A team of four former Rackspace employees claimed the top prize at San Antonio Startup Weekend.
True Ability, a service that lets companies test the technical aptitude of job candidates, won the panel of judges over.
“TrueAbility helps companies hire great techs,” Frederick Mendler, CEO, said during his pitch.
One of the things lacking in the startup community is domain expertise, said Nick Longo, director of Geekdom.
“The biggest missing element is someone who knows the business they’re getting into,” he said.
TrueAbility knows the marketplace, Longo said. The need exists for startup companies to tackle bigger problems and TrueAbility is doing that, he said.
The company has 30 years of experience hiring technical talent and has hired more than 1,000 people at Rackspace, Mendler said. The TrueAbility platform will allow companies to know in advance how competent its job candidates are in different technical skills like Unix, Php and Java Script among other skills.
The team is made up of Mendler, Marcus Robertson, Luke Owen and Dusty Jones.
Following the big win, the team retired to their office at Geekdom to drink champagne and celebrate.
“We’re going to take tomorrow off and let the Red Bull wear off and get out of our systems,” Mendler said. “Then we’ll come back and focus on building the site out. We think there’s an opportunity to have $1 million in revenue in the next eight months.”
The judges thought TrueAbility had a solid business model and a well-formed and experienced team.
The judges also liked BikeIdentity, which garnered second place. BikeIdentity reported that 1.5 million bikes are stolen every year and 48 percent are recovered but less than 5 percent go back to their owners. BikeIdentity wants to solve that problem with NFC tags on bike frames that the police could scan to find the owners. The tags would retail for around $10. BikeIdentity estimates it will reach $12 million in revenue in 3 years. The team was seeking a $150,000 investment to bring its product to market.
SoundFly, a seven second broadcasting service on Twitter, took the third place prize.
“What would you say to the world in 7 seconds?” asked Ramesh Danala, during his presentation. SoundFly gives people the ability to accurately convey tone, emotion and personality with friends and family.
“People can Tweet and text, but the power of talking is amazing,” Danala said.
Dan Pernik first pitched the idea for SoundFly on Friday night. The idea didn’t get enough votes to become one of the selected projects. But when a team broke up over night, SoundFly got a new life. Inaddition to Pernik and Danala, Sundip Lal and Elliot Adams from New Orleans, joined the team.
“SoundFly was one of the ideas that has big potential,” said Pat Matthews, a senior vice president at Rackspace and one of the judges. “It definitely is an exciting idea.”
At the end of the day, most of the ideas that come out of San Antonio Startup Weekend won’t work, Longo said.
“That’s not why they’re here,” he said. “They leave here constantly learning. They now have a network.”
People can have ideas all day long, but they’ve got to execute on them, he said.
“This program forces them to execute,” he said. But people can’t fall in love with their ideas, he said.
“Never get married to your ideas” Longo said. As San Antonio Startup Weekend proved, they change and teams must adapt or die.
TrueAbility Wins San Antonio Startup Weekend
July 22, 2012 by 8 Comments