Tag: Austin Startup Games

Fifth Annual Austin Startup Games Takes Place Saturday

IMG_5037_2-1024x768Has it been five years already?

Silicon Hills News covered the first Austin Startup Games at uShip back in the day and every one since then. In the beginning, they called them the Austin Startup Olympics, but I think they had to change the name so as not to confuse everyone with the real Olympics. (which to my knowledge doesn’t yet offer a gold medal in beer pong.)

uShip won the first Austin Startup Games, BuildASign came in second followed by SpareFoot. But BuildASign went on to capture the crown during the summer games. And SpareFoot claimed the top prize at the third Startup Games. SpareFoot also won again last year.

So the big question on everyone’s minds in the startup community is will SpareFoot win again? To find out, head out to the fifth annual Austin Startup Games today at Fair Market. And it’s not just for fun. This is serious fundraising business. Every year, the startups raise money for local charities. This year, they aim to raise more than $57,500 for local nonprofit organizations.

The events include Ping Pong, Foosball, Beer Pong, Flip Cup, Pop-a-Shot, Darts, Shuffleboard, Connect Four, Trivia, MarioKart, Liar’s Dice (for executives of local tech startups) and the fan’s favorite: Mystery Event. In the past, the mystery event has included bull riding and jousting in an inflatable ring with a strongman.

Participating companies also competed in a canned food drive leading up to the event, which awarded the winning team, Modernize, a one-point lead heading into the contest. The team with the most points wins the games with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. But every startup that participates receives $1,000 to donate to the charity of its choice.

“Startup Games celebrates the hardworking, competitive and fun atmosphere that drives so many successful companies in Austin, and puts that culture to work for good causes,” Dan Graham, co-founder of the Notley Fund, a newly-launched philanthropic investment firm, said in a news release. Earlier this year, Startup Games joined the Notley Fund as one of its signature programs that amplify giving in local communities.

The Notley Fund grows out of Graham’s, and his wife and co-founder Lisa’s, commitment to creating positive change. As CEO of BuildASign.com, Graham made charitable donation a part of company culture; they have contributed more than $1 million of in-kind donations to more than 1,700 local and national non-profit organizations. With the Startup Games, Dan and Lisa Graham hope to give more businesses the same power for positive change.

“Our vision is to have the top startup communities across the world competing in local events with the goal of raising $1,000,000 per year for charity,” Graham said.

Here is the complete list of teams and the charities they’ve chosen to support:

Boundless Network — Charity: Meals on Wheels and More
Capital Factory — Charity: Breakthrough Austin
Civitas Learning — Charity: Center for Child Protection
theCHIVE — Charity: CHIVE Charities
Headspring — Charity: Do It For The Love
LawnStarter — Charity: NAMI-National Alliance on Mental Illness
Modernize — Charity: Girl Start
OneSpot — Charity: Without Regrets
OutboundEngine — Charity: Austin Children’s Shelter
OwnLocal — Charity: Austin Bat Cave
RideScout — Charity: Team RWB
Sparefoot — Charity: Kure It
TrendKite — Charity: JDRF Austin
uShip — Charity: Communities in Schools of Central TX

The Austin Startup Games kick off at 12:45 pm CT at Fair Market, 1100 E. 5th Street. Doors open at 12:00 p.m. The event is open to the public. A $10 donation is suggested for admission.

The Austin Startup Games, founded in 2012, is sponsored by PwC, CBRE, Kastner Huggins Reddien & Gravelle, ScaleFactor, Geeks Who Drink, McKinley Rother DiMarco, and Easton Park.

SpareFoot Wins Austin Startup Games Again

IMG_5037_2SpareFoot won the Austin Startup Games for the third year in a row.

The Austin-based startup, which bills itself as the nation’s largest marketplace for finding and booking self-storage, had a ringer this year.

The company recruited Icelandic strongman “Thor” Bjornsson to join the company as its senior vice president of Icelandic business.

Bjornsson, known as “The Mountain” on HBO’s Game of Thrones series, battled numerous contestants in the surprise “jousting” competition. In reality, Bjornsson didn’t really join SpareFoot but put in a celebrity appearance and took numerous photos with contestants and fans. He also bench-pressed quite a few people.

SpareFoot won fair and square on its team’s abilities to compete in sports including foosball, darts, shuffleboard, Pop-a-shot, beerpong, flip cup, connect four and trivia.

More than 1,000 people attended this year’s event held at Vintage Innovation’s Innovation Station on Saturday, said Gillian Wilson, the game’s president and founder. The game organizers also collected boxes of canned goods to donate to the Austin Food Bank. The event raised $50,000 for various charities chosen by the startup teams, she said.

SpareFoot received $19,000 for its charity Kure It, second place winner, Boundless Network got $12,000 for Meals on Wheels and third place winner Home Improvement Leads received $7,000 for Wikipedia. Each team got $1,000 for its charity just for participating.

“Startup Games is a day of fun and philanthropy,” Wilson said. “Today, we had 15 different companies come out to play games and let their hair down. These are the best of the best of each company as athletes. Each team chooses a charity to play for.”

In four years, the Austin Startup Games has donated $155,000 to charities, Wilson said.

Capital Factory competed in the Austin Startup Games for the third year in a row. Its team included startups that are too small to have their own team, said Joshua Baer, founder of Capital Factory. The games bring together technology startups from all over Austin.

“This helps build company culture and helps the teams work better together,” Baer said. “At the same time, it’s raising money for charity.”

The games also increase the visibility of the startup community in Austin, Baer said.

“One of the things it does for the startup community is this how people know there is a startup community,” Baer said. “This is it. You can see it. You can see the excitement of it.”

Baer also competed in a new event this year called “Liar’s Dice.” It was just for the CEOs of the startups.
“This is the fourth time we’re doing it in Austin,” Baer said. “But we’re expanding this year to other cities nationwide.”

The next event the Startup Games is having is in Austin in April for larger tech companies that are no longer startups. Those games will include Spredfast, BuildASign, MapMyFitness and other larger companies, she said.

The Startup Games is also looking to expand to Chicago and Boulder, Colorado, Wilson said.

The other startup teams and their charities:

 ATX Seed Ventures – Charity: The Bunker, Austin

 Buzz Points – Charity: Wounded Warrior Project

 Capital Factory – Charity: Breakthrough Austin

 Civitas Learning – Charity: Center for Child Protection

 Headspring – Charity: Lifeworks

 OneSpot – Charity: Urban Roots

 OutboundEngine – Charity: Safe Place

 RideScout – Charity: Team Red, White & Blue

 theCHIVE – Charity: Chive Charities

 TrendKite – Charity: Toast the Cure

 uShip – Charity: Communities In Schools

 WP Engine – Charity: Austin Pets Alive

Austin Startup Games to Showcase Entrepreneurial Athletes

Founder of Silicon Hills News

logoIt’s less than a month to go until the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi kicks off.
But if you can’t wait that long and you can’t travel to Russia, there’s a solution much closer in Austin.
It’s the Austin Startup 2014 Winter Games! The event begins at 1 p.m. at the Austin Music Hall on Jan. 25th. Tickets cost $10 to attend.
The Austin Startup Games are like the Olympics for nerds. A bunch of startups will come together to compete in Ping-Pong, foosball, darts, shuffleboard, flip cup, beer pong, giant Connect4, Pop-A-Shot and trivia. And if past games are any indication, these athletes will also imbibe a lot of beer and other refreshments.
The Austin Startup Games started in 2012 by entrepreneurs from eight startup companies. The goal is to give back to the community and have fun doing it. All of the money raised gets donated to local charities.
The Austin Startup Games has since doubled in size with 16 startups competing in the winter games. Those startups are Adlucent, Adometry, Boundless Network, Build a Sign, Capital Factory, Chaotic Moon, CSID, Headspring, Living Direct, Map My Fitness, Main Street Hub, Mass Relevance, SpareFoot, Spiceworks, Spredfast and uShip.
Also, the CEOs of those startups will compete in the final event of the game, which is a surprise and it will not be revealed until the games begin. Last year, the surprise event was a mechanical bull.

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