It finally happened! Well, two things actually. Startup Weekend made it first ever appearance in Denton. And it was on the University of North Texas campus at the brand new Innovation Greenhouse (IG) in Sycamore Hall, which had just opened 2 weeks prior. SW became the first of many events to be hosted there. In a joint effort, Executive Director of the IG Nancy Hong, and SW organizers Brad Anderson and Kyle Taylor, with a huge assist from Christina Drummond, put out the call and it was answered! Nearly 50 entrepreneurs convened on Friday January 18th to meet and mingle, then get ready for the official kickoff.
UNT Vice President of Advancement Michael Monticino opened the event, greeting participants, guests, and VIPs. He then passed the baton to lead organizer Brad Anderson who told the crowd what Startup Weekend was all about and why it chose UNT. After thanking all those in attendance, especially the speaker/coaches like Bear Cahill, Shaun Treat, Josh Berthume, Ryan Jackson, Chuck McCoy, Maria Smith, Babar Bhatti, Anthone Campbell, and Sheri Jenkinson, Mr. Anderson introduced the 60-second pitches. One after another, each entrepreneur stood up in front of the microphone and had 60 seconds to pitch everyone about their great idea. Some serious, some silly — but all offered interesting and different perspectives on how to solve problems in the real world. After the 1-minute pitches, everyone mingled and voted to determine the best ideas. Teams formed around the best ideas and worked through the weekend to build something to present to the judges on Sunday evening.
Saturday was a work day, with a mid-day break to listen to our speakers share their expertise and advice. Teams found/created whatever workstations worked for them. Some even worked outside on a beautiful sunny day.
On Sunday, Harold Strong from UNT Discovery Park, Jerry Browder from the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship at Abilene Christian University, Josh Berthume from Swash Labs, and Michelle Cunningham from the City of Denton served as judges. And after each team had 5 minutes to present, followed by 5 minutes Q&A, the judges had a tough task ahead of them. They would decide 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Thanks to sponsors like the Innovation Greenhouse @ UNT, UNT Discovery Park, Ipseity Coaching, the City of Denton, Denton Municipal Electric, Acceleron Learning, Swash Labs, Brainwash Inc, and LevelTen, the organizing team was able to offer some really sweet prizes and offerings.
Team Chime In won 3rd place, along with a set of iOS development books from Bear Cahill. Team Group Grabber came in 2nd and were offered 10 hours of coaching and advisory services from Ipseity Coaching and Consulting and a 1 year subscription to content at Acceleron Learning. And Team Data Trigger took 1st place and won 3 months of incubator/office space at UNT Discover Park and 1 hour of brand management courtesy of Swash Labs.
Demographically, it was a crowd of about 25% technical, 75% non-technical, with a few creatives in the mix. A third (33%) were students, and we were happy to have been reached them.
So please pass along the great news! Were looking to make this event even bigger and better next time!
Stay tuned for more events coming to Dallas and Irving.