This past weekend the international event known as Startup Weekend came to Guelph. More than 40 people from Guelph and surrounding areas assembled in the University of Guelph’s McLaughlan Library for a 54 hour marathon of pitching ideas, forming teams, and developing startups.
Startup Weekend Guelph was a fantastic event. Organized by students, staff, and faculty from across campus (including the Centre for Business and Social Entrepreneurship, and the School of Computer Science), the event saw successful pitches for dating, health, and food apps, as well as social platforms, and apps taking advantage of beacon & location-based technologies.
Attendees – including students, business professionals, and established entrepreneurs – had the opportunity to work with local mentors to refine their ideas, gain insights, and hone their product into something that could be brought to market.
By the end of the weekend three projects stood out to the panel of judges. Graded on execution, business model, and user experience, third place went to Jaando (the Hindi word for go); an online experience that connects people in real-time to events and activities in their region. The judges awarded second place to GEM, a company that brings newer tech to brick and mortar stores. Specifically, working with Gimbal beacons, the team designed software to encourage customers to explore stores – offering discounts on merchandise based on how much of the store they explore.
The grand prize – which included 1 month desk space at Toronto’s InCube, a Wellington Brewery prize pack, 6 copies of The Lean Startup, internet marketing consultation, and two Raspberry Pis – was awarded to The Custom Tea Company. The team successfully developed an online tea company that allows customers to design their own brews. The company also plans to provide customers with educational material for creating the best teas for health and wellness by working with naturopaths and tea experts.
Congrats to all of the winners, and to everyone who attended and made this weekend a success. And a special thanks to everyone involved in Startup Weekend Guelph – the volunteers, prize donors, event sponsors, and venue sponsors – without you this weekend wouldn’t have happened. And a huge thanks to the rest of the organizing team – I had a blast working with all of you.