Fensens wins Kirkland Startup Weekend 2014 with every car owner's dream

Image of Fensens Team from Kirkland Startup Weekend Makers Edition 2014

The organizers of Startup Weekend Kirkland have a pretty clear idea what made our event awesome, and why Fensens won first place, but we thought it would be far more interesting to hear from the winners themselves.

Fensens realized that nearly every driver has a problem, with crowded parking lots, blind driveways, and the tragic stories you hear about parents driving into their children playing on their driveways. They wanted to prevent these accidents, and after conducting research, they pulled up some staggering figures-that 80% of cars don’t have sensors, and there are 15,000 injuries per year due to slow-speed accidents, according to the NHTSA.

Their solution was a first-in-class, smart, wireless solution for vehicles on a universal standard mount, which would provide visual, audible and tactile feedback.

During the 54 hours of Kirkland Startup Weekend Maker’s Edition, members of the Fensens team surveyed 120 people, including 100 at Safeway, Costco, and Bellevue Square as well as other Startup Weekend participants. They also reached out to people on Facebook, LinkedIn and through Survey Monkey. Of those surveyed, 82% don’t have sensors in their vehicles, and the majority were willing to pay $100.00 for the Fensens device. Some were wiling to pay as much as $500 to $1,000!

At the end of the day, everyone thought the idea was not just awesome, but could also save lives, reduce insurance costs, and give car users peace of mind.  Thus, the tagline, “A World Without Fender Benders.”

Congratulations to the Winning Team

Henry Wong (Founder)  |  Ben Foster (Engineering) | Mohammad Juma (Engineering) | Miki Nguyen (Management) | Charlie Yan (Mobile Development) | Phongsakorn Liewsrisuk (Engineering) | Jian Ma (Engineering) | Alex Ching (Mechanical/PCB) | Shanika Weerasundara (Marketing) | Ngoc-Khuyen (Quinn) Tran (Marketing) | Jennifer Commodore (Marketing) | Misaki Yamashita (Marketing).

Henry Wong, Founder, Fensens

How Does it Feel to Win a Lottery?

When asked to describe the experience, Henry Wong, Fensens founder, had this to say:

No, I did not get rich but I am on cloud 9 – and that is priceless!

On November 14-16, 2014, I attended Startup Weekend Maker’s Edition at Kirkland, WA. I’ve had an itch to take some ideas in my brain and make it into a product/business. My reason for participating was to taste the start-up from ground zero, see what does it feel like, and for fun. I had no expectation going into it, and frankly I was not aware it was a competition till the second day. I thought it was just a group of random people working together to build something from scratch – and that experience itself is why I signed up.

About 140 attendees, 45 ideas pitched, and 15 teams formed. The top 3 winners were judged by a group of very successful panels in the technology industry.

No one on my team, including myself, expected we would win, let alone come in first place because there were also other great ideas, and talented people and teams.

To see the expression and smile on my team’s face when they announced “Fensens” as the 1st place winner was a truly unbelievable feeling and experience. I am still speechless, stoked, excited, happy, and smiling (big) this week. I am sure everyone on my team is having the same feeling too.

This past weekend has to be one of the best memorable experience in my life! I want to thank my team in believing in my idea and the product. We focused, executed, and nailed the pitch and demo. I hope to be on cloud 9 as long as I can from this weekend.

We asked Henry why he thought his team came first

My 17+ years of diverse experience in technology and consumer electronics industry really helped.  I had a well thought-out idea and product in mind and an understanding of the market for this product. Finally, I was lucky enough to have a really good team to execute the idea and the product.

We think he’s right.  Henry tells us that being the founder of the product and the team has been a bit stressful because you have to think about EVERYTHING.  But that hasn’t stopped him. His team is thinking about doing a KickStarter campaign early in 2015.  We think they have a winning product.

If you would like to contact Henry you can!  on Twitter at @tech_henrywong or on LinkedIn.

We also want to congratulate our other winners

In second place the Connected Backpack team designed a “modern backpack for tech gear” that brings the standard backpack into the 21st century.

The Team

Jan Wanot | Dan Echo | Nicky Li | Surya Jakhotia | Nick Franklin | Chris Williams | Andrew Rangel | Andrew Vincent | Shea O’Leary | Philip Roe

Our third place winner, EsperLINQ! developed a wearable device that provides on-the-go support for people in recovery. This team has promised to move forward with their product so that more people can successfully manage their program.

The Team

Daniela Tudor | Jodi Lasky | Ian Lenny | Scott Doerrie | Jacob Kukuk | Jen Mallory | Martin Ishihara | Jimmy Taylor | Andrea Repka | Dan Tebbs | Jason Jastillana

Final Presentations for Startup Weekend Kirkland

Come to Google’s Kirkland campus tonight at 5:00 pm to hear innovative companies from Startup Weekend Kirkland Maker Edition pitch their business ideas! Check out the exciting lineup for tonight with 15 teams that are building products and businesses across consumer, professional, and healthcare industries amongst others.

Here are the companies that are presenting tonight, in no particular order:

  1. Necessity One: Solving the world water problem one pet at a time.

  2. Drone Environmental Water Sampler (D.E.W.S.): Drone water quality measurement and sampling

  3. esperLINQ: On-the-go support for people in recovery (wearable tech)

  4. Remora Toothbrush: Your personal dental assistant

  5. Drone Gesture: Allows the user to command their drone with easy to remember arm gestures.

  6. LightBoard: Interactive lighting for snowboards

  7. Fensens: Low speed fender bender avoidance for vehicles

  8. Buzz Battle: Socially disruptive pub games

  9. 3rdEyeSafety: Security sensor to ID unauthorized user

  10. Concept Libby: A system of smart furniture engineered to increase the impact of your venue while fostering customer interaction

  11. ooDoo: GPS tracking for your car

  12. Gaming Console for Dogs: Rewarding toys for dogs

  13. Smart Patient Assist: Improve the interaction between patients and providers in assisted living centers

  14. Connected Backpack: Modern backpack for tech gear

  15. ibongs.co: Internet of things for the bong

What Do I Bring to Startup Weekend

After attending Bootcamp you are probably wondering what to bring with you. You’ll need more than a laptop to make physical objects, so here’s a list of things we will have on site. Anything else you need for your project, that’s not included on the list below, you will have to bring with. We will refund you up to $100.oo PER TEAM so make sure you keep your receipts.

Before reading the list, we recommend you pre-install any software you may need (Arduino, CAD, etc.) for the event since WiFi can be unreliable at events.



Two (2) on site at LWIT, Saturday (all day), and Sunday (up to 3 PM).

  1. Maximum material size is 32” x 18”
  2. Materials: Wood (birch is best) or SandE from Home Depot
  3. 0.25″ acrylic at TAP plastics
  4. DO NOT get wood or acrylic that contains chlorine or glue meant for external surfaces.


Teams who need to solder components onto PCBs.

  1. Use either lead free .032 or smaller gauge or 60/40 rosin core smaller than .032
  2. Use Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD or various free software with plugins that export to DXF (Draftsight, Inkscape, etc.).


We’ll have a few 3d printers (various brands) and filaments on site that you can use on Saturday and Sunday. Liz Havlin will be around to help you print anything you need.

  1. FreeCad
  2. Get your files as .obj, .stl, .gcode
    1. STL is great since it can be sent directly to the printer
    2. Slic3r to generate gcode files
  3. Matter Control to find out how long it will take to print and how much filament

Instead of the 3d printer and the laser cutter, you can use cardboard cut-outs for initial prototypes to speed up development.


Each team will be provided with one of these kits (more if we have supplies):

  1. Arduino Uno R3
  2. Intel Edison board
  3. BlueTooth shield if needed.

For consumables and other materials (plastic, acrylic, screws, wires, etc.) we recommend these local stores:

Vetco: 12718 Northup Way #100, Bellevue, WA 98005 – map

TAP Plastics: 12021 Northup Way, Bellevue, WA 98005 – map

Lowes: 11959 Northup Way, Bellevue, WA 98005 – map

Home Depot, Bothell: 18333 120th Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011 – map

Fry’s: 800 Garden Ave N, Renton, WA 98057 – map

Radio Shack: 12543 Totem Lake Blvd NE, Kirkland, WA 98034 – map

Robot Mesh: 11251 120th Ave NE Ste 217, Kirkland, WA 98033

Tacoma Screw: 11200 120th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98033map

Ace Hardware: 6613 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98033 – map


Here are some of the materials that were presented at Bootcamp today for your reference:


KiCad, Soldering, etc

Intel Edison – Rex St. John – Up & Running with Seeed Studio Grove Starter Kit Plus & Intel Edison

Intel Edison – Rex St. John – Getting WiFi with Intel Edison On Yosemite / OSX

Intel Edison – Rex St. John – Setting up Intel Edition with Intel XDK


OK. I’ve got it! Now take me back to the Kirkland Startup Weekend Makers Edition website.


Joblie Wins 2013 Kirkland Startup

Joblie was born at Startup Weekend Kirkland in October 2013.

Twelve strangers decided to spend a weekend together trying to figure out a way to allow people to make money doing small jobs on their smartphones during the idle moments of their days.

Since launching this spring, Joblie has 2,500 workers all over the country who have completed over 100,000 tasks- all on their smartphones.

Adam Dreiblatt, CEO at Joblie, whose team won Kirkland Startup Weekend 2013 says, “We offer our users a chance to “Be Heard, Have Fun and Get Paid. Startup Weekend offered our company, Joblie, a chance to turn a kernel of an idea into a business.”

Adam continues, “We are huge fans of Startup Weekend- it’s a fantastic way to meet people, learn new skills and test out that entrepreneurial idea.”

Tap or click to see more about Joblie and Joblie on Facebook.

Adam Dreiblatt is CEO at Joblie, a crowdsourcing and market research company based in Seattle, Washington.