2013 has begun on a great note for Calgary with 80 participants collaborating to create 11 new startups at the recently concluded Startup Weekend.
If you’re unfamiliar, Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2012. The concept is simple – you get together on a Friday evening and pitch startup ideas, the community votes for the ideas they’d like to see developed, teams are formed, and the next two days are spent trying to validate the market, refine the business model and build a minimum viable product. The teams pitch their startup and demonstrate their product to a panel of judges on Sunday night.
The top three prizes were awarded to Parley, a simple performance management system, Mood2Food, an online portal connecting those with food allergies to restaurants, resources and each other, and Give A Mile, an online platform to crowdsource airmiles for those who can’t afford to visit their loved ones who are terminally ill. There was also an award for the Most Exciting pitch won by WeScored, an app that sounds an alarm on your phone when your favorite team scores.
The winning team, Parley, gets an automatic spot in the Cloud Showdown co-hosted by Boast Capital and the Canadian Cloud Council on March 11th, 2013. Ten startups will pitch to a panel of judges including Saeed Amidi, Owner of Plug and Play Tech Center and early-investor in PayPal and Dropbox, and Robert Herjavec, Star of Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den.
“I was honored to participate as a judge at Startup Weekend Calgary,” says Alex Popa, Partner at Boast Capital and Plug and Play Canada. “The quality of the startups was far better than any other hackathon I’ve attended in the past. Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy and such events not only spur new entrepreneurs, ideas, and innovations, but also bring the whole community together. We need to host many more Startup Weekends in Calgary”.