'Startup Weekend' brings bright ideas and big ambition
It was an event bringing together a little bit of technological intelligence and a lot of ambition.
Sioux Falls played host to an event called the 'Startup Weekend' looking to give a few entrepreneur hopefuls in our area that next big break.
All weekend long, a room at the South Dakota Technology Business Center in NW Sioux Falls has been full of tech-savvy people with the brightest of ideas.
"They start with a very skinny 60 second pitch on Friday night. Favorite ideas are selected. They form teams. They work all weekend to work through customer validation, branding, building a product for a tech company," organizer and Startup Weekend volunteer Wendy Overton said.
Tech entrepreneur John Meyer, co-founder and CEO of Lemon.ly says Sioux Falls was ready for this event. The most important thing, he says, aside from the good ideas is having that great teamwork.
"We have students from Northern, SDSU, entrepreneurs from Yankton to Sioux Falls and Brookings. We have mobile apps, websites, things to help you schedule meeting, lots of different variety," Lemon.ly co-founder and CEO John Meyer said.
On one of the weekend's six teams was recent USD Grad Amanda Connelly.
"Moving into SF, I didn't know many people. I thought it was a great way to connect, get out of my comfort zone and exercise different things," Amanda Connelly said. "Taking this experience and sharing it with coworkers and motivating them to be more involved, try new things, I got to work on more web things and I typically don't get to do that with developers on a day-to-day basis. That was the best part of my experience."
And that experience, she said, is priceless.
"I told everyone, 'at minimum you'll walk away with some great connections, some new friends. At maximum, you could walk away with a new job or career'. One of these could turn into a new company. When dust settles, people will walk away with a lot of value," Meyer said.
After each of the 6 teams presented their new ideas to a panel of judges, Sunday night, the winning team included a group creating 'Picki' which is a social media decision making app, similar to SnapChat, to help make getting dressed in the morning a little easier.
With some help in finances and a chance to make it big in the technology world, team 'Picki's' journey is just beginning.