The following is a guest post by Phillip Kinsley and Andrew Hoffman about their Startup Weekend experience in Flagstaff, AZ.
Our weekend could have gone like any other: hanging with friends, relaxing, or doing homework. Instead, we had an amazing experience by putting ourselves out there like never before and making friends for a lifetime. This was all thanks to Startup Weekend at Northern Arizona University here in Flagstaff, AZ.
Neither Andrew nor I had heard about Startup Weekend until we found a poster hanging around our school. Now, we would recommend it to any one we know and do it again in a heartbeat.
Before attending the event, we didn’t quite know what to expect. We met up with another friend and started brainstorming ideas for businesses. We came up with some complex and simple ideas. Eventually we found one we all loved, which was creating weight equipment that could generate electricity.
As the event started on Friday night, all three of us sat next to each other, staying well within our comfort zone, only to quickly move about the room to form small teams. With these teams, we did “half-baked” pitches. Such pitches were businesses-like internet robots, zombie energy food, and juice box beer. This got the energy flowing and made everyone comfortable.
Next up were business pitches. I presented the idea for workout equipment to create power for the gym itself. It went over well and when it came time to vote for ideas to use for the weekend, all three of us were thrilled to see the response. There was even a moment where we felt like we had more people wanting to be a part of the team than was possible. We eventually found three more great additions to the group and the team Electrocize was formed.
Our group was made up of a mechanical engineering student, two electrical engineering students, a business management student, a sustainable business graduate student, and a marketing student. Our team of six spent all day Saturday and Sunday cranking out all the details for the design and the business model for our idea. We couldn’t have created a more well-rounded or better working team. By the time we presented on Sunday, we had a design we liked, a business model we could start a business with, a brand created, and a website for potential customers to see.
When it came time for the awards, we had high expectations as our team felt so great about what we had accomplished. Unfortunately, our team didn’t win one of the top prizes, but each of us had made new friends, had a great experience, and got to explore some really cool ideas. Our idea still has potential and could come to life someday as we are currently entered in a business contest down at ASU and the six of us plan to stay in touch for a long time down the road.
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