win SW Louisville in 2012, the answers to those questions became quite apparent: the Y chromosome is not the carrier of some magical entrepreneur gene. Melissa has been an outspoken champion for improving diversity of age, gender, and race in Kentucky’s startup communities ever since. With this article she highlights that while times are changing, the EHoF’s recognition of historical achievements noticeably lags behind the present.

So, how about some self-assessment on diversity in our Kentucky startup scene? If we use EHoF inductees as a dataset, we’re not as bad at diversity as local university presidents. But it does seem odd that for a state with demographics of 50.8% women, we only have 4% women in the EHoF (25% for Emerging Entrepreneurs, a more current category). Our numbers aren’t quite as far off when it comes to people of color, as Kentucky is only 12% non-white and EHoF inductees are 4% non-white (10% for Emerging Entrepreneurs). Since it takes a while to grow a large company (and to make a cultural change), we don’t expect any sudden changes in these demographic numbers for Hall of Fame inductees, but we do expect the Emerging Entrepreneurs category (showcasing success-in-progress) to more accurately reflect the diversity of Kentucky’s population.

The Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame states that, “Our mission is to raise awareness of the impact that entrepreneurship has made in the Commonwealth and encourage others to pursue similar ambitious endeavors.” I think it’s doing a good job with Part 1, showcasing that successful entrepreneurs are not all from California or New York, but are Kentuckians just like all of us. Yet for Part 2 of the mission statement, Melissa’s note reminds us that people are often more inspired by stories similar to their own. I’m more inspired by Ralph G. Anderson, a UK Engineering grad like myself, than by Mark Zuckerberg (who kinda went to Harvard for a while).

We can’t change Kentucky’s past, but we can change our future. To help do this in one small way, we’re offering a special scholarship rate to women for Startup Weekend Lexington 2015. Enter promo code women2 to save 50% off registration, and bring your crazy startup ideas, exquisite design sense, and elite hacker skills with you for the Nov. 20th – 22nd event!

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