App to Crowdsource Carpooling to the Ski Slopes Takes First Place at Startup Weekend Bozeman

Startup Weekend Bozeman | April 17 - 29, 2015 at Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Montana State University
Startup Weekend Bozeman | April 17 – 29, 2015 at Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Montana State University

In a first for Startup Weekend events in Montana, Bozeman’s event included access to Arduino’s, Raspberry Pi’s and 3D printing for all attendees. These devices helped teams build physical electronic products and prototypes quickly and cheaply. A special thanks to John Allwine and the STEAMlab at the Children’s Museum of Bozeman for making this possible.

“The organizing team and I were amazed at the quality of the ideas and the work ethic displayed at Startup Weekend Bozeman 2015. With the generous support of our sponsors, we watched several business ideas be vetted and products be built in just 54 hours. The economic impact of that cannot be understated. I said at the outset of the planning for this event that if one viable business was created that we’d have a win on our hands. While the number of teams that will continue is undetermined, I’ve already spoken to several that intend to do so. That’s a huge success.” – Ken Fichtler, Lead Organizer

“Hard to imagine a better team than that of Startup Weekend Bozeman. Great people, wonderful new friends, and huge asset for the Bozeman community!” – Buzz Bruggeman, Facilitator

Winning Teams / Prizes

1st place: ShareLift – A crowdsourced share riding service for carpooling to the ski slopes.

  • Meeting with Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • 5 Hours Startup Bozeman Consulting
  • 1 Year MeBox
  • 5 Hours Legal – Dorsey & Whitney
  • Each team member – $20.00 iTunes gift cards
  • Book – The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • $200.00 Advertising from UP Bozeman
  • Custom Company t-shirts – Lone Mountain Printing

“This has been such an incredible weekend for me because I came with an idea but had no idea of its potential. My team helped me realize the potential and help me grow that into something I want to proceed with and now this is something we know we can go national with.” -Sam Kern, Co-Founder & Project Lead at ShareLift

2nd place: WiseHats – Enriching lives by connecting relevant skills and needs to help you unlock your potential.

  • 3 Hours Startup Bozeman Consulting
  • 1 year MeBox
  • 3 Hours Legal – Dorsey & Whitney
  • Each team member – $10.00 iTunes gift cards
  • Custom Company t-shirts – Lone Mountain Printing

3rd place: ScholarshipU – Online platform for students to search for qualifying scholarships easily.

  • 1 Hour Startup Bozeman Consulting
  • 1 year MeBox
  • 1 Hour Legal – Dorsey & Whitney
  • Custom Company t-shirts – Lone Mountain Printing

Crowd Favorite: GazeTyper – a Medical device that allows people with Locked-in syndrome to communicate with people using eye gestures. Based on the open source platform.

  • Book – Business Model Generation
  • 1 Year MeBox

Thank You’s

Speaker: Doug Warner, Founder DropTrip
Mentors/Coaches: John Allwine, Gary Bishop, Danny Choriki, Jake Cook, Les Craig, Dan Simser, Ryan Stout
Judges: Susan Carstensen, Richard Harjes, Mark Jacobs, Liz Marchi, Will Price
Organizers: Kris Bart, Ken Fichtler, Rick Fink, Cody Sauer
Facilitator: Buzz Bruggeman, Co-Founder at ActiveWords & Board of Directors at Demo Conference
Volunteers: Cece Harris, Lindsay Morse, Nathan Stephens
Local Sponsors: City of Bozeman, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Lone Mountain Printing, STEAMlab at the Children’s Museum of Bozeman, Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development, F11 Photo, Frontier Fund II, Pepsi – Harrington Bottling Company, and Workiva.
Local Caterers: Food For Thought, Mackenzie River Pizza, MSU Catering

Startup Weekend Bozeman – April 17-19, 2015 Pitching Order, Format and Criteria

Startup Weekend Bozeman April 17 – 19, 2015

Demo Day Pitch Order

  1. WiseHats
  2. GooglyMoogly
  3. ScholarshipU
  4. ShareLift
  5. Burrito Gram
  6. The Bong Along
  7. MakerPhones
  8. Be Prepared Packs
  9. The SoapBox
  10. GazeTyper

Pitching format: 

  • Each team will have 6 minutes to present.
  • When presenting, the room is yoursUse any visual aids you want. Make it interactive if you can. But remember that you have 6 minutes.
  • Judges will have 5 minutes to ask questions and get feedback from teams. Judging criteria listed below.
  • We will alert you when you have one minute remaining. We will not allow pitches to go long; some of the judging panel members need to leave at a certain time.
  • We will be very strict on timing.

Judging Criteria:


  1. Did the team get out and talk to customers?
  2. Are they actually solving a problem?
  3. What’s their clear value proposition to that customer?
  4. Have they identified a specific target market?

Execution and Design:

  1. Did they work well as a team?
  2. Did they have an MVP or prototype (paper is ok) to present?
  3. How functional was the demo?
  4. Was the usability of the product easy and friendly? Design Matters!

Business Model:

  1. Does their solution solve a core need/problem?
  2. Did they present a value proposition
  3. Is it unique?
  4. How will they differentiate themselves from their competition (did they identify competition)?
  5. What is the go-to-market/launch strategy?
  6. How will they make money?
  7. What is the user acquisition model?

Startup Weekend Bozeman Judges:

  • Susan Carstensen, Angel Investor and Former CFO of RightNow Technologies
  • Richard Harjes, Entrepreneur and Venture Investor
  • Mark Jacobs, CEO of MeBox Media and Business Turn-Around Guru
  • Liz Marchi, Fund Coordinator at Frontier Angel Fund II
  • Will Price, Venture Capitalist and Entrepreneur

Full bios here:

Thank you for participating in Startup Weekend Bozeman! We are excited to see how your ideas have developed over the weekend. Good luck!

Startup Weekend Bozeman Organizing Team
Ken, Rick, Kris, and Cody

Startup Weekend Bozeman kicks of at the new Jake Jabs School of Business & Entrepreneurship


Event Name: Startup Weekend Bozeman
Event Date: April 17 – 19, 2015
Event Times: April 17, 6:30 to 10:00 p.m.;
April 18, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; and April 19, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Event Location: Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Montana State University
Contact: Ken Fichtler, Lead Organizer
Phone Number: (406) 600-3595

What’s happening and who’s it for?

Startup Weekends are 54­-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Local CEOs, founders, startup veterans, attorneys, publishers, professors, and economic developers with entrepreneurship, investing, marketing, and technology expertise will be on hand to coach teams.

In a first for the events in Montana, Startup Weekend Bozeman 2015 will include access to Arduino’s and Raspberry Pi’s for all attendees. These devices can be used to build physical electronic products quickly and cheaply. There will be a multitude of sensors available and experts on hand to help teams that use them. We will also have access to 3D Printing.

UP Global currently powers Startup Weekend, Startup Digest, Startup Next, Education Entrepreneurs, and more. Entrepreneurship is something that can be both taught and learned, and UP Global is on a mission to ensure the world takes advantage of that.

Startup Weekend Bozeman kicks-off with a keynote address from Startup Weekend Bozeman 2014 alum Doug Warner. Doug is the Founder and CEO of DropTrip a startup reimagining the crowdsourced shipping industry.  A cloud technology veteran, Doug has an extensive background in computer science and psychology. He started as one of the original employees at RightNow Technologies and throughout his 13 year tenure was the driving force behind the RightNow Knowledge Foundation, RightNow’s industry leading core technology. Doug left RightNow shortly after Oracle’s $1.5b acquisition and has subsequently built multiple businesses including DropTrip. In his limited free time, Doug is also an accomplished expedition caver.

Alongside members from the local tech and entrepreneur communities, Startup Weekend Bozeman will welcome students from Montana University System’s Blackstone LaunchPad’s at Montana State University. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation knows that entrepreneurship is the single most effective way to spur economic growth and job creation. Through the Blackstone LaunchPad, students will have access to an expanded universe of resources and years of institutional knowledge, helping them launch ventures that can take root locally and strengthen Montana’s economy.

Startup Weekend Bozeman is also excited to announce that the facilitator for the weekend is Buzz Bruggeman. Buzz Bruggeman is one of the co-founders of ActiveWords. He graduated with honors from Coe College and from Duke University Law School. Prior to ActiveWords he spent 30 years as real estate lawyer/litigator. He runs all of the outward facing aspects of ActiveWords, including marketing and partnering, and as such is responsible for evangelizing ActiveWords to everyone he meets. Buzz has spoken at many tech industry events, has been on the advisory board of the Demo Conference, won a Demo god award, and has been featured in books by Dan Gillmor and Robert Scoble. Buzz has been a long time participant in the startup and blogging community, and routinely speaks and consults on using new media tools to market and evangelize software.

Why attend a Startup Weekend event?

  • Education — learn by doing.
  • Build your network — meet talented entrepreneurs.
  • Find cofounder(s)
  • Learn a new skill — flex your technical and business muscle.
  • Get facetime with thought leaders — local leaders on tap.
  • Join a global community ­of over 45,000+ alumni out to change the world.

How is it done?

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts. Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend. (Statistics from

When and where is it?

The detailed Startup Weekend Bozeman 2015 Schedule can be found online at

The general hours of the event are Friday, April 17, 6:30 to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 18, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; and Sunday, April 19, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will be held at the new Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship building at Montana State University.


How can I sign up?

Interested parties can click on the “Buy Tickets” buttons on the event page to sign up. Student tickets are offered at a discounted price and are limited. Contact event organizers for the student discount code. Registration includes all meals and caffeine. Attendees will also receive a custom team t-shirt and exclusive Startup Weekend perks.

About our local sponsors:

Thanks to our local sponsors City of Bozeman, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Lone Mountain Printing, STEAMlab at the Children’s Museum of Bozeman, Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development, F11 Photo, Frontier Fund II, Pepsi – Harrington Bottling Company, and Workiva.

Sponsorship opportunities still available, please contact us.


Startup Weekend is a program of UP Global along with Startup Next, Startup Digest and Education Entrepreneurs. UP Global is a nonprofit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities around the world and in partnership with over 60 leaders and corporations including Google for Entrepreneurs, CocaCola, Amazon Web Services and the Case Foundation. Read UP Global’s White Paper on, ” Fostering A Thriving Startup Ecosystem

Revised: Sunday, April 19, 2015 12:05 AM