Tag: Startup Olympics

SpareFoot Takes Gold at Austin’s Third Annual Startup Olympics

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Joe Ross,president and cofounder CSID and Shawn Bose, vice president and general manager of UShip.

Joe Ross,president and cofounder CSID and Shawn Bose, vice president and general manager of UShip. Photo by Susan Lahey

“Eye of the Tiger” throbbed in the background, interrupted only by periodic swells of cheering as various teams won beer pong, foosball, darts and myriad other games at the third annual Startup Olympics in Austin Music Hall Saturday.
Sixteen startup teams competed but SpareFoot triumphed, winning more games than any other startup team and receiving a check for $23,000 to go to Kure It, an organization that funds cancer research. Uship took second place and Capital Factory won the third place trophy.
The top three teams win the biggest part of the pot, which this year was close to $60,000, according to Gillian Wilson, co-founder and president of the games and senior manager of human resources for UShip.
Gillian Wilson, co-founder and president of the games and senior manager of human resources for UShip. Photo by Susan Lahey

Gillian Wilson, co-founder and president of the games and senior manager of human resources for UShip. Photo by Susan Lahey

But every charity chosen by the various teams will receive some money.
Originally, the games started as a friendly challenge, said Shawn Bose, vice president and general manager of global business for UShip.
Several friends from different startups were “all out one night and it was like ‘We could beat you at beer pong….’” Bose said. Soon, the idea had ballooned to include eight startups and raising money for charity.
“You hear all these stories about cutthroat behavior in the valley and in New York,” he said, “here in Austin we have this great community, this culture of helping each other.”
Bose said he’d known of people who came to the event last year just to network and wound up working at one of the competing startups. He liked to imagine that there might be people hatching an idea for a new startup in the midst of the event, standing at the foosball table, or playing darts.
20140125_155400 (1)Last year, John Egan, now editor in chief at SpareFoot, was getting ready for his Monday job interview with the company when he attended the Startup Olympics.
“I think it’s a great event because it brings a lot of startups together that might not otherwise come together and it raises a lot of money for great charities.”
The founders have a rule that only startups can participate, meaning that a large company—like RetailMeNot—isn’t eligible to participate. But Bose said that didn’t stop the company from being one of the event’s biggest sponsors. Capital Factory had its own team of startups whose numbers were too small to form their own teams. Many teams wore costumes ranging from team t-shirts to togas and laurel wreaths, giant inflated body suits and hair-band attire.
20140125_165648Every year, there’s a mystery competition that is unveiled at the end of the day. The first year it was a bouncy castle, last year it was a mechanical bull, and this year it was a labyrinth the “athletes” had to navigate blindfolded.
The first year the event raised $3,000 for charity and has grown exponentially ever since. At some point, Bose and Wilson said, they’d like to see other cities adopt the event and possibly hold national or even global competition during SXSW.

The importance of play at Austin Startup Olympics

Never underestimate the importance in play in the workplace.
People who play together have better collaboration and social skills, according to SocialWare, which produced this info graphic on the Importance of Play in Enterprise.
But the guys at uShip already know that. They got together with seven other startups companies: BuildASign, Mass Relevance, Adlucent, Sparefoot, Spredfast, WhaleShark Media and Boundless Network to participate in the first Startup Olympics. The teams participated in ten activities on Saturday which involved copies amounts of beer and camaraderie. The events included foosball, darts, shuffleboard, pop-a-shot basketball, beerpong, flipacup, ping pong, trivia, connect four and an obstacle course.
In the end, uShip took home the big trophy, followed by BuildASign and Sparefoot. About 200 people participated in the events, which raised lots of money for local charities.

Geek athletes compete at Austin’s Startup Olympics

Put Geek athletes into the Google search engine and what do you come up with?
A correction suggestion for Greek Athletes.
So the conclusion must be that Geek athletes are an evolution of the ancient Greek athletes that invented the Olympic Games in 776 BC in Olympia in Greece.
And as part of that evolutionary process, now a team of Austin innovators have created the first Austin Startup Olympics which features Austin’s elite startups Adlucent, Boundless Network, Build-a-Sign, Mass Relevance, SpareFoot, Spredfast, uShip, and WhaleShark Media competing in 10 grueling activities including Ping Pong, Foosball, Darts and Trivia.
The games begin today at 2 p.m. at the uShip headquarters. The event is closed to the public, but an after party to raise money for charity will be held at Club De Ville. “Bands performing at the after-party include The Lemurs and Burgess Meredith. All proceeds from the $10 cover charge will benefit local charities,” according to a news release.
You can also follow today’s action on Twitter.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Austin Children’s Museum, Austin Pets Alive, Austin Pro Bono, Capital Area Food Bank, Communities in Schools of Central Texas, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas , Kure It, and Livestrong/Lance Armstrong Foundation. Sponsors for the event include Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Cedar Door.
The Startup Olympic organizers want to challenge other startups, particularly those in Silicon Valley, to come to South by Southwest and compete in the second Startup Olympics. Contact StartupOlympics.org for more information.
“Guys like Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican Bobsled team were true innovators, giving their particular sports a new twist, a new look that made them legendary,” Shawn Bose of uShip and co-Chair of the Austin Startup Olympics said in a statement.
“You’ll find that same innovation among Austin’s startups – not only among those competing in the event, but citywide,” said Bose. “We’ve brought new ideas to existing industries and businesses. Many of these ideas came about during fierce games of ping pong, beer pong or even Connect Four while squatting at ‘innovative work spaces’ like Crown and Anchor Pub and Mozart’s Coffee Roasters.”

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