One of the reasons that Startup Weekend model is so accessible to the community is the generosity of businesses and organizations, ones that see the value in encouraging and fostering a culture of innovation in their areas of operation.
The University of Washington was our first sponsor. Through the efforts of the university’s Assistant Vice Chancellor, Kelly Snyder, we were provided an excellent event venue, including a lecture hall perfect for pitches and final demos, a “Collaboratory” which is ideal for working teams to hammer out ideas, and other rooms, including the Commons. With wi-fi, ample room, and security for teams to leave equipment overnight, this magnanimous arrangement couldn’t have been better for our needs. UW Bothell’s impressive academic programs are breaking new ground in STEM fields among many others. We’re excited to have the involvement of faculty and advisory board members as well.
Our first cash sponsor at the Gold level was Product Creation Studios. Located in the bustling south Lake Union area on Westlake and sitting above the space-age TESLA Motors dealership, the creative professional team at PCS engineers and designs products, both for startup entrepreneurs and for large enterprise. Their facility is an inventor’s wonderland, with machine tools and every design capability imaginable. Dave Szakelyhidi took a special interest in Health Startup Weekend and not only arranged for sponsorship, but also joined our team as an organizer, which represents an impressive commitment to our goals. Later, PCS heard about our need for a logo design and moved forward with it, producing an excellent design. Really, I think it’s one of the best logos I’ve seen for a Startup Weekend, and perfectly blends the uniqueness of our event with the worldwide UP Global design:
Our most recent Silver sponsor was the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. With long-standing roots in Silicon Valley and fourteen offices in technology, business, and regulatory hubs worldwide (including Seattle) WSGR has a national presence with a global reach. They’ve helped many entrepreneurs navigate the legal processes of launching, funding, and growing companies.
Without these sponsors, the organizers and I wouldn’t be able to make this event happen. Thanks again to all of them for their support.
Do you think you must have technical knowledge about medical engineering to come to an event like Health Startup Weekend? Or that you have to be involved in the health or biomedical industry in some way? Good news. Everyone is welcome. You only need a tangible idea to solve a problem, and the drive to share it.
Take for example the story of Daniela Luzi Tudor, who led a team at Startup Weekend Kirkland in Nov. 2014. Daniela, the community development manager for General UI, lived in five countries in Europe before moving to the US west coast. She is passionate about music, technology, startups, art, and traveling. Another one of her ventures, SoundStrokes, brings music or sound into a visual medium: art from emotionally-relevant sounds.
Her pitch to Startup Weekend drew the attention of a team, and they chose the name EsperLINQ. They set out to design a mobile application and a biometrics & recovery-activities-tracking wearable to help the 25 million people in recovery. Her story could be similar to yours. She had a good idea for a long time, as she puts it, “in the back of my mind,” but between work and other ventures, hadn’t had the extra time to pursue it, or a team to work with her on it.
Daniela says, “I didn’t arrive with technical background on developing apps or engineering sensors, but I knew I had an important problem to solve and I have launched other startups.” She presented her case during the one-minute pitch session at the Google HQ in Kirkland, and attracted a team of 9 others to help with the project:
Pictured above from L to R: Back Row: Andrea Repka, Ian Lenny, Jacob Kukuk, Martin Ishihara, Dan Tebbs, Jodi Lasky, Michael Doerrie, Jason Jastillana Front Row: Daniela Luzi Tudor, Jen Mallory Not Pictured: Jimmy Taylor
They spent all of Saturday and Sunday morning designing the app, the wearable, and even the branding and landing page (now under re-construction). The pressure was on: other teams were building inventions to control drones with hand gestures, drones to collect water samples, new nurse call buttons to save lives and make assisted care centers more efficient, bluetooth car backup camera, and affordable anti-theft car-tracking devices.
How did things turn out? “We won 3rd Place! Now, we are starting 2015 off to create the real world product and app!” She is in talks with venture capital firms, angel investors, planning for crowdfunding options, and continuing with project development for a new release & rebranding later this year.
But the story doesn’t end there. Within a few days of being a finalist at Startup Weekend, Daniela was flying to Necker Island to spend some time with none other than Sir Richard Branson:
While the back-to-back wins weren’t directly connected, it’s interesting that good things happen when you pursue your dream with all you’ve got. This life isn’t a dress rehearsal.
One of the exciting things about Startup Weekend is a focus on Purpose. Technologies can improve or even save lives, instead of just being another trivial mobile app for a rarified technological elite. Daniela tells us that the EsperLINQ concept would not be where it is if not for taking the plunge that weekend. An event like Bothell Startup Weekend can help you take an idea from something you share with your friends or family over dinner, to something which can become an actual company. Take this opportunity to move your idea from the “sketch on a napkin” to reality. We’d love to help you achieve your dream.