Startup Weekend Lexington 2017 – Demo List

Tony Aguilar kicks off SW Lex 2017
ATX-based founder of Chipper, Tony Aguilar, kicks off Startup Weekend Lexington 2017


Here are the 11 demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Lexington 2017. Teams this year are taking part in the Global Startup Weekend, with more than 15k entrepreneurs at 200+ events around the world this week. For a quick recap of the weekend so far, check out pictures on Google Photos and updates on Twitter.

  1. GatherLEX
    Jack box like Web app. Game App locally with friends
  2. Bars?
    Chat integration platform for helping people persuade friends to go out
  3. Red River Resole
    Climbing Shoe Repair Service
  4. LocalLife
    A platform to provide an all-in-one local entertainment resource
  5. Skillable
    Matching people’s skills with the people who need to learn those skills
  6. Band Up
    We randomly match up local musicians into teams for a jam competition
  7. Five Minute Feedback
    Voice survey platform service
  8. Prepless
    Eliminate barriers for exercise by providing all inclusive gym experiences.
  9. Light It Up
    Light customization of stuff
  10. Smart Rotation
    Adaptive software for gymnastics centers that automates resource scheduling
  11. Blockchain Records
    A distributed ledger of world records built on a blockchain.

Team presentations begin at 5pm today at Awesome Inc. Come join us in the audience this evening, enjoy some dinner, and cheer on your favorite teams!

Boston SWEDU Pitchfire Results! 30 Ideas, 9 Finalists to Form

Boston Startup Weekend Education kicked off Friday night with 30 ideas for education innovation from attendees.  After a round of 1 minutes pitches, organizers tabulated participant peer votes, leaving 9 ideas to advance to seek to form teams.  These pitchers were then left to flesh out their ideas and attempt to recruit sufficient teams to actually build these out over the weekend!

Here were our top ideas advancing to team formation:

  • Achieve Financial Freedom Together: pitched by Nancy out of her own experience seeking to learn to save and invest having come to the US from China but addressing universal issues of financial literacy by building a freemium financial education platform for Millennials, who despite strong average incomes have below average savings levels.
  • EDscursion: pitched out of an educator’s real life experience managing field trips for a rural classroom, this online platform would simplify and plan student learning excursions.
  • FeedLoop: pitched by Jeff, an educator turned developer seeking to build a student peer feedback platform for the classroom that adapts models employed by developers to write code.
  • “Google Analytics for EDU”: Pitched by Parviz who out of his decade of experience serving on the board of a local school, sees the need to build a platform that truly tracks learning effectiveness (sentiment analysis, sensor networks, machine learning)
  • Mindful Testing VR: pitched by John,a first year MBA at MIT, with 5 years of development experience at Microsoft, to address test taking anxiety. With 16-20% of students experiencing debilitating test taking anxiety levels, this platform will replace paper based testing with a VR environment for off-site test taking.
  • Quick Deck: pitched by Al, a medical adaptive test prep entrepreneur to create a simple, automated flashcard generator utilizing a Chrome extension for users to highlight given website content which will automatically link to a content library and auto-populate a digital flashcard template.
  • Reskill Me: pitched by Neel, a venture capitalist originally from London, as a skills training platform targeted those threatened to be left behind by Globalization in a post-Brexit world.
  • Super Moms: pitched by Alex (another Brit!) online career platform for reintegrating recent maternity / paternity leave parents into the workforce.
  • Teacher Licensure Tracker:  pitched by Cara, a teacher turned UX designer, this is an administration platform for storing and tracking teacher certifications and licenses.

Saturday’s Nuts and Bolts, Part II

Throughout the day Saturday you may wear many hats. There are a lot of questions to answer and problems to solve. I covered the first three business facets in this postThe final four business facets are interesting and vital to your business’ success. They are:

  • Product/Service Design
  • Product/Service Development
  • Marketing
  • Business Model

What is Product/Service Design?

A simple way of looking at product and service design is understanding and applying user experience. Eric Eriksson at Instagram wrote a great article that explains the what, who and why of product design. I’ve also included an article about digital product design by Andrew Aquino, a product designer at Facebook. 

What is Product/Service Development?

Product/service development takes the design concepts and creates the product or service. Development is the implementation of design. While there can be some overlap between design and development, they are fundamentally different. Also, the product or service can be physical or digital. This means you could have a factory producing vacuums or a digital team creating games.The following articles will help you better understand product/service development.


Marketing is often confused with advertising and sales. Head over and read What is Marketing? A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing and end your confusion. The answers are clear and it covers the four P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.

I have used to learn about marketing strategy and consumer behavior.

The Tronvig Group out of Brooklyn, NY has an interesting way of presenting marketing strategy. Their blog has great articles that I hope you find useful.

What is a Business Model? defines a business model as “the company’s plan for how it will generate revenues and make a profit. It explains what products or services the business plans to manufacture and market, and how it plans to do so, including what expenses it will incur.”

Whew! Luckily we have great resources to rely on when creating our business models. I’ve included “What is a Business Model?” from the Harvard Business Review. The quality of HBR articles are worth the effort of creating a free account. You will have access to three articles. Choose wisely, you will not be disappointed.

One item I wish to include is the Business Model Canvas. I have worked with this in an online course and I know it will be helpful to you. The Business Model Canvas can be found here. Be sure to watch the 2 minute video that shows its power.

We’ve covered many topics today. You will have all weekend to work on your startup project. I hope the links I’ve included help you and your team create a viable business. Watch this space for an article on creating your presentations.

Saturday’s Nuts and Bolts, Part I

Saturday will be a big day for you and your team. There will be research, product/service design and testing, asking customers for feedback, and meeting with mentors. There will be delicious food and snacks as well.

You will be able to interact with several mentors and ask them questions. Our mentors are experienced entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts. They will answer your questions and help guide you towards building a strong foundation for your startup.

Yesterday I mentioned the following list for identifying the key facets of your business.

  • Market Size
  • Customers (go out and ask people for feedback)
  • Value Proposition
  • Product/Service Design
  • Product/Service Development
  • Marketing
  • Business Model

As you develop your business idea, be sure to ask the mentors questions. The mentors have a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer you and want you to succeed. Also, being able to answer and elaborate on these topics will help you create your 3-minute presentation and prepare for the judges’ Q&A. You want to show the judges the strength and potential of your startup.

Let’s use the list above and dive into the specifics that you will discover about your startup idea. I will cover the first three topics now and address the final four in another blog post.

What is your Market Size? defines Market Size as “the number of individuals in a certain market who are potential buyers and/or sellers of a product or service.” It’s important to know your demographics, buying patterns of potential customers, cost margins and more. Check out these great articles from

Who are your Customers?

Your team will want to find your targeted demographics and ask them questions. This is where you get to test your ideas, in the marketplace. These individuals will be spending money and/or time with your product or service so it’s important to collect data on a variety of related topics. The following articles will get you started.

What is a Value Proposition?

A value proposition is a statement of a product or service that solves a customer’s problem, delivers value, and tells the customer why they should buy from your company and not the competition.

For instance, have you ever wondered how Apple™ can transform a phone into something magical? They package the features of the phone into a user experience. An example is cell phone encryption. Apple™ presents the iPhone’s encryption capabilities with its’ easy-to-use Touch ID feature. In this instance, Apple™  simplified a technical topic into a feature that is easy to use and easy to understand and thus is an example of a value proposition. [The Touch ID feature allows the user to unlock their phone with a fingerprint. The key feature is how Apple™ keeps the fingerprint safe since they do not store an image of it. Apple™ converts it into an “intricate piece of math.”]

Visit this link at to understand the details of a value proposition and why your business needs one.

I hope you see the value in developing your business ideas. Creating products and services that solve specific problems is a fun and creative exercise. This is the Startup Weekend experience we strive to create. We hope you are looking forward to this weekend. We are!

I cover the final four business facets in the next post.

What to Expect on Friday Evening

Welcome to Startup Weekend Pensacola! This weekend we will be hosting a 54-hour event aimed at creating new business ideas.

There are distinct steps that occur throughout the weekend, so I thought I would start with Day One.

After a quick registration you will be able to interact with fellow attendees that are just as nervous. Be bold and introduce yourself. Ask others what they enjoy doing, why they decided to attend Startup Weekend, or the standard “what do you do?” One of the best things you will experience this weekend are the relationships you form with different people. Take the time to get to know them.

I know many of you are interested in possibly pitching an idea. Perhaps you’re intimidated or scared. That’s okay because pitching only lasts 60 seconds. It’s almost more nerve-wracking standing in line listening to others’ ideas.

This week make a list of all your business ideas. Spend 5-10 minutes using Google and find out if those ideas have competition and, if so, what kind? Look at their ideal customers, their products and prices, and their attempt to connect with customers. Think of how your idea is stronger or unique. Does your idea capture a different audience, a larger audience, produce a better product or service, or provide more value?

The information you glean now will help you identify your strongest ideas. Select the top two or three and craft a 60-second pitch for each using the following outline:

  • What problem do you want to solve?
  • Why do you want to solve the problem?
  • How will you solve the problem?
  • Why is this problem important?

A strong pitch will help attract people to your idea which is important when everyone votes and forms teams. The top 10 or 11 ideas with the most votes move forward. Yes, you can vote for your own idea.

Once the voting is complete, the projects (ideas) will be announced and team building can begin. If your idea didn’t get enough votes to move forward don’t despair. Use the feedback you received to refine your idea. Perhaps you will pitch a stronger idea at the next Startup Weekend. Now look around the room and join a team whose idea intrigues you.

After quick introductions, your team will research the business solutions and decide on what you will do the next two days. Determine what you need to learn about your new business. The following list will allow you to gather the information you need for Sunday’s Pitch Event. These items will help you identify the key facets of your business.

  • Market Size
  • Customers (go out and ask people for feedback)
  • Value Proposition
  • Product/Service Design
  • Product/Service Development
  • Marketing
  • Business Model

Brainstorming and discussing the business will be an exciting and dynamic time for each group. Value the input of others. Collaborate and create a plan of action. Go ahead and get started or call it a night. Saturday will be a big day!

Startup Weekend Energizes the Rochester Startup Community

It’s been an amazing time at #StartupWeekend Rochester! The startup teams have been grinding away on their ideas and the competition will be a close one!

If you did not get to participate in #swrochmn17 this weekend, we invite you to check out Demo Day today at 5 PM at the Bleu Duck Kitchen Event Space to see the team pitches and judging. Who will reign supreme?

Register here to attend the Demo Day >

It’s Almost Here: Startup Weekend Las Vegas

With more than 200 events lined up, Techstars Global Startup Weekend is the biggest entrepreneurial celebration happening during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Spanning the globe, these events will take place during the weekends of November 10-12 and 17-19. Are you ready to be part of the biggest entrepreneurial celebration around the world? Register for Startup Weekend Las Vegas today!

How does Techstars Global Startup Weekend work this year?

Ask Me Anything:

To help attendees get the most out of their 54-hour experience, Techstars has put together an AMA (Ask Me Anything) series that will cover topics like Design Sprint, How to Get First Customers, Prototyping during Techstars Startup Weekend and more.

Take a look at the schedule and save your spot!

How to develop your product? – November 1st at 3pm EST

AMA: How to apply Design Sprint to Startup Weekend – November 2nd at 7pm EST

AMA: Best Practices for Incorporating your Startup – November 6th at 2pm EST

The Global Judges:

For the Global Showcase, these amazing judges will select the best teams from our top local events around the world to highlight globally after Techstars Global Startup Weekend.


A global showcase wouldn’t be complete without some prizes to help the winning teams move forward with their startup.

At Techstars they praise their network as the # 1 tool to help you succeed after an event. In addition to this perk, here are the other prizes this year’s Techstars Global Startup Weekend winners will receive:

1st Place at each local event:

F6S Alpha Card:

SW Winners will each receive an F6S Alpha membership which gives you exclusive access to $600k in free benefits from 500+ companies, including American Airlines, InVison, Intercom and many more.


Regional Prizes:

– Google: 5 Winners get $20K in GCP Credits
– Amazon Web Services: $5k in AWS credits for regional winners

Global Prizes:

– Google: $100K in GCP Credits
– Sphero: 3 Star Wars robots
– AWS: $10k in AWS credits for the global winner. The global winner also gets 1:1 sessions with the AWS Startup team. AWS Startup Solution Architects advise top funded CTOs around the world, helping them build technologies that scale in order to become the next Airbnb, Netflix, Slack, etc.
– a year of premium
– .CO: swag packet

See the full article at photo credits here

Private Success, Public Failure: PA Tech Boom is Juicy Prey for Harrisburg Predators

By: Clark Stephenson

If you’re going to be a business owner, or be involved in the creation of one, the importance of knowing your market cannot be understated; but that involves a lot more than just your own customer base.  Your market is being shifted and shaped 24 hours a day by your local economy, your competition, your suppliers, their competition, etc. and certainly by your local lawmakers.  And if you’re in tech, that’s all happening aboard a bullet train that’s about to be upgraded to a Hyperloop.  If you’re going to be a vigilant citizen, much less a successful business owner in this uncertain economy, it is paramount that you stay up to date on how your industry is being regulated, and how it affects everything you do.  For the current tech boom in PA, Harrisburg is looking for new ways to lower the boom.

Earlier this year, Governor Wolf proposed a new “tech tax” as part of his 2017-2018 budget that would have imposed severe sales and use taxes across a wide array of computer service providers, and by severe, I mean the worst in the country:

states imposing computer taxes

The measure would constitute a 330 million dollar kick to the stomach of the technology industry in PA, and would hurt smaller independent contractors & startups the worst; all to help cover up for budget craters in Harrisburg, because companies who are good at their jobs are always punished by bureaucrats who aren’t.  However, thanks to stern opposition by the Pittsburgh Technology Council, their counterparts in Philadelphia, PA House Speaker Mike Turzai, and at least 1500 companies across the state just to name a few, the proposal was thankfully scrapped, and indeed not part of the budget the PA Senate approved at the end of July, according to Governor Wolf, who said it’s “not an issue anymore.”

So that’s good news, for now, but that’s not the only prey Harrisburg is on the hunt for.  As if the tech tax wasn’t bad enough, some lawmakers are pushing for a re-work of the “Amazon tax”, just in time for Pittsburgh to submit its proposal for the online retail giant to build its second headquarters here, because there’s nothing like kicking a gift horse in the mouth, especially when you’re regarded as the top contender for said gift.  And despite receiving the same fervent opposition as the tech tax, the measure is “still on the table” according to the Tribune article.  Let’s hope it doesn’t spoil our chances of landing Amazon’s new playground.

Whether you’re a small, independent computer services provider, or a giant in the industry, the forces shaping your market that emanate from your State Capitol are something you can’t afford to ignore, especially if you’re just starting up.  Stay informed, get involved with local organizations & councils, and contact your local representatives to voice your support or opposition whenever possible.  At the very least, you’ll be more prepared to deal with the aftermath of a new law if you’ve done the math ahead of time, and at the very best, you’ll help to keep the State predators at bay.

Meet Your Speaker: Kurtis Wankier

Kurtis Wankier 
Speaker, Startup Weekend Las Vegas 2017


Kurt has an impressive pedigree, beginning with a business degree in Finance. He has worked with the Small Business Administration consulting with small companies, honed his analytical skills with Fitch IBCA, led companies in a variety of industries to stratospheric success. He also founded both the College Entrepreneurial Organization (CEO) and Envision Management & Marketing.

Startup Weekend is the perfect place to see exactly what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, meet other innovative people who might just become your co-founders or partners and test your ideas with some of the smartest business minds in your community. Get tickets now!

LOCATION: Rob Roy’s Innevation Center
WHEN: Friday, November 10th – Sunday, November 12th

CLICK HERE to register and for more info on Startup Weekend Las Vegas!

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Startup Weekend Vegas – Let Your Voice Be Heard!

With the help of your entrepreneurial peers and an expert panel of mentors, Startup Weekend Vegas helps you turn your bright ideas into a marketable business plan. From polishing your pitch to winning over potential investors, you learn the skills of entrepreneurship hands-on with teams of other innovators like you.

Startup Weekend Vegas is a 3-day startup experience in 3 stages:

Friday night begins with dinner and networking, then ideas are pitched in an open mic format. Attendees vote for their favorites, and from there, teams form to begin working on the top ideas. This is where your earlier networking comes in handy, because you want to build a team that has all the necessary skills and resources to achieve your goal for the weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, your team dives deeply into the work to build out your idea. Coaches and mentors are available to help, so take advantage of their expertise!

Sunday evening is devoted to your final presentations, during which teams present their developed ideas to a panel of judges. Demo your prototypes, wow the judges, and win awards!

Startup Weekend is the perfect place to see exactly what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, meet other innovative people who might just become your co-founders or partners and test your ideas with some of the smartest business minds in your communit. Get tickets now.

LOCATION: Rob Roy’s Innevation Center
WHEN: Friday, November 10th – Sunday, November 12th

CLICK HERE to Register!