Startup Weekend Okanagan Winners Announced
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Kelowna, B.C. - On Sunday March 4th, at the conclusion of the first ever Startup Weekend Okanagan, ten teams presented their business opportunities to a panel of expert judges and an appreciative crowd of 150 attendees.
At the weekend-long event's wrap-up, "Judgement Night", hosted at the Kelowna Art Gallery, each team presented for 5 minutes, demonstrated their products and answered questions put to them by the panel of judges.
The winning teams included:
First Place: SquadShout.com - a team organization and notification system powered by an automated phone call, text, or email.
Second Place: Beauty Booker - a site designed to connect customers with unfilled, last-minute and discounted hair and beauty appointments.
Third Place: UChange - a smart, easy-to-use tool that uses a person's own compelling reasons to help them achieve their goals.
Prizes for the winning teams included two months participation on Accelerate Okanagan's Venture Acceleration Program; tickets to a catered private suite at a Kelowna Rocket's game; and VIP access to the Metabridge Annual Retreat in June 2012.
Overall, Startup Weekend Okanagan attracted 70 participants - some from as far as Victoria, Vancouver and Edmonton - who gathered at Accelerate Okanagan's Kelowna Innovation Centre to create potential technology businesses over a 54 hour period.
The event kicked-off on the Friday night with 28 participant's "elevator pitching" their tech startup ideas. 10 were selected and collaborative teams were formed.
On the Saturday and Sunday, with the guidance and support of community mentors, the participants developed their ideas and created their startups.
Jeff Keen, a Startup Weekend judge and Accelerate Okanagan CEO, said, "It was incredible to see what can be accomplished over a 54 hour period. We were very impressed by the quality of work, the team collaboration, the ideas created and the enthusiasm with which the event was embraced by both participants and the local community. It goes to show that the innovative technology community is well represented in the Okanagan!"
Brent Lachman, a member of the Startup Weekend organizing committee, said that he was "blown away" by the community support received for Startup Weekend Okanagan. "The energy, passion, enthusiasm and talent shown by the participants over the weekend was truly inspiring."
Deven Rich, Team Leader of the winning team, Squadshout.com, said that he found the weekend to be a "rewarding experience".
According to Rich, they plan to launch their product, a fully-featured team notification system "over the next few months".
About Accelerate Okanagan
Accelerate Okanagan, a technology focused not-for-profit, was formed on December 31, 2010 with the mission to increase the number of technology companies that start and grow in the Okanagan by helping to develop and support a vibrant entrepreneurial, creative and innovative technology community and providing programs that support entrepreneurs and technology companies looking to start, accelerate and grow.
About Startup Weekends
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. The weekend events are centred on action, innovation, and education. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs. Participants are challenged with building functional startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks.