Tag: Startup Weekend San Antonio

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.”

Startups Burning the Midnight Oil at Geekdom

Members of Trakk-EM hash out the details of their idea

It’s after midnight at Geekdom and nestled in conference rooms throughout the 11th floor, groups of entrepreneurs continue to hash out business plans, design websites and figure out problems vexing their startups.
Cans of Red Bull are littered about along with empty water bottles, discarded coffee cups and Alamo Beer bottles. Bags of peanut M&Ms, Skittles, Mini-Hershey Bars, Pop-Tarts, Oreos, Rice Krispies Treats and more line the breakroom shelves.

Two of the members of Massage by Students working past midnight

In the Berners-Lee conference room, Josh Thielbar, a Rackspace employee by day and entrepreneur by night, pitches his BudgetAllies.com startup, a budgeting service aimed at families. He’s got a webpage designed already and a five minute pitch down solid.
“That’s a great pitch,” said Brian Curliss, head of the Massage by Students startup, a web platform that connects massage school students to local clients.
Thielbar is packing up to head home to his wife and three kids. He is a team of one. On Friday night, he had three people working on the project, but the team dispersed and the members either left the program or went to other ventures. Still, he plans to carry on and pitch to judges on Sunday night.
“I’m going to get first or second,” he said. “I didn’t come here to not win.”
He says his stiffest competition is TrueAbility, a team formed by four former Rackspace employees.
At that, Curliss objected. His team spent the day talking to people who run massage schools in San Antonio. He’s in it to win it too. They set up a consumer survey to get more feedback on the service. Curliss drove down from Dallas and has spent the entire weekend sleeping on a couch at Geekdom. Greg Stein, another team member, drove in from Austin and Yosef Javed travelled from Lake Charles, La. They say one guy drove 20 hours from California to participate in Startup Weekend San Antonio. Five people make up the Massage by Students team.
Initially, Massage by Students focused on marketing massage schools. San Antonio has seven of them. But after visiting a few Saturday afternoon, they decided to “pivot” or shift the focus of their startup away from schools to students who need a Customer Relationship Marketing or CRM platform. They plan to sell listings on their site to only 18 students in addition to the massage schools and they predict they can earn recurring monthly revenue of $2,000 to $6,000 in San Antonio and up to $100,000 nationally.
On Sunday, they’ve invited local massage students to visit Geekdom to give hour-long massages for $20.

The two member team working on Apartment Assurance

Chris Spence says he’ll stay up the entire 54 hours of Startup Weekend. He pulled an all nighter last night and he’s still up at 1 a.m. on Sunday.
He’s working with his co-founder, Jonathan Khan, on Apartment Assurance, a legal service for apartment dwellers. They’ve done market surveys and lots of research. They’re trying to hash out how much to charge for the service.
“We’re trying to decide whether to charge $14.99 a month or $19.99 a month, we’ve got to make the numbers work,” Spence said.
“I think it should be $9.99,” Khan said.
And so it goes in the life of a startup. By the time they’ve got to pitch later on Sunday, they’ll have all those details nailed down.
The crowd starts to thin out around 1 a.m., but a few people are letting off steam playing games of ping pong. The Trakk-Em team is still working in the commons area.

Startup Weekend San Antonio at Geekdom

In the old days, inventors tinkered in obscurity in their garages, spare bedrooms and basements.
But now that cool collaboration and coworking spaces like Geekdom have arrived on the scene, there’s no need to tinker in private. And if you’ve got a hankering to make something out of nothing, but you’re not into crafting like Martha Stewart or cooking like Gordon Ramsay, then you might want to take a shot at company creation especially if you like to get your hands dirty with coding and graphic design.
And Startup Weekend San Antonio and Geekdom have an opportunity for you to spend a weekend with like-minded individuals, brainstorming ideas, pounding out code and creating a new venture.
I covered the first Startup Weekend in San Antonio organized by Jennifer Navarrete when I worked at the local paper. I hung out with the teams for most of the weekend and I can tell you this is a serious venture. The people who attend this event are passionate about entrepreneurship. And they worked hard all weekend long. Some of the teams pulled all nighters.
The event generally starts out Friday evening with a brainstorming session. The group considers the ideas and votes on the best ones. The teams are formed and then the fun begins. They work the rest of the time to put together business plans, web sites and products and at the end they pitch their companies to venture capitalists and other interested investors.
Alan Torng and Michele Stewart of Austin are organizing the event along with Cristal Glangchai of San Antonio. Rackspace, the Kaufman Foundation and Geekdom are sponsoring it.
The event takes place on Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22 at Geekdom, on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre at 112 East Pecan street in downtown San Antonio. The early bird registration prices are done, but you can still snag a ticket for $99 here. This event usually sells out. At the last Startup Weekend Austin, people were submitting videos for a chance to get off the waiting list and get a ticket.

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