Startup Weekend Columbus has become a Central Ohio institution, and our third annual event is scheduled for the last weekend in April and will once again be held at the TechColumbus Incubator. For those unfamiliar with Startup Weekend, in a nutshell (graphic pilfered from the national Startup Weekend website, click on the tour button for a great overview):
Our experience with the Columbus Startup Weekends has been phenomenal. Our first, in July 2008, had about 70 ideas presented on Friday evening, and the weekend launched 10 companies, 3 of which are still in business. Our second, in April of 2009, coincided with a number of other Startup Weekends across the country. There were nearly 100 ideas presented, and 13 companies were launched. We even had one company get started with a strong team that half way through the weekend decided their idea would not be viable – they quickly dissolved and the team's members were welcomed into several other teams where they contributed to their successes. At least two of the 2009 SWColumbus alumni are still in business. Some of the 2008 and 2009 alumni have raised investment capital that is allowing them to grow and pursue greater levels of success.
Here's the five companies still going that were launched at Columbus Startup Weekends:
ClearWish makes online shopping easy. You can create wish lists for birthdays, graduations and just about any event. With ClearWish, you can add products from any online retailer to one wish list. Most retailer sites limit you to items at their store only – using ClearWish, this barrier is eliminated. Wish lists and specific items can be shared with friends and family via email and on on Facebook.
You can also find Clearwish on Twitter: @Clearwish
CorkShare is a way to visually share web content like notes, photos, videos, and more with small groups of friends or colleagues. Modeled after physical bulletin boards, CorkShare users create virtual CorkBoards (like physical bulletin boards), post embeddable content and discuss these objects in a fun and simple way. Corkshare is now based in Cleveland, Ohio.
EventStart is a event planning utility that connects you to social media applications, supports event blogging and forum management and interaction on site, allows recurring events and has some great event management tools. One of the cool things about EventStart is that we are using it for SWColumbus this year, and it could be adopted as the Startup Weekend event management tool nationally.
You can find EventStart on Twitter: @eventstart
JoeMetric™ leverages smart phone technology to gather consumer opinions when and where they matter most. The JoeMetric™ interactive interface makes it simple and affordable for organizations to develop and distribute customized surveys. Consumers provide valuable feedback and are paid for their efforts, essentially turning a moment of downtime into paid work time. JoeMetric™ is currently housed at the TechColumbus Incubator.
You can find EventStart on Twitter: @JoeMetric
YourMilton is providing office oriented services to manage contacts, projects and financial information for small businesses. It was started to by entrepreneurs frustrated by the complicated array of business productivity products with the purpose of allowing a small business owner to focus on core aspects of business.
You can also find EventStart on Twitter: @YourMilton
My fun favorite from our first two Weekends was an iPhone app called iToot from GiggleSeed – here's an iToot commercial they produced as part of the weekend. Unfortunately, Apple didn't quite like it as much… GiggleSeed might have sold a few million for a buck, but sometimes the startup ball doesn't bounce the way we want it to. Dan Harris, the “Microsoft Guy” on the left in the commercial, has gone on to start Tastcasting and a couple of other businesses. In fact, several of the successful companies have entrepreneurs involved that are either actively involved in other ventures or who have helped others with their startups – an outstanding legacy of our Startup Weekends.
Check the Startup Weekend 2008 Slideshow to get a feel for what happened and what to expect.
Many of those attending our first SWColumbus have become good friends, and I expect the same this year; a reunion of good friends and an opportunity to meet some new entrepreneurs and make some new friends. Startup Weekend really is a community building event. I also expect to see some really creative ideas, and maybe a new company launched that follows in the footsteps of our most successful alumni and itself enjoys success.
Register for Startup Weekend Columbus and partake in our Central Ohio entrepreneurial institution. Who knows? Your idea might be selected Friday night (i.e. voted on by those attending) to move forward into the Weekend or you might find yourself on a great team.
I hope to see you there!