Startup Weekend Stamford 2015 Wrap Up!
On April 12th 2015 the 4th annual Startup Weekend Stamford wrapped up its event with its judges announcing how impressed they were by the innovation and quality of the new business formed in one weekend! The weekend was a huge success! We were sold out on Friday and Sunday nights as people gathered for pitches, presentations, speakers Brian Anderson and Samuel Rockwell and a special presentation from comedic dancing trombonist Jonathan Arons! Click to watch our video
Startup Weekend Stamford 2015 Teams and Winners:
- FIRST PLACE SS SlipShare: “AirBnB for boats” An app to help seafarers find dock space and dining after days or weeks of cruising distant shores, led by Paul & Sherrie Norton
- SECOND PLACE CollegeXchange: An online exchange to help student-run businesses connect, led by David Quito
- THIRD PLACE Punctual Payments: Re-engineering business cash flow with an app to help small businesses collect invoices, led by Srikanth Palla
- MOST PATENTABLE PROCESS: CollegeXchange wins provisional patent drafting and application filing from Wasserbauer Law
- Jiffy: Social networking app for friends and family to connect based on proximity, led by Brandon Carione
- Tree’s Clothing: Online fashion platform to create and buy your own clothes, led by Tree McDermott
- Hawk: Doctor to patient communication using smart devices for chronic care, led by Vikram Bhandari
- Precious Plastics: Eliminating plastic waste by recycling it into biofuel, led by Josh Hudson
- Focus Point: An application to help people with reading disabilities such as dyslexia read text, led by Vincent Cretella
- Rate the Debate: A platform for open and honest debate among opinionated people, led by Eric Ross
SlipShare, the winners of this years #StartupWeekendStamford, will receive six months of co-working at the Stamford Innovation Center, Marketing Strategy and Brand Development from Launch Unlimited LLC with Founder Sharland Blanchard, Dinner hosted by angel investor Tracy Killoren Chadwell with the other judges, Management Consulting from Life in Mobile, and a Promotional Video produced by Hedgeye in their Stamford studios.
The second place team Punctual Payments won trademarking or provisional patent package from Jonathan Winter at SSJ&R (St. Onge Steward Johnston & Reens LLC), three free months co-working space at SIC, Brand Development Consulting from Launch Unlimited LLC. Promotional Video produced by Hedgeye.
Every team attendee receives 1 week of free co-working space at the Innovation Center. To redeem co-working space, please call 203-226-8701.
Participants made some new friends, created some fantastic companies, and learned a lot about building a startup from the ground up. Spending a weekend working hard as a team is a good bonding experience, and I love seeing what sorts of relationships come out of these events. We had 120 people attend Friday night kickoff. Nine startup teams ranging from 5 to 8 people in each team worked together all weekend to turn great ideas into viable businesses.
Opening Night Entertainment, courtesy of Jonathan Arons!
Many Many thanks must go to Grammy winning New York City comedic dancing trombonist Jonathan Arons for livening up our Friday night kickoff! Jonathan has backed up such R&B artists Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and normally charges a pretty penny to open up corporate events. He offered his services pro bono in support of Connecticut Innovation. My dreams of getting people revved for a great Startup Weekend Connecticut experience was quickly falling into place!
A Shared Vision made this Startup Weekend Unrivaled in Connecticut history!
I had a vision that the best way to serve innovators and give startup businesses a real chance at success, I needed to round up prizes in the form of in-kind professional services (to defer expenses that make starting a business tough). I also wanted to make sure new innovators had a chance to experience startup weekend, so we pursued many new entrepreneurial and tech communities and rounded up an outstanding line-up of judges, coaches and volunteer organizers for this year’s event. This could not have been accomplished without the shared vision of dedicated volunteer organizers Will Haire, John Malloy, Chris Higbie, Alan Tan, Bob Trinka, Susan Dallas, Marcela Guaman, Laurie Heiss, Larry Perlstein, Mia Schipani, Diana and Kristen Ackerly, and Lisy Pitruzella. I am particularly grateful for the many hours everyone put in to help push out communications, reach out to sponsors, and communities and commit their time and energy to forging such a positive atmosphere during the weekend.
The Judges – Wow!
As for the judges, Wow! This year, they were more engaged than ever. They were so impressed by the caliber of business models pitched on Sunday night that they stayed to give more feedback to the teams! Startup Weekend Stamford 2015 judging panel included Angel Investor Tracy Chadwell, CEO and co-founder of Madd Gear Brian Anderson, CEO of The Calendar Group and co-founder of Nothin’ But Foods Steve Laitmon, and Daryl Jones of Hedgeye and co-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Contact StartupWeekends@gmail.com if you are interested in attending a follow up session on May 5th or 6th for more feedback and support moving your startup forward.
Coaches – Another amazing feature of Startup Weekend 2015
All of this year’s coaches were either serial entrepreneurs, successful founders of businesses that have scaled online, or become standouts in their industry. Every team had an opportunity to gain insights and guidance from coaches who’ve had to engage customers, gain market share, and scale their businesses online and off. They came from a variety of industries. We were so impressed by this year’s coaches Samuel Rockwell,
Josh Aferzon, Janis Collins, Linda Singh, Doug Campbell, David Tomczyk, Jerry Grammont, Allison Malloy, and Jonathan Yarmis who devoted their Saturday and Sunday to supporting these aspiring founders. We are so appreciative of your efforts. All weekend long we heard from attendees reporting how much they valued your input.
Thanks to the Sponsors for Great Food, Fun and Prizes!
We cannot thank our sponsors enough for believing in us and hosting our meals! Your generosity allowed us to keep ticket prices affordable and make sure teams were well fed and enjoyed themselves during the 54 intensive hours spent building businesses. During such an intensive weekend it is so important to be well fed and hydrated, and a little comfort food always helps. Your contributions made it so much easier to keep such a large group satisfied and we had many people thank us for the quality of the food. Clearly it brought out the best in them, because the ideas were flowing and they had the juice to shift gears when they ran into challenges validating or monetizing their ideas. Every meal was delicious and healthy!
The Top sponsors of this year were Launch Unlimited LLC and Stamford Innovation Center. Launch Unlimited LLC put their business on hold for several months to put together this event. Please contact them for your branding, marketing strategy and media development needs. They have been successfully helping business launch, accelerate and turnaround for over a decade.
The Stamford Innovation Center generously donated the venue and very generous packages of free co-working spaces to all attendees and handled the final cleanup. We can’t thank them enough for that and helping us get the word out to their following of active and aspiring entrepreneurs. The center is such a great place for events with large event space and sun filled break out rooms. Even more importantly, they offer educational programs and events to support startup businesses.
Platinum level sponsors included Damian Wasserbauer and Jonathan Winter of SSJR, who both hosted meals and contributed valuable in-kind intellectual property services to winning teams – Provisional Patent & Trademark Counsel, Search and Filing. At the gold level, we had Digi-Services, CT Innovations’ CTNext, and Quinnipiac University (sending us some student innovators), thanks for helping bring this event to the next level. Startup Weekend had some marvelous silver level sponsors as well. Half Brew donated beer for our Friday night kickoff.
Saturday’s hot eggs and bacon breakfast donated by Seasons’ restaurant was just the fortification teams needed to get them started with the next 40 hours of business building.
Sunday’s breakfast was an absolute treat thanks to WaffleWaffle donating fresh Belgian waffles and Whole Foods of Greenwich donating fresh fruit toppings. HedgeEye (whose founder was one of our judges), First Niagra Bank, Ohlandt Greeley Ruggiero & Perle LLP, Ron & Allison Malloy all sponsored meals and beverages as well. New Sun Cookies sent us healthy, figure friendly fiber and energy cookies.
Speaking of energy, UFC Gym Stamford hosted a special class for attendees in addition to their donation of 1-week passes to all attendees. Neighbors Fast Signs of Stamford and Sir Speedy supported this year’s startup weekend by comping a number of printed items and Hotel Zero Degrees gave attendees great rates on accommodations and a special in kind donation. Life in Mobile donated in-kind consulting to a winning team. The Ferguson Library opened access to their databases for team research.
We are so overwhelmed by the generosity of our sponsors and would like to thank you all on behalf of the attendees, who came up to us many times over the weekend expressing their appreciation. Many, Many thanks!
Event Organizers and Volunteers
As the lead orchestrator of this year’s event, I’d like to take a moment to thank my fellow organizers for give me so much support. I can’t begin to list the many ways you all contributed and made this event a success. Nevertheless, I want to thank you each individually for really coming through and doing such a spectacular job making this year’s event run so smoothly! Thank you John Malloy for the heavy lifting and lining up every meal and beverage setup with the help of Marcela Guaman and Lisy Pitruzella. Thank you Will Haire for showing his support by interviewing writing blogs and helping us rally Quinnipiac and other attendees offering social media and communications support. What would we do without Alan Tan who is such a pleasure to work with, always supportive of the vision, bringing technical support to online efforts, venue logistics and a team of volunteers that offer everything from coding to logistics support. Thank you Mia Schipani, Laurie Heiss, Larry Perlstein for their support reaching out to sponsors and the press. Thanks to Marcela Guaman for rallying volunteers and reachout out to campuses and tech community and for finding us Bob Trinka, who offered exceptional organizational support in the final weeks. Chris Higbie, Susan Dallas, Diana and Kristen Ackerly all were invaluable in helping us complete so many of the communications and outreach efforts required to draw and inform sponsors and attendees – an integral part of pulling together such a big event. Thank you so much for your tireless support in all the preparations and running logistics leading up to and during the event. You all really went above and beyond!
Photographers & Videographers
Many thanks to the photographers who covered this event and donated images: Jadu Durrans, Simon Silverleaf. In particular want to thank Videographer/Editor Eric Psihoules for working with me round the clock on Friday and Saturday to put together a video so we could broadcast our event worldwide within 24 hours. A huge thanks goes to videographers Christopher Spaide on that as well. Matt Szatkowski and Kyle Norton also contributed amazing video work as well!!! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have so much high caliber memorialization of this event. You all blew me away with your talent. flexibility and efficiency.
Thank you Derek Koch, this year’s Startup Weekend Facilitator! Not only did he spend all weekend leading the process, he made several introductions for us, leading to broader attendance of our event. We are so grateful for his support.
This was a Startup Weekend that cannot be rivaled. The vision, focus and endless hours developing this year’s event will not be forgotten. I am so appreciative of your passion and perseverance through many meetings and work sessions prepping to make everything perfect! Thank you for your hard work and most importantly your brilliant personalities. You really made Stamford’s 4th Startup Weekend event better than ever before – a truly exceptional experience.
Want a play-by-play of the weekend? Check out the official @SWStamford twitter account. The entire weekend was live tweeted, and many participants hopped on the #SWStamford hashtag to share photos and memories.
Press articles about this year’s Startup Weekend:
- CT Post: Startup Weekend for April 10-12
- CT Post: Startup Weekend Stamford Posts Prizes
- Stamford Advocate: Venture Capital Funding on Fumes
- Fairfield County Business Journal: Stamford Innovation Center Hosts Startup Competition
- Organizer recap video: Startup Weekend Stamford 2015
- It’s Relevant: Startup Weekend Stamford Comes to a Close
- CT Post: SlipShare Wins Startup Weekend
- Stamford Advocate: Startup Winners Already Facing Competition
Startup Weekend Stamford Hosts:
Launch Unlimited LLC • Growth Strategies, Branding & Media Development – Founder and Chief Strategist Sharland Blanchard 203-663-6640
Stamford Innovation Center • CoWorking Space & educational Center – Peter Propp or Sarah Robinson 203-226-8701
DigiServices, SEO Services Will Haire
Tan 2000 International, Alan Tan