70 Attendees – 42 Ideas Pitched – 9 Teams – 3 Judges – 15 Mentors – 20 Pizzas – 60 liters of Soda – 300 Pieces of Sushi
From November 16-18 Techstars Startup Weekend returned to Orlando. The event brought together people with ideas they wanted to pursue and the problems they wanted to solve, but who didn’t necessarily know where to start or who to start with. Techstars Startup Weekend Orlando is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.
The event kicked off on Friday, with dinner and networking, an inspiring speech by Phil Dumas of Unikey, pitching ideas, voting, and forming teams. The ideas pitched and the problem that attendees set out to solve spanned social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. To give you an idea, of the 70 attendees, 42 pitched ideas, but only 9 teams made it through to the end with fully formed teams and presentations.
On Saturday, mentors met with teams to work on their ideas. They refined business models, got them closer to their MVPs, and nudged them to validate their ideas or pivot where necessary. Teams worked out of the Catalyst Spaces venue from 9am to 10pm, with some heading to other locations to continue working through the night.
On the final day, Sunday, teams were back at 9 am to validate their ideas, build their presentations and rehearse their pitches – again with the help of our expert mentors. Teams jumped on these final opportunities to ask their mentors questions and to become as strong as possible for their presentation to the judged.
At 6 pm, we kicked off the final presentations and judging! Pitches were 5 minutes each, with a 3-minute Q&A from the judges. The Startup Weekend judging criteria are broken up into three sections. Teams were judged according to the following 3 criteria, each weighted equally:
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?
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?
The ideas pitched were:
Overall Winner: Gamer Meetups – an all-encompassing platform for gamer communities by curating gaming events, providing forums for gaming communities, and selling merchandise.
1st Runner Up: Voice Adventures – voice-controlled adventure skills for Amazon Alexa
2nd Runner Up: Sensae – A synesthesia training app to improve your IQ
Crowd Favorite: Street to Feet – Mobile app for shoe identification and purchasing
Brite – Blockchain real estate investments for everyone
Solar Central – Personalized solar shopping and educational experience to provide qualified leads to installers
University Project – an online accelerator for academic projects
Hidden Gems – App that helps recommend restaurants and events to locals by locals
Safe Way – IoT safety monitoring system for your car’s interior
Everyone from the Startup Weekend Orlando team would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated, coached, sponsored, volunteered, or supported this annual event. Specifically, we’d like to give a final thanks to our:
Platinum sponsors: Informulate, Catalyst, Talent 4 Startups
Community Partners: Orlando Tech and Beer, Starter Studio, Orlando Economic Partnership, ProfessrJosh, UCF, and Full Sail
Grant supporter: City of Orlando
In-kind sponsors: Doorbell Ninja, MakerFX Makerspace,
Speakers: Phil Dumas – Unikey, Matt Broffman – City of Orlando
Judges: Julianna Ormond – Forensic Strategist, Jason Eichenholz – Luminar Technologies, and Richard Fox – Richard Fox
Facilitator: Josh David Miller (JDM)
Mentors: RC Williams, Udit Mehta, Cameron Ford, Danna Olivo, Vanessa Zabala, Adam Scheinberg, David Brim, Rachel Stern, Chris Giarratana, Jason Wade, Gene McCulley, Beth Kennedy, Angela Kendall, Diane Court, and Marco Santana
Volunteer Leads: Katerina Vazquez, Keyla Reyes, and Lorianne Melendez
From Friday to Sunday evening it was extremely exciting to see how much the participants had transformed, and we received so much positive feedback from people who didn’t know what to expect but walked out of the weekend having learned a lot and having made new connections.
We hope to announce new events throughout the year. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved in any way, as we are always open to fresh perspectives and enthusiasm. Contact our organizing team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, questions or feedback!
Thanks again and see you next time!
– The Startup Weekend Orlando Organizing team
Rajiv Menon, Dennis Pape, Josh Murdock, and Jessica Korthuis