This weekend, participants from all over Southwest Missouri competed to create the best startup company at the second Springfield Startup Weekend. High school students, college students and business professionals from Springfield and beyond converged at The eFactory in downtown Springfield for three days of intense collaboration. Over 30 attendees formed into five teams to work on business ideas that were pitched at the start of the competition.
Over the course of the three days, each of the teams took their idea from concept to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Each team is encouraged to create a virtual or physical product, that is easy-to-use and that solves a real need. Business models are generated, revenues are predicted and initial marketing ideas are generated to try and prove that what the team has created can successfully make money. Expert judges from our region assembled to pick the winners on the merits of the business model, customer validation and execution by the teams. Bill Anderson, Acting Executive Director of the Missouri Technology Corporation, Julie Higgins, Founder and CEO of iPourLife and Ron Yust, Founder and Owner of Mobiltect served as judges.
Eagle Speak took first place and audience choice. By using Eagle Speak, users can communicate while at their computers without having to leave their programs or workflow. They found validation in their own workflows and even had a live demo for pitch night.
Leasey took second place by creating a way for people to share their spare equipment, electronics, and random stuff with anyone willing to pay a rental fee. The team spent the weekend validating their idea in the community and even found their first paying customer.
The third-place team was Every Step, who created an app to allow daycare providers to share pictures and information with parents. They found several parents who were interested in the product. They were also able to secure a daycare to be their first beta user.
Startup Weekend Springfield finalists will be able to compete in Global Startup Battle against top teams and ideas worldwide.
The response to Springfield Startup Weekend was incredible. Students and experienced entrepreneurs came together to solve problems, but they left with new mentors, helpers, partners, co-founders and friends. Events like Startup Weekend open the eyes of aspiring entrepreneurs to the possibilities of what can happen when you find a good idea, pull together the right team and work hard.
The Startup Weekend organizing team includes: Jeremy Adams, Chris Allen, Chad Carleton and Cody Stringer.
Startup Weekend would not be possible without the generous contributions and support of sponsors. Sponsors include: Everything Kitchens, CAST, Ceramex, Covy, Drury University, The eFactory, Jordan Valley Innovation Center, Mayhem Development, Mercy Research, Missouri State University, Originate, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Creatives and Windstream Enterprises.