This post was written by Alex Burkhart, Tixers Founder and CEO
If it wasn’t for startup weekend, I would probably still be at my cubicle at my corporate job in Cincinnati. A little over a year ago, I was traveling for work to Seattle and met up with a friend, Ben Gilbert who is highly involved with startup weekend on a global stage. Ben told me to look into it when Cincinnati was hosting one. When it came to Cincinnati I almost didn’t attend because it was the home opener for Xavier Basketball, to where I am a season ticket holder. However, my idea ironically involved a solution to this exact problem where season ticket holders were constantly allowing tickets to go to waste or just giving them away. I decided to attend the weekend and present my idea to this problem. The idea ended up winning the competition. We were then eligible to compete in the Startup Weekend Global Startup Battle where we finished 40 out of around 200 cities from across the world. Even though it was disappointing that we did not finish in the top 15, it was still an amazing experience that really helped ignite some confidence to keep driving the idea forward. Now 1 year later, Tixers, is a new ticket exchange platform that allows ticket holders to exchange tickets they are unable to use now for tickets in the future. Virtually taking a timeshare approach to tickets, especially for season ticket holders.
2 months ago Tixers received $50,000 in funding along with other professional services and 6 months office space from an accelerator called Uptech. This was the tipping point for me to take the leap from the corporate world and to go after my dream of running a startup full time. This year’s Cincinnati startup weekend is actually being held in the Uptech offices and the Tixers desk space will be in the heart of all the action, which is cool to see because just 1 year ago it was simply only an idea in my head.
Startup weekend helped jump start this and began to validate the businesses and helped connect me to the major players in the Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Some of the management team and advisory board actually includes several people from startup weekend. Kenny Olson, brand manager at Procter & Gamble, was a fellow team member and now is an investor/marketing guru for the company. Tarek Kamil (founder of whatifsports.com and executive director at info motion sports), was a judge of the competition and is now our key strategic adviser and head of our board. Chris Ridenour and Nikki Phaller, organizers of Cincinnati startup weekend, are a tech adviser and contractor respectively for Tixers.
So as you can see startup weekend is very near and dear to my heart because without it, I truly believe that Tixers would still simply be an idea that I spoke about with my buddies at a bar or sporting event. Now, we have raised a little bit of money, formed a great team, and are in the process of gaining more and more traction to be able to launch Tixers on a national stage.
Startup weekend is an amazing and serendipitous experience that can open up many many doors for someone wanting to pursue an idea or meet some new people. Many people have ideas so this is the perfect place to take that idea and see if it can be made into a reality, you never know what could happen.