Student-Led Teams Top Startup Weekend [Updated]
The seventh Startup Weekend Honolulu wrapped up yesterday in Kakaako, drawing more than 100 entrepreneurs and would-be founders to a 54-hour mad dash to conceive, build, and pitch a new company. And for the first time, according to organizer Bryan Butteling, the winning team was led by a high school student.
The event kicked off Friday evening with dozens of fledgling startup ideas, and attendees voted on their favorites, setting up the fifteen final teams that would dive headlong into the Startup Weekend process. They spent nearly two full days designing, coding, marketing and refining their ideas, and by Sunday evening, eight teams remained to make final pitches. A panel of judges chose the top three teams, and the gathered crowd that used a live voting tool by local startup MeetingSift to choose the “People’s Choice” favorites.
A raucous large-scale game of jan-ken-po chose the order in which the finishing teams would present. And after each had taken the stage to pitch their companies and how they’d make money, the judges conferred and announced the winners.
First place went to Mentorship.Link, pitched by 15-year-old Liam Clive. The idea was to revolutionize how students gain real world experience, connecting high school students to project-based mentorships and taking them “out of the classroom and into the world.” Team members included Alex Anich, David Johnston, Jesse Copeland, McKay Davis, Micah Alconcel, Ryan Kanno, Ruby Menon, and Stephen Fitzpatrick.
Second place went to Grumble, a social space to “share your despair.” The team, led by Constantin Dumba, actually launched a working web app, which over the weekend collected complaints like, “Haven’t seen my boyfriend all weekend bc of startup,” and, “I hate when there’s no toilet paper!” As @SWHNL on Twitter summarized, “Who said social media should be about being happy? Grumble takes your despair and connects you with others.”
The anonymous nature of the stream also prompted a few comments about the attractiveness and availability of other participants.
And third place went to All About, led by Jennifer Lazariuk, which proposed an app designed to solve the problem of parents finding a babysitter.
The MeetingSift-powered People’s Choice awards echoed the judges’ call with Mentorship.Link and Grumble taking first and second place, but third place went to Myndr, a startup that linked food photos to geolocation bookmarks.
Other presenting teams included Cargo Cult (a website to find available container space for overseas shipping), Huli (enlisting locals as tour guides for visitors, creating a more unique and intimate travel experience), Readers Grow (tapping crowd-funding to provide incentives for children to read), and Table Ready (allowing users to view and reduce wait times at restaurants, and hold their place in line).
This was the first Startup Weekend Honolulu where the attendee poll didn’t flag developer talent as the main missing component, according to Russel Cheng, co-founder of coding bootcamp DevLeague, He says the fact that there were 23 DevLeague students and alumni participating this time around had a lot to do with that.
“Students from cohorts five and six fanned out and helped nearly every team,” he says. “In fact, six of the eight teams that pitched on Sunday evening had DevLeague alumni and current students on board.”
We’ll be featuring some of the winning teams of the latest Startup Weekend Honolulu on Bytemarks Cafe on Wednesday, July 1. Tune in at 5 p.m. via radio or online stream to listen live (and call in your comments or questions), or catch the episode after the fact via podcast.