During the 72-hour period that made up 3 Day Startup San Antonio, seven companies formed.
Some pivoted. Most did market research to validate their ideas. And few of the 40 participants in the program slept.
The weekend culminated with a pitch event Sunday evening in which the teams showed off all their work.
“Audius.co had the greatest pivot,” said Nick Longo, director of Geekdom , which hosted the event, and a mentor. They went from their original idea of synchronizing live streams for bands on smart phones to creating an app for church sermons back to a tweak on the original idea of creating a synchronized app for the people in the audience at concerts and other events to connect, Longo said.
Michael Girdley pitched the $2.99 app to a standing room only crowd at Geekdom Sunday night. The crowd seemed receptive to the idea. He even orchestrated a demonstration by asking the crowd to point the browsers on their smart phones to Audius.co. Then they dimmed the lights and some of Audius.co’s team members jumped around on stage with their mobile phones flashing lights.
“Their original idea didn’t have a good revenue model,” Longo said. “The second idea had a worst one. The third idea had a well laid out winning business model.”
ReInVintage also got kudos from Longo for having “the most bonded team.” Their idea for a marketplace of vintage clothes for buyers and sellers with a custom tailoring option did not waiver from the beginning. The team of nine members spent the weekend building out the site, creating a marketing plan, doing market research and fine-tuning their business plan.
Jackie Davis, a marketing analyst with Rackspace, led the team. During her pitch, she wore a powder blue vintage sleeveless sheath dress from the 1970s, which she bought on eBay for $4 and altered herself to fit.
She already runs a vintage clothing business out of her bedroom. She launched the venture a few years ago and it’s profitable. She buys the clothes from thrift stores and on eBay. One of her passions is to keep old clothes from ending up in landfills.
“Polyester never, ever biodegrades,” she said. “This business is good for people and it’s good for mother earth.”
Later, the ReInVintage team got an award for best dressed and for “besties” or being the most spirited and bonded team. They even set up a smoothie machine in their conference room and supplied the team with fruit smoothies throughout the weekend.
Pat Condon, a mentor for 3 Day Startup San Antonio and a co-founder of Rackspace, liked the ReInVintage team.
“I really like niche businesses that serve an under-served audience,” Condon said.
This is the fifth 3 Day Startup San Antonio Condon has participated in.
“I think it’s the best class we’ve had here,” Condon said “We’ve got a lot more broader representation from Trinity, St. Mary’s, UIW and UTSA. More diversity equals more success.”
Condon also liked Monk’s Toolbox, a mobile phone app for microbrewers to automate their back-end operations.
“Something that replaces excel and spreadsheets for small business is a good idea,” Condon said.
The key to success for the teams during the weekend is to keep it simple, Longo said.
“If they can keep it simple, they can add stuff later,” he said. “The idea is to get to a minimum viable product that they can release.’’
The mentors helped save two teams from demise during the weekend because they started to get off track, Longo said. He declined to say which teams.
In the end, they all had polished presentations.
ArtPrint.me was a renegade team. It didn’t receive enough votes to make the final cut on Friday night. But some people decided to revive the idea and work on it during the weekend. In the end, they created a marketplace to allow consumers to buy prints of art at coffee shops.
“Spreading art throughout the world by turning every wall into a store,” said Lauren Anzaldua, a senior at the UTSA, who pitched her team’s concept.
TutorU grew out of David Riedel’s experience as a senior studying cyber security at UTSA. The site connects students with tutors around the clock.
“This is going to go somewhere,” said Daniel Dawson, a software engineering student at Trinity and a member of TutorU team.
The other teams included Airloom, a cloud-based site for storing precious family photos, videos and audio recordings and SocialRest, a portal for app developers to get code fixes from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The diversity of the people in attendance made the event special, said Alan Weinkrantz, who runs his own public relations firm and served as a mentor to the teams.
“I’ve met everyone from a doctor who has some business ideas to a guy who works in a Sprint store,” Weinkrantz said. “There’s a broad social economic perspective of people who are all turned on by the idea of being able to do something on their own.”
Events like 3 Day Startup San Antonio actually serve as a better catalyst for igniting the city’s tech and biotech startup community than formal institutions like StarTech and BioMedSA, Weinkrantz said.
“They serve a purpose for institutions but not the startup community,” he said. “This is the space that is doing innovation not the traditional institutions that are trying to lob on to a place like this.”
Luz Cristal Glangchai, who runs the 3 Day Startup San Antonio program, called the weekend “a lab for entrepreneurs.”
“It’s amazing what they have been able to accomplish in a weekend,” she said.
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