Tag: San Antonio Startup Weekend

TrueAbility Wins San Antonio Startup Weekend

Team photo of TrueAbility, which took home the top prize at San Antonio Startup Weekend. Photo courtesy of San Antonio Startup Weekend.

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.

Frederick Mendler pitching TrueAbility at San Antonio Startup Weekend photo courtesy of San Antonio Startup Weekend

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.

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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