Startup Weekend Winners

We’ve recovered from the Startup Weekend hangover and now have a recap of the inaugural Startup Weekend St. Cloud winners!

Here is a brief rundown of the winners of Startup Weekend St. Cloud:

Special Mention: Dressing Room

Dressing room is a software application that addresses the differences in clothing sizes between brands. With the software that was developed over the weekend, a user can enter his or her body dimensions and Dressing Room will find the exact size you need and also recommend other brands based on what fits you well.

Third Place: Medella

Medella is a website where people can find information on cancer treatment from people who have gone through it. The website allows users to create a profile and connect with people going through the same health issues and share advice and support. Medella also aggregates data on treatments and physicians, giving users another source of information to supplement the official medical studies.

Second Place: Recruit U

Recruit U aims to solve the complicated process of recruiting qualified technical talent. Especially for small to mid-size companies, finding developers can be a real challenge. Using Recruit U’s platform, a developer can take a standardized test and fill out a culture survey. Using the results of the survey and the standardized test, an employer can find the best match and contact the developer directly through the site.

First Place: wants to solve the issue of throwing out stuff that someone could benefit from. Using the app, users can post their items online through a streamlined process. People can then call “dibs” on the free item and arrange to pick it up. plans to launch a beta at St. Cloud State University this spring. will receive $1,500 of social media set up from Dayta Marketing to help capture their first customers!


Everyone from the Startup Weekend would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated, coaches, sponsored, or supported this inaugural event. We truly believe we have found our niche and are working hard to boost the entrepreneurship community in St. Cloud. There was a visible transformation in the participants from Friday to Sunday evening, which was extremely exciting to see.

We will be continuing to announce new events throughout the next few months. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved in any way! We’re always looking for new organizers and fresh perspectives. All of these events are completely volunteer-based, so we welcome the help!

We’ll see you next Wednesday at Startup Drinks! All ages welcome!

Judging Criteria

In just a few short hours, the Startup Weekend teams will be pitching their new companies. The judges will be instructed to evaluate each company on specific Startup Weekend criteria.

The 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?

Best of luck to all teams pitching tonight! Remember, Startup Weekend is less of a competition and more of an experience. It’s not about winning or losing tonight, it’s about the things you’ve learned, the people you’ve met, and the other intangibles that go along with the Weekend.

Have Fun!

What's Being Created at Startup Weekend?

Here is a run-through of all the companies being created this weekend. Full disclosure: this was an inventory of the teams taken at 3pm this afternoon–companies have gone through iterations and could be very different on Sunday evening. Catch all of the pitches Sunday, November 8th at 6:30 in the Pellegrene Auditorium on the campus of St. John’s University!


Medella is an application that would allow a user to input their background – diagnosis, treatments, demographics, and other information into the application. Medella would then aggregate and analyze all of the users’ information and present the results to help them make critical decisions. is a green network platform that connects people to local free things to help students find furniture and eliminate good treasures being tossed in the trash. The rating system creates a safe environment for users and keeps everyone accountable.


FitCentives gives you rewards for reaching your personal fitness goals. You’re not competing against others; you’re competing against the person you were yesterday. is a student-to-student coaching platform that brings students who have completed courses together with students currently enrolled with the course material.


AquaVolt will provide hydroelectric to communities living along a river.

Recruit U

Recruit U is a service focused on pooling top tech talent and making it easier for technology companies to recruit.

To Be Named

This company is setting out to capture your night on the town and create a montage featuring the highlights of the evenings.







5 Things to Expect at Startup Weekend

Guest post from Greg Connell – team member on Startup Weekend Toronto’s first place team and Global Startup Battle Champion (2012) for GroupNotes.


Startup Weekend Toronto 2012 - Groupnotes


1. Late nights and lots of coffee


Startup Weekend kicks off Friday night with 1 minute pitches and ends with the final presentations on Sunday evening. That’s not a whole lot of time to do everything needed to wow the judges, including customer validation, design, and the actual building of your idea. To make the most out of this time, you might have to sacrifice some sleep. Be prepared to stay up late coding and up early the next morning getting back at it. I promise, it’ll be worth it. And coffee helps!


2. Learn something new


Have you been wanting to learn a new coding language like Node.js, play with cool things like Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and 3D Printers, or have an idea you think could turn into a business? Well there’s no better place to do it then a Startup Weekend.


3. Meet some cool people


MakeWorks is going to be packed full of talented designers, developers, hardware hackers, marketers, and people who love startups. Expect to work closely with your team and mingle with everyone else. You never know, that person might be your future co-founder, next employee, or someone who can help you with your day job.


4. Actually build something


Startup Weekend’s slogan is “No talk, All action”. That means there’s no time to hum and haw over options and there’s certainly no red tape to cut though. If you have an idea, you can build it immediately. Aim to have something built by the final presentation on Sunday and maybe, if you’re brave enough, even do a live demo!


5. Mentorship and advice from experts


At Startup Weekend, there will be a whole slew of mentors there to help your team out. These will be people with a whole lot of experience building things so I suggest you ask them questions and have them scrutinize your plan. The more help you get, the better your final pitch will be and the better chance you’ll have at taking home the grand prize!


Bonus: You’ll quit your job and start a company


This might not happen to everyone, but I’m willing to bet it will happen to someone. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll be validating your ideas, talking to customers, and building a ton of awesome things. But after Sunday, everything doesn’t have to stop. You can take what you’ve worked on and turn it into a real business that might even let you quit your job. It happened to my team at Startup Weekend Toronto in 2012. Who will be next?


My Startup Weekend Starter Kit


My name is Kelvin Schutz and I am one of the Startup Weekend St. Cloud Organizers and also a past Startup Weekend participant. From making the decision to attend my first Startup Weekend to putting together my own Startup Weekend event a year and a half later, there are two fundamental things I’ve learned through Startup Weekend:

  • You’re gonna have fun, learn, and be challenged, despite your friends trying to convince you that rewatching every season of LOST with them would be a better use of that weekend. (I know, the strength I must have had to say ‘no’)
  • Your worldview of how businesses get built and how [insert expletive ‘s’ word] gets done, absolutely changes.

If you’ve done Startup Weekend, the first one is a given. Number two is a challenge to put into words, however. To keep a long self-reflection about how I learned and applied Startup Weekend material to my life, without said reflection turning into a badly parodied Rocky montage, I’ve condensed the golden nuggets of such learning into a list of valuable resources. If there were a playlist akin to the jams one listens to before a serious weightlifting routine, I think I’ve got the perfect mix below. Enjoy!

My Startup Weekend Playlist

Steve Blank on Startup Weekend: [At the very least, watch these]
Customer Development – Part 1
Customer Development – Part 2
Customer Development – Part 3
Customer Development – Part 4

The Lean Launchpad – Steve Blank Startup Online Course
80% of Results Come from 20% of the Effort – Understanding the Pareto Principle
The Essentials of Creating a Business in 1 Weekend – A Case-Study with Noah Kagan
How to Build a Web Startup – Using the 10-Step Lean Launchpad Method
13 Ways to $10 Million in Revenue – TechCrunch Teardown
The Pitch Podcast – Hear How Others Pitch Their Startups to Investors
Tim Ferriss & Noah Kagan on Validating Startup Ideas – CreativeLive w/ Tim Ferriss
Ditch the Survey: Customer Development with Empathy Interviewing – Shane Reiser
Steve Blank’s Startup Tools – Mega Resource Website

Rapid Prototyping Tools
Mockingbird – Sometimes, all you need is a mockup to test part of a concept
InVision – When you need a bit of interaction to bring your mockup to life
Unity – If you can learn the basics, it is an EXTREMELY versatile prototyping tool

Validation Tools
Unbounce – Prove that people want the solution/concept you are wanting to make
QuickMVP – Like Unbounce, but adds in some customer research tools
MailChimp – Everyone needs an email list… everyone.

Pre-Startup Weekend Workshop!

We’ll be hosting a pre-event workshop on Tuesday, November 3rd. Rob Weber, CEO and Co-Founder of NativeX, will be giving a presentation on his advice for pitching to investors. After the presentation, we’ll be going over some Startup Weekend basics and giving some tips on how to optimize results during the weekend. It will be a great time to meet people who will be at the event, perfect your pitch (if you have one), and have any questions about Startup Weekend answered.

When: Tuesday, November 3rd 3-5 pm.

Where: The Alumni Room, Atwood Center, St. Cloud State University

This event is not limited to Startup Weekend participants. If you can’t make it, be sure to mark down November 18th on your calendar, when we’ll be having our inaugural Startup Drinks in St. Cloud at the Red Carpet Martini Lounge.


Meet Our Judges

The judging panel has been set for the inaugural Startup Weekend St. Cloud and we couldn’t be more excited. We have an awesome lineup of successful people and great business experience.

Will Imholte

Will Imholte is a Founder and Chief Product Designer at Prime. Prime is a technology company that help people communicate about their health by syncing their medical records from their doctors and providing a private and secure way to message family members. Before founding Prime, Will worked as a designer and developer for various startups in the Bay Area. Will has a BFA from SCSU and is a St. Cloud native. Will is also our keynote speaker. 

Tom Ressemann

Tom has over 25 years of experience in the medical device industry, including positions as founder, President & CEO, Vice President, marketing management, process development engineer and research and development engineer. Tom is currently the President and CEO of Amphora Medical and founded Entellus Medical (recently went public) and Incubex, LLC. He is an inventor on more than 50 U.S. patents.

Leah Leyendecker

Leah is an attorney in the Intellectual Property, Technology and Privacy Practice Group at Gray Plant Mooty. Leah advises clients on trademark and copyright prosecution and enforcement, brand strategy, and privacy and social media issues. She also assists clients in drafting, negotiating, and executing technology, software, licensing, and general corporate agreements. Leah grew up in St. Cloud and went to Apollo High School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of St. Thomas and her JD at the University of Minnesota Law School. Leah enjoys traveling, dancing ballet, playing with her adorable puppy, Harper, and being active.

Doug Ramler

Doug is the Principal of the Entrepreneurial Services and Technology practice groups at Gray Plant Mooty. He cofounded Kipsu, a company leveraging technology for real-time customer engagement. Doug also is an angel investor and founding member of IrishAngels.

Brian Schoenborn

Brian Schoenborn practices out of Stinson Leonard Street’s St. Cloud, Minnesota, office, where he focuses on family and closely held businesses. Brian has substantial experience providing general counsel representation to closely held and family businesses within manufacturing, high technology and sports and entertainment industries. This experience includes business acquisitions and sales, business succession planning, real estate development and estate planning.


We’re looking forward to having the judges evaluate all of the pitches on Sunday evening.

What Should I Bring?

We’re about two weeks away from Startup Weekend St. Cloud and it’s time to address a question that most first-timers and even the Startup Weekend pros have: what should I bring?

Based on Startup Weekend experience, we recommend bringing:

– Yourself

– Laptop

– Power cord (often left at home by accident)

– Notebook

– A second monitor and build tools ready to go (this one is directed at you, developers)

– Cell phone (customer validation is a BIG deal)

– Comfortable clothing

– Headphones

– An open mind and creative energy

What should I leave at home?

– Your suit

– Previously worked-on business ideas

These are just some of the items that we think are essential, feel free to bring whatever you feel will help productivity. Just remember you have to keep track of everything in a chaotic environment.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Startup Weekend St. Cloud

As we inch closer to the launch of Startup Weekend St. Cloud, here are the top five reasons to attend.

1. Expand Your Network
Entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and marketers will be there and you’ll want to connect with them. Local tech and startup leaders will be at Startup Weekend as mentors and judges.  Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in St. Cloud and beyond.  Just look at our judging panel and coaches. Plus, Startup Weekend is a great way to show off your skills and meet awesome talent in the community.

2. Re-Energize
Free your mind off the daily routine and feel inspired by working on a fast paced project or idea for the weekend. At Startup Weekend attendees are excited to participate, work, and to help others create something great.

3. Work Outside of Your Box
“If you’re curious to test the waters as a front-end or backend developer for apps or websites, or if you have a skill for sales communication that you’d like to sharpen, this is the perfect opportunity to dabble. Startup Weekend is a learning environment and there are always people of different skill levels in attendance. Those attending with more experience are happy to teach others and give advice.” -Jaclyn Hudak, Ready Maker Design @JaclynHudak

4. Challenge Yourself
Are you an expert in website design and want to learn app development? Is there an area of design that you wish you had more experience in? Whether it’s creating apps, websites, logos, or marketing, you can join a team who needs you to create something quickly; a great way to challenge yourself and build new skills without the pressure to be absolutely perfect.

5. Build A Business
“The bottom line is that Startup Weekend is the best place to launch a startup. If you’ve had an idea in your head but haven’t done anything about it, there’s no better event to get started. You’ll be surrounded by really smart and driven people who want to work together on building something from the ground up. Maybe you’ll work on your idea, or maybe someone else’s idea will pique your interest. Startup Weekend is the place to validate a business idea, build a product and launch a startup in just 54 hours.” – Mike Chan, Co-founder of Ribl @mikewchan

Convinced? We still have tickets remaining for the event 

2015 Innovation Summit

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the 2015 Innovation Summit, which was organized by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. The event showcased the region’s best and brightest companies and organizations with an emphasis on innovation throughout the St. Cloud community.

I admittedly came into the event a little unprepared– I knew the basics of where I needed to be and when, but that was it. When I arrived, I was blown away by the range of everything on display. The expo floor covered the majority of the Haws room at the River’s Edge Convention Center and included robots, drones, and electric cars. It was incredible to see the amount of innovation happening in our community, and shattered any expectations I had.

The expo was followed by the presentation of the I-Awards and nine different speakers from around the community covering topics such as GREAT Theatre’s impact on the community, agriculture, the development of downtown lofts, conflict resolution, and Startup Weekend St. Cloud coach, Carter Tatge, speaking on the ‘how’ of doing things.

There are so many talented people buzzing around central Minnesota and they all congregated in downtown St. Cloud this morning. It was incredible to see over 500 members of the community come out and support innovation. Even more exciting was the fact that so many established companies supported the event and are continuing to foster innovation in the community. Startup Weekend St. Cloud sponsors DAYTA Marketing, Granite Equity Partners, eBureau, St. Cloud State, and Microbiologics all played a large part in making this event a success and are also the driving force behind Startup Weekend St. Cloud.

The Innovation Summit made us all incredibly excited for what is to come. We’re hoping to harness some of the creative energy in the coming weeks with Startup Weekend and Startup Drinks. The driving force behind these events is to create an outlet for people to innovate and connect with other innovators.

Innovation is alive and well here. Let’s keep it going.

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