Guest Blog Post by Claire Coder, founder of Aunt Flow and second place winner of the 2015 Columbus Startup Weekend Health Edition.
Throughout StartUp Weekend, I continually heard the phrase, “Startup Weekend will change your life.” This never truly settled in until I decided to continue to pursue the idea that I had pitched, full time. 54 hours can change your life and here are some tidbits on how to make your experience the most memorable.
1. In the Startup scene, MVP does not mean “Most Valuable Player.” Google it
2. Caffeine inhalants are a real thing and were probably created by another entrepreneur staying up late trying to create an MVP for a different enterprise
3. Careful, Startup Weekend just might change your life. I actually dropped out of college to work on the idea that I pitched at the weekend
4. Canva.com will be your life saver if you don’t have a graphic designer on your team
5. Suzy Bureau knows how to engage an audience; take notes on how she does it so you are ready to blow the judges away when it comes time to pitch
6. Hashtags are powerful #SWCBUS #socent #startup #fundauntflow
7. Market research is not a survey of 100 friends on survey monkey
8. The Startup community is super supportive… Speaking of support, Aunt Flow needs to raise $25,000 to move forward. YOU can make an impact at AuntFlow.org
I originally pitched Aunt Flow, as “SafetyPon,” and placed second at the 2015 Columbus Startup Weekend Health Edition. The social enterprise is a buy one, give one subscription based model for tampons. Following the weekend, and in just five months, I have hustled to take the business idea to the crowdfunding stage, be featured in a variety of publications, gain over 14k Twitter followers, and receive numerous awards for the business plan.
The business does not stop there. My true passion is to lessen the taboo of talking about tampons (and be on Ellen.) In this effort, I have created a YouTube channel where I ask women to share their most embarrassing period stories and I talk with men (Flow Bros) about everything menstrual related from cramps to period sex. Learn more about Aunt Flow at AuntFlow.org.
Tickets for our next event, Smart City Edition, May 13-15 at Rev1 Ventures are still available! Click here to learn more and punch your ticket.
After a whole weekend of hard work, the five Startup Weekend Athens pitched their new ventures to a team of judges.
The first-place winner was the team for opa, cognitive toys for modern children, an art/design set of colorful wooden, magnetic shapes.
Second place went to Enchanted Home of Lost Books, a used book store offering children’s books to families in the Athens area.
The third-place winner was the team pitching EMG Max.
Among their comments, the judges said they thought that all five of the ideas pitched had the potential to become successful businesses.
Sunday afternoon, as the pitch competition drew near, the five Startup Weekend Athens teams hustled to get their pitches into shape.
The teams tweaked and finalized and practiced their 5-minute pitches for the Sunday afternoon finale. Business and technology expert judges were ready to rate the teams’ pitches and business prospects. Prizes for the top three pitches included business books, marketing assistance, and technical services to help the winning teams further develop their businesses.
In a very long day on Saturday, the five Startup Weekend teams gathered data about their enterprises by talking to people in town, making online inquiries and surveys, and watching children play with their prototype. Based on the data, they refined their concepts or pivoted — changed their product or company ideas — to align better with perceived markets. #SWAthensOH
The Note Boost team, Even Simmons, Paul Holliday, and Trevor Wall was not available for photos. See them on Sunday.
The spring Startup Weekend at the Ohio University Innovation Center kicked off with better-than-100% participation – each of the 24 registered participants made a pitch AND five of the volunteers or advisors also pitched ideas, 29 pitches in all.
After two rounds of voting, five startup teams formed who will spend the weekend developing products, doing market research and figuring out a workable business plans. The teams are:
• Hands on Cognitive Toys for the Modern Child
• Socially Responsible Investing (shareholder activism)
• Smart Workout Journal
• Enchanted Home of Lost Books
• Note Boost
Watch for details about these projects tomorrow.
Thirty-five participants on six teams started out with ideas on Friday night and by Sunday night had created product concepts, researched markets, and devised business models. Three teams won prizes, but the members of all the teams walked away with new skills, new contacts, new confidence in their ability to create new enterprises.
And now, the results are in. Judges at Startup Weekend Athens (Ohio) selected the winning presentations of the new products and businesses developed over the weekend.
First place: CrateKit
Modular, reusable, palletized shipping containers
Inefficient and wasteful shipping methods frustrate skilled installers and cause delays on the job site. Our design meets a gap in current shipping concepts and is modifiable to meet the needs of a given contractor. Our stackable, collapsible containers would be filled as kits, customized to the installer’s job. They would replace the current bulk shipping methods that deliver unsorted parts in cardboard boxes to a contractor’s job site.
This modification is cost effective and will improve installer productivity as it increases efficiency, adds quality control, and reduces product loss through data-driven inventory management. Since this innovation eliminates the bulk-purchasing model and increases accessibility to solar products, it may create a DIY market among homeowners.
Team members Anthony Buchla, Jennifer Dockham, Kevin Johnson, and Michelle Surerus built prototypes, researched the needs of contractors and solar installers, and mocked up a web site, producing a convincing case for the market viability of the CrateKit concept.
Second place: Combat Interactive
Have fun with realistic fighting scenarios and martial arts training.
Combat Interactive is a content provider for the emerging virtual and augmented reality market. We are creating a software system that will bring virtual reality (VR) technologies together to provide an immersive and interactive environment that takes user interaction to a new level. Our current objective is providing martial arts themed games and experiences to build an active community and customer base in a content-starved market. This will position us as an established media brand in a rapidly growing segment while laying the groundwork for building an industry-leading disruptive market platform for virtual and augmented reality content/systems.
Martial arts instructor Amy Miller and her teammates, Michael Greive, John Herbert, Zach Perrault, and Peter Shoup, Wilson Taylor, started with the idea of a sensor-based martial arts practice platform and then recast their idea into the emerging world of immersive, three-dimensional gaming.
Third Place: Laundry Caddy
Organizing life’s little chores.
Our product conveniently organizes laundry supplies for transportation
The Laundry Caddy team, Lori Bentz, Josh Coury, Patrick Kelly, and Anna Sowash, scoped out the market and designed and produced prototypes for two levels of product to help students and apartment dwellers carry their laundry supplies to their building’s laundry facility or a laundromat.
Laundry Caddy also won the audience-choice voting.
The prize packages, which include goods and services totaling several thousand dollars in value, are shown here: https://blog.up.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Prize-Pack-Flyer-copy.pdf
Startup Weekend Athens participants and organizers pose for a group picture. (©2015 Jillyann Burns/Ohio University)
Right now the six Startup Weekend teams are doing final checks and making sure everything is working and ready for their presentations to the Startup Weekend judges at the Ohio University Innovation Center…
These hardworking teams have wordsmithed, polished, and practiced their presentations for the competition at 4:00. Prototype products and mocked-up (or working) web sites have been coded.
Each team started Friday evening with just an idea and has sought to put together a winning product and business model from scratch. Coaches and mentors helped along the way. Nerves and excitement are running high.
A few snapshots from the final hours:
On Saturday of Startup Weekend the entrepreneur teams continue to refine their product ideas by working with Startup Weekend mentors, and going out into the community to discover whether their prospective customers need and would pay for their proposed products.
Six teams remain after one of the teams discovered last night that their proposed product already existed.
Product ideas have been evolving as the teams consider the problems the products need to solve, the likely cost of production, how much customers are willing to pay, and the myriad other factors involved in creating a viable product (and a competition-winning presentation).
Nineteen of the 35 Startup Weekend participants pitched 20 ideas for innovative products and businesses. Then, everyone voted to select the seven ideas to be developed during the rest of the weekend.
They used Post-It notes to indicate their preferences. (Note: Post-It manufacturer 3M is a Startup Weekend sponsor.)
The winning ideas (listed in alphabetical order by their initial working titles) are:
- Cube Cycle – recyclable or reusable plastic packaging to reduce the use of corrugated cardboard
- Interactive Training – sensor-based feedback for martial arts practitioners
- Laundry Caddy – a carrier for all the items needed to do laundry, aimed at college students
- Make a Profit in 49 Hours – just what it says, not specifying how – yet
- Tinter – controllable tinting for automobile windshields
- Uniculture – an app that offers ways for different communities to engage with each other
- Water-Yeah – a method for producing clean water
The participants formed into teams to pursue these ideas, which they will develop and validate during the day on Saturday. On Sunday, each team presents its product and business model and the Startup Weekend judges choose the winners.
More than 200,000 aspiring entrepreneurs have attended Startup Weekends in hundreds of cities worldwide.