Tag: OurPart.US

It’s Not All About Winning at Startup Weekend San Antonio

The final pitch session on Sunday at Startup Weekend San Antonio

Even though Leslee Martinez’ team Trakk-EM didn’t win, she enjoyed the experience of Startup Weekend San Antonio.
Trakk-EM had one of the largest teams with seven people. Martinez’ idea was to create a watch with built-in GPS that connected to a mobile phone app. If a child went missing, the parent could simply alert everyone in the network immediately with the app and track the child on the phone.
“I’ve been at Sea World when my daughter was lost,” Martinez said. It’s one of the scariest experiences for a parent, she said. She found her four-year-old daughter but that experience prompted her to come up with the idea for the watch and mobile phone app.
Martinez, a senior majoring in business management at the University of Texas at San Antonio, may enroll in a technology program at the university. She wants to go on to compete in its technology competition.

Kyle Jennings, software engineer and former combat medic, participated in Startup Weekend San Antonio

Kyle Jennings who helped Trakk-EM with the design for their website and mobile phone app also gave a testimony for OurPart.US, a crowdfunding site for veterans.
Jennings, a former combat medic and now a software engineer, spent weeks in the Audie L. Murphy Veterans Memorial Hospital in San Antonio following an operation on his back because he also contracted double pneumonia.
His wife had to care for him and their newborn son and toddler daughter at home. He said he could have used a site like OurPart.US to connect him with resources for his house to provide him with more independence.
He would also contribute to projects for other veterans.
“I think there are a lot of people who want to take care of wounded veterans,” Jennings said. “I think it’s a great idea. I’d like to see it out there.”
Jennings’ idea for a family budget site actually got picked on Friday night at the beginning of Startup Weekend San Antonio. But his team for Remainder.com dissolved when they tried to join forces with BudgetAllies.com. The entrepreneurs had different visions for the site. He went on to help other teams instead.
Jennings still enjoyed the experience.
“I basically love my job,” Jennings said. “I love it so much I do it on weekends. For me, it’s not about coming here and winning. I like honing my craft and helping others. That’s what I’m passionate about.”
He’s also a member of Geekdom, a new co-working and collaboration space on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre downtown. Geekdom hosted the event. It provided office space, conference rooms, couches, a fully-stocked break room with refrigerators loaded with Red Bull and Alamo Beer and presentation space.
“The venue is key in the support of this event,” said Michele Stewart, one of the organizers of Startup Weekend San Antonio.
“I think people really enjoyed sleeping here all night long,” Stewart said. “With the support of Rackspace we were able to make it a fantastic weekend.”
Rackspace sponsored the event and provided all the meals and snacks and other support.
Startup Weekend San Antonio is in its infancy, said Royce Haynes, a coordinator and entrepreneur who flew in from Boulder, Colo.
“This is only the beginning,” he said. “I think we’re going to see a really robust startup community in San Antonio.”

54 Hours with No Sleep, No Problem at Startup Weekend San Antonio

Danny Willford, a developer, has been up since San Antonio Startup Weekend started on Friday. He’s working for two teams.

When the sun set Friday night in San Antonio, a group of dedicated entrepreneurs and entrepreneur wannabes gathered to create new companies during a 54 hour period as part of San Antonio Startup Weekend.
By Sunday morning, about a dozen people had dropped out. They either left because their idea wasn’t picked as a project on Friday night or they didn’t like the team they joined or they just wanted to go home. No one really knows why they left because they are gone. Ideas pivoted. Personalities conflicted. Teams disintegrated. Others formed.
Only the hardy remain, and these men and women are a dedicated bunch who have toiled all night long, in many cases, to bring their companies to life.
Tonight they will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges.
Danny Willford, a developer from Kyle, hasn’t gotten a wink of sleep since the event began. He left briefly on Friday night to meet some friends in San Marcos to celebrate his 26th birthday. But instead of driving the short distance to Kyle from the party, he turned around and came back to Geekdom, a collaborative workspace on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre downtown, which is hosting the event.
When he returned at 3 a.m., he met up with Brian Curliss, one of the guys behind Massage by Students. They talked for two hours about Curliss’s idea and the project. By the end, Willford agreed to work on Massage by Students’ project even though he had already joined the OurPart.US team, which is developing a crowdfunding site for veterans.
Willford doesn’t mind the extra work. He loves Startup Weekend. A few months ago, he moved from Chicago to take a job as a PhP Java Script developer for MicroAssist in Austin. He has participated in two Startup Weekends in Chicago, the last one was last Fall.
“This is a great way to meet new people,” Willford said.
Like a few others participating in San Antonio Startup Weekend, Willford has not slept. A comfy white couch sits just a few feet from his chair in an office room. He removed the fluffy blankets to resist the temptation to lie down. He stays awake thanks to Red Bull, snacks and adrenaline.
A few hours ago, Chris Spence, one of the founders of Apartment Assurance, who vowed to stay up the entire weekend, crashed at 7 a.m. on Sunday. He’s now sleeping in a office on three red bean bag chairs with the lights off. Curliss with Massage by Students fell asleep around 5 a.m. on a red couch in a really dark interior conference room. He asked his team to wake him up at noon.
But Willford has no intention of sleeping. He’s got too much work to do. He’s creating the back end of the Massage by Students website and also working on creating the website for OurPart.us.
Why does he do all this work for free? In fact, he paid $100 to participate in this madness.
“This is really fun,” he said. “The organizers at this one are the most fun I’ve ever seen. They stay up with us. They give us free beer. I really like the Alamo Beer.”
But his real motivation for participating in San Antonio Startup Weekend is to create new products and eventually found his own company.
“I can’t wait to be my own boss and launch something successful,” he said. “Having the ability to say that I made something that people use and like. I would find that to be really gratifying.”

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