Editor’s Note: Cameron Cushman was a volunteer organizer for this year’s Startup Weekend Fort Worth.
So what happens when you have the former CEO of Startup Weekend facilitating your weekend-long company creation event and you get an extra hour in which to build companies? You get some amazing teams of entrepreneurs building really cool startups.
The fourth iteration of Startup Weekend Fort Worth was held earlier this month and by all accounts, it was the best one yet.
As is standard at these events, participants got one minute to pitch their ideas on Friday night and then they self-selected into teams around the best ideas.
Each team worked on their ideas like crazy for 55 hours (remember, it was the fall back weekend!) before they presented to a panel of judges on Sunday night. Some great ideas were pitched and it was truly amazing to see what each team was to able show the judges just a few days later.
Ultimately, seven different startup teams competed:
- Fluidity, an app for people suffering from mental illness or who are contemplating suicide that easily connects them to their support network when they need it the most
- Thrive, an educational app that presented an easier way to learn more about the ingredients in your food before you buy it
- Brace Alert, wearable technology for kids to make sure they don’t get lost, particularly on field trips or at large public events
- Homebody, a service that would provide trusted individuals or “homebodies” into your house so that they could let repair people into your house so you can stay at work
- Lights 2 0, a hydrogen peroxide-based water purification system that uses light to purify water, particularly for camping or natural disasters
- Work Owl, software that helps make the onboarding of new employees more efficient and more user friendly
- GoGive, a way for people to buy food for the homeless at convenience stores using a prepaid “receipt”
The competition was fierce, but at the end, there could be only one team that could call themselves the champions of the fourth Startup Weekend Fort Worth.
But that wasn’t all that made the weekend special.
First of all, we had the most experienced Startup Weekend facilitator in the world in Marc Nager.
Nager not only served as CEO of Startup Weekend for seven years and negotiated its acquisition by Techstars, but he also has facilitated more than 100 Startup Weekends in more than 50 countries. Nager led us well all weekend and he shared an incredible amount of his knowledge with each of our teams. His tireless efforts were evident in the high quality of the presentations that we saw on Sunday evening.
Second, we had some fun surprises along the way. UNT Health Science Center was a beautiful place to spend the weekend. Our cold coffee sponsor, High Brew Coffee, gave us a curated tasting of its beverages and Tech Talent South presented one of our lucky participants with a scholarship to one of their coding classes.
Finally, we had a really unique group of judges that picked our winners on Sunday night:
- Victoria Wise, a mommy blogger and the brains behind Tanglewood Moms and the newly launched Madeworthy Magazine
- Brian Byrd, the Fort Worth City Council member for District 3 as well as a doctor and cashed out entrepreneur
- Michael Sherrod, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Texas Christian University who started 16 companies, one of which he sold to AOL in the late 1990s
- Les Kreis, a Fort Worth venture capital investor who runs two early- to mid-stage investment firms focused on biotech
When you add in the fact that these teams got an extra hour of the weekend to build their companies due to Daylight Savings Time (Startup Weekends typically run for 54 hours, but we got 55!) something awesome was bound to happen.
So who won?
Drumroll please …
The winners of Startup Weekend Fort Worth were:
Honorable Mention — Fluidity
Third Place — Work Owl
Second Place — Lights 2 O
And the winner was …
Photos courtesy of Cameron Cushman
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