RVA Startup Weekend 2013 Photos


Attend the Sunday Night Pitch Showdown

Sunday 7/28 – Doors Open @ 5:30PM

We welcome the Richmond community to join us for cocktails and light dinner fare at the University of Richmond’s Queally Hall as we wrap up the 54 hour hackathon with the most exciting hours of Startup Weekend. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show as the teams white knuckle their way through 5 minutes of pitching their newly created businesses to a panel of discerning judges only to endure an additional 5 minutes of grueling questions and answers to validate their products and design.
You won’t want to miss this event and you certainly won’t be disappointed! What will be the next big startup idea in RVA? There is only one way to find out.


Tickets are just $20 and include dinner, beverages, networking, and much more!


University of Richmond’s Queally Hall
1 Gateway Rd
University of Richmond, VA 23173
Get Directions


Simple Surveys (1st place)

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BrandVox™: Brand Character Profile™:

The secret to better business is creating an emotional connection with your customers. From social media to legal, ops to sales, and everything in between, BrandVox gives you the tools you need to create cohesive and alluring communication that truly connects with your customers.

What you’ll get:
Half day strategic planning meeting moderated by Andrea Goulet Ford
Brand personality consultation with up to three business stakeholders
35-page presentation with:
Visual representation of your brand’s personality
6 distinct personality types of your organization
Writing techniques mapped to each personality
Sample copy of using your brand’s voice in 8 key business areas.

The ideal tool to help you:
Stand out among your competition
Connect more authentically with your clients
Direct future design and web projects

Andrea Goulet Ford is an experienced writer and Content Strategist who is on a mission to save the world from corporate babble — one concise sentence at a time. Her firm, BrandVox™, help brands attract and retain loyal customers by bringing authenticity and personality to their brand voice. Andrea has worked with many Fortune 500 and government organizations, including Capital One, Verizon, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and nTelos. She’s the co-founder of RVA Content Strategy and a proud member of 804RVA.

GroundWork Design:Custom Application Planning Consulting

Take your startup weekend application idea to the next level.
GroundWork Design will consult to determine all necessary application functionality, create information architecture, wireframes, and functional specifications (development requirements, environment parameters, etc.) so that when development time or resources available, fleshed-out plan is in place to build and internet-scale application.  No software development is included.

804RVA: Coworking Membership for your Team

Coworking at 804RVA is more than having a place to work– you get to be part of the wolf pack and join our awesome community of startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Choosing this package as a prize will give you 6 months of the best days of your life for you and your team.


Threshold Counsel: Legal Package

– Forming a business entity
– Co-owners’ operating agreement or shareholder agreement
– Drafting and discussion of up to three customer or client contracts and vendor or subcontractor contributors
– Identification of key intellectual property and overall strategy to clear and protect that IP
– Terms of Service and Privacy Policies for their web site

Prize is limited to that list of five things and does not include filing for protection of IP or working with investor(s) for funding transactions.  If the company isn’t local to RVA, services will be coordinated via phone, email, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc.


Campfire and Co: Design Package

description coming soon


Kid Cosmonaut: Logo design

A logo plus a revision for a team. The prize will consist of 4 logos being designed and then the team will be able to choose one to be finalized. The prize must be used within 6 months of Startup Weekend.

Lighthouse Labs: Power Networking

Lighthouse Labs offers the opportunity for select introductions to our mentor community to take your idea to the next level. First, you will sit down with the managing director of the program and determine who can be of help to move your concept forward. Personal introductions will follow to key founders, mentors and friends in the startup community that you can invite to your personal network of greatness!


description coming soon


One Duck Creative: Animated Video

A motion-graphics animated video. Custom storyline, script doctoring, storyboards, audio, and animation.


Coshx Labs

Half Day Planning Workshop from Coshx Labs – In this workshop, we dig deep into your primary product goals, and construct prioritized user stories that align the development plan with your product goals. The results from this workshop can be used as an RFP to solicit bids, or as a project plan to build an MVP in a cost effective manner.


Emergent Social Solutions


Not only did you make through Startup Weekend (on NO SLEEP I’m sure), you took an idea, made it real and did it in a way that impressed the judges enough to beat out all of your competitors!

Chances are, you’ve set up a few social media sites already. However, you may need some direction, industry insight or just someone to bounce your ideas off of in-order to keep the momentum going and build a successful following on social media.

That’s what this free consultation is for.

Your free, one hour strategy session will include:

  • An assessment of your current social media profiles
  • Social media goal setting
  • A discussion about platforms to use
  • Social media strategy development
  • Content plan development


Sublimata – Innovation consulting

Strategic Growth Consulting for Startups

Your team gelled, you came up with a great first pitch, your MVP isn’t too buggy, maybe you even won RVA Startup Weekend – but what comes next? Chris Busse of Sublimata will work with your startup to do a one-hour assessment and three hours of consultation to help you and your team work through the next steps along your path to success. Subjects addressed can cover: scalability (business & technical), attracting an audience and customers, finding and pitching investors, and measuring and presenting the data that makes the case for why you deserve funding (or justify and support an organic growth path).

RVA Startup Weekend 2012 – Pitches and Winning Groups – Videos

Simple Surveys (1st Place)

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These are a couple of videos from last year’s Startup Weekend initial pitches and winning groups.

Initial Pitches (For Vote-Selected Group)

RVA Startup Weekend – September 7-9, 2012

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 Winning Groups

ShareGrown (3rd Place)

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EventSpaces (2nd Place)

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Simple Surveys (1st Place)

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RVASW Alumni Reunion & 2013 Info Session

To get everyone excited for our next RVA Startup Weekend, we’re throwing a pre-party for RVA Startup Weekend Alumni and interested participants to come together to talk about last year’s event and learn about the upcoming event.

Come out to A2 Restaurant on June 27th and enjoy a cocktail and some great appetizers.
Space is limited so be sure to get your ticket early!

More events of note for you starters!

More events of note for you starters!

Enjoy Startup Weekend?  If you did then one of the main reasons was probably the opportunity you had to meet other starters and build relationships.  Well, it may be a few months before an official Startup Weekend event comes back around to RVA but that does not mean the region and RVA do not have some sweet ways to plug in now!

Looking for another 54 hours of madness?!  Head out to Charlottesville, the birthplace of our own Startup Weekend leadership team, to make progress on your next big idea or be a help to others.   Kicks off Friday October 26th with all the information you need to know at http://charlottesville.startupweekend.org/ .  If you are still too tired from September’s RVA Startup Weekend then consider these other interesting October treats!

Early October

  • Plug into 804RVA @ (http://www.804rva.com/classes–events.html) .  Your premiere community for co-working offers many special opportunities to connect with community.  In fact, 804RVA turns 1 this Wednesday, October 3,  so stop in for cake and join Jelly Day!Good grief developers – even more opportunity for you to connect at Richmond Code Camp, October 6.  Details @ http://richmondcodecamp.org/.

Mid October

  • StartRVA (www.meetup.com/StartRVA) is currently recruiting developers and designers Hack4EDU where cash is on the table for 24 hours of your best creative thinking and application development around Department of Education Data.  Details @ http://www.apps4va.org/hackathons.html.  Takes place October 19-20.

Late October

StartRVA and 804RVA also have something BIG brewing for Tuesday, November 13th so save that evening on your calendar and be on the lookout for details regarding that event and maybe a few other October surprises on this same “bat channel” dedicated to helping you build your business, hone your skills, launch your next great idea and help others just like you!

What we learned at Startup Weekend RVA

What we learned at Startup Weekend RVA


The first RVA Startup Weekend was truly a unique experience.  If you gave your all as participant, leader, organizer or mentor you should have walked away exhausted, excited and inspired all at once!  Let’s take a look at look back at what we learned.

RVA is creative.
With a little over 80 people actually working in teams during the event it was amazing to see 38 (or was that 39) 60 second pitches on the first Friday night!  Those ideas ran the spectrum including:  gardening, enterprise applications, crashing on couches, flash mobs, musical apps, skipping lines and of course our winner simple surveys.  Running with those ideas were teams of designers, developers and even good old fashioned business folk working together to go from zero to hero in a single weekend.  A tough task for the strongest teams much less the fact that many of them had just met each other Friday night for the first time!  Startup Weekend clearly stretches everyone’s creativity.

Community is powerful.
Despite the fact the teams were competing they still helped each other succeed.  For example, our fearless designers were bouncing from team to team lending a helping hand.  Our mentors engaged over long stretches of time all weekend sharing insight and serving as a catalyst for teams to push forward.  Even after one team decided to stop work on its idea those same team members returned to dive into other teams and were welcomed with open arms.  And finally, the broader community enables the whole program to succeed by chipping in as sponsors including our incredible hosts CRTTanaka.  No doubt the RVA innovative and creative communities are coming together and growing by leaps and bounds and as long as we recognize and continue to help each other the sky is the limit for RVA entrepreneurism!

Always be learning.
If Startup Weekend is anything it is a learning experience, from inspiring keynote speakers Peter Fraser and Aneesh Chopra to the main event itself.  We all know it takes far more than 54 hours to build a successful venture and that did not magically change but for many who attended the weekend they learned the value of lean methods, team building and being focused in achieving any vision.  It was also easy to realize that we can do more than we think when we are open to learning from others.

So, let’s continue to create new things, build community and keep learning!  Then the 54 hours of Startup Weekend RVA will carry us forward until Startup Weekend RVA: The Second Act when we will introduce more friends to our journey.  And if you get a chance do not forget to thank those who enabled all of us to learn these lessons at Startup Weekend:  CRT/Tanaka, Virginia War Memorial, CapTech, EnterBridge, Miles Finch Innovation, CIT, Dominion Digital, Create Digital, UDig, 804RVA, Techead, Keither, Ecstatic Labs, github, VCU Tech Transfer, RichTech, GroundworkDesign, NimblePitch, Yang Business Services, Social Savvy Geek, MOO, Threshold Counsel PC, WorkIT Richmond, BigSecret along with Startup Weekend’s global sponsors .CO, Microsoft BizSpark, Cloudmine, SendGrid, Domain.com, Google for Entrepreneurs and the Kauffman Foundation!

So, start dreaming up your next idea and we will see you again real soon!

And the winners are…!?!

Building a business in 48 hours

September 9, 2012 – Jacob Geiger, Work It, Richmond

Chances are you’ve never heard of Simple Survey, a startup that makes it easy for restaurants to get feedback from customers.

After all, the company didn’t even exist at 9 p.m. Friday night.

But marathon sessions of strategic planning, web development and customer surveys this weekend brought the company to life. A group of entrepreneurs who spent the weekend developing Simple Survey pitched their concept Sunday night during the conclusion of Richmond’s first-even Startup Weekend at the Virginia War Memorial and took first place.

The idea for Simple Survey grew out of separate pitches Friday from Rob Forrest, who was thinking about new ways to do surveys, and Martin Romero, who pitched an idea for creating paperless receipts that could be sent to phones.

Once they recruited additional team members, the group spent Saturday talking to local restaurants. Owners and managers told the team they struggled to get consistent feedback from customers and want an easier way to get that feedback.

Helen Dow, an accountant on the team, said she was impressed by the product’s financial viability.

“I think the customer research we did was key,” she said. “We’re going to meet soon and set up the corporate structure. We definitely plan to keep going with this.”

The other team members were Chase Worthington, James Goodwillie, Lee Gimpel, Joey Figaro, Hope Norman and Tim Masterson.

Startup Weekend is a global series of events backed by The Kaufman Foundation

Twelve businesses pitched their ideas Sunday evening. The 12 were selected by the Startup Weekend participants from a pool of 38 pitches delivered Friday evening when the event began.

Second place went to Event Space, a website that lets venues promote themselves online and helps organizations seeking a venue search based on various criteria.

Among the six judges was Karen Booth Adams, a serial entrepreneur who has launched 10 businesses in Richmond over the past 20 years. Her company, Hot Technology Holdings, has sold seven of those businesses and continues to run the other three. Also serving as judges were Ryann Lofchie Wayne and Ned Wheeler, CEO and COO respectively of The Frontier Project, a business strategy company.

Judges considered four topics when evaluating the companies.

Customer validation: The startups used online and face-to-face surveys to judge the market for their product.

Execution: What did the company build during the weekend? Did the idea change over that time?

Business model: Judges used the Q&A period after each pitch to ask about revenue projections and the competitive landscape each company would face.

Future plans: Who would serve on the development and management team as the business grew?

The teams took a break from their planning Saturday to hear from Aneesh Chopra, who served as the United States’ first chief technology from 2009 to 2012. Chopra, who announced this summer that he would run for lieutenant governor, spent an hour with the teams. His remarks also were telecast to a Startup Weekend in Lincoln, Neb.

On Friday night, Julia Pfaff pitched a proposal to build a mobile app that would help gardeners trade vegetables. Say someone had lots of extra zucchini and wanted to trade some for a neighbor’s tomatoes. Pfaff and Kelly Ward, an art designer, joined forces Friday night and got to work on their new company, which they named ShareGrown. They also got help from Anthony Peng.

“We built a [mobile] app over the weekend, mapped out the website landing page and started designing the back-end database,” she said.

Sunday Pitch Order

Sunday Pitch Order

The Startup Weekend Richmond teams have really transformed over the weekend and we’re excited for them to pitch for all of you this evening.

If you haven’t purchased your Sunday Presentation Viewing Ticket, you can do so here. Presentations begin at 6:00pm at the Virginia War Memorial.

And now, drum roll please….the pitching order!

[UPDATE] Check out the original Friday night pitches by tonight’s teams to get a taste of how they’ve changed.

Start Virginia

WedSpark – A social community for finding and sharing wedding ideas visually.

Reward My Journey – Aligning small businesses in the fight to attract new customers, and rewarding customers for staying loyal to locally owned small businesses!

Mobstarter – Your crowd. See It Develop. Make It Happen.

Light the Music – Music creation application for iPad.

FireBuildr – Crowdsourcing ideation to simplify creation, we’re fueling the discovery process by connecting users and sparking collaboration.

ShareGrown – Share abundance to grow vibrant communities.

Event Space – The one-stop hub to list and/or find space for corporate and special interest organizations.

Simple Survey – Making it easier to get high quality, actionable customer feedback and competitor benchmarking.

Skipr – Stop waiting in line and start enjoying yourself.

Creative Core – Developing an interactive questionnaire to help creative designers get better information form clients at project inception.

Sangline – Facilitate the online shopping process by providing users with a highly curated service based around idealized, 1-dimensional “characters”, or “archetypes”.

Roho Brosa – Provide the music community a website to find a new artist, and fellow musicians and venues.

Tips for Teams

From mentor Wren Lanier –

Teams: Are you feeling unfocused? Wondering if you’re doing everything you need for Sunday night? Here’s a quick guide to the four areas you need to focus on.

1. Validation

Judges are going to want to see validation for your business idea. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all process; each team will need to validate in a way that’s most effective for proving your customers exist and their need is real.

Some validation strategies:


Surveys have been popular with several teams. They’re a quick way to gather feedback, but you have to be able to demonstrate to the judges that the people who filled out your survey ACTUALLY ARE your potential customers, and not just your mom and your friends and your StartupWeekend buddies.

Get out there and find your customers on message boards, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags. Post your survey as widely as possible, and be ready to tell the judges why your survey matters.

Facebook Page

Create a Facebook page for your business, and collect as many Likes as you can. Put as much info about your product — including photos, mockups etc — on the page to attract people’s interest. Be ready to share your number of fans with the judges when you pitch. The more, the better!

Landing Page

Tools like LaunchRock make it easy to put together a quick, attractive landing page for your startup to capture interest from potential users. This is a numbers game too; have your social media and marketing folks promote your site as widely as possible to get the maximum number of sign-ups.

Face to Face interviews with your potential customers

For some teams, your customers aren’t just on the Internet — they’re behind the bar or behind the cash register, busy with their own businesses. GET OUT OF THE ROOM AND MEET THEM. Talk to them about your project, get their feedback, and get quotes about their needs that you can present on your website or in your pitch. Even better, talk to them about your pricing and your business model. Will they pay what you’re planning to charge? The judges will want to know.

2. Business Model

Have you read the Judging Criteria for the competition? It outlines all the pieces of your business model that you need to figure out.

  1. Who is your customer?
  2. What is your core value proposition?
  3. What are your key activities?
  4. What are your revenue streams?
  5. What is your cost structure?
  6. Who/what are your key partners/resources?
  7. What are your distribution channels?
  8. What is your roll-out strategy?

The more detail you have for each one of these items — and the more evidence you have to validate your assumptions — the stronger your case for winning will be. Don’t save this stuff for the last minute; the choices you make here should inform every aspect of your design and demo.

3. Demo

This is the nitty-gritty: what have you built? Every team should build at least a single-page website for their business describing who you are, what you do, and the unique value you offer. Show the judges that you mean business.

Beyond that, you should have something that demonstrates how your business will work. Whether it’s a demo website, a set of mockups, or diagrams that describe how your product or process works, your demo should be illustrate the unique value that your startup provides. Are you streamlining a complicated process into something simple? SHOW US HOW. Are you connecting potential buyers with potential sellers? SHOW US HOW. Your demo should prove that you’ve passed beyond the idea stage into the execution stage.

4. Pitch

On Sunday night, you’ll have 5 minutes to make your case to the judges. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Energy and enthusiasm: This is your baby! You’re going to be tired after a long weekend, but don’t let it show. Instead, help the judges see how much you love your project and how proud you are of what you’ve done.

Slides are not a script: Keep your slides as concise as possible. More pictures, less words. Don’t stand there and read from your slides; use them as supporting material for your pitch instead.

Choose your numbers carefully: When pitching your business, don’t overwhelm the audience with a shower of numbers and facts. Quality over quantity; build your pitch around your 3-4 most powerful numbers — the numbers that validate your idea and that prove the revenue potential of your company. Save the rest for Q&A, and impress the judges when you can rattle them off like a pro.

Be memorable: There will be a lot of teams pitching back to back. Make it easy for the judges to remember you and what you’ve done. You don’t have to be cheesy or gimmicky, but an interesting slide design or wearing a brightly colored shirt can help you stand out from the pack.