Startup Weekend

Louisville’s seventh Startup Weekend was October 9-11, 2015. The event gives participants the chance to pitch ideas to each other, form teams, research their topic, speak with customers, create a thing (a gadget, an app, a website, a process, etc.), and present their findings before a panel of judges. Eight teams made it to the Sunday evening judging rounds.

This was the first time that the first, second, and third-place teams were all led by women.

Third place went to artiFACTS, led by artist/photographer/designer/coder Lea Ingold. The artiFACTS phone app will make it faster and easier to ship artwork or other valuables that need their conditions to be photographed and documented vigorously along the way.

Second place went to Bodyguard, led by Berea College student Raunak Thakur. Bodyguard is a phone app that will silently alert campus police and up to five friends in case of danger. It can optionally sound an alert and flash the camera light.

First place went to Foodinary, led by high school student Abigail Griggs.

I’ll say that again — led by high school student Abigail Griggs.

Foodinary is a phone app that will explain the ingredients on food labels in plain language, including how it is likely to affect our bodies. Each user could set up a list of food allergies, dietary restrictions, religious prohibitions, and other “food no-nos” to get alerted before eating something they shouldn’t.

Future enhancements to Foodinary could include logging nutrition intake, searching for foods that will affect our bodies in the particular way we want, image recognition for prepared food (“This looks looks like a plate of fettuccine alfredo, is that correct?”), user feedback and community interaction, and more.

I love being a part of Startup Weekend. It’s a chance to meet new people, hear new ideas, unite for a common cause, explore new processes and technologies, spend time with excited entrepreneurs, learn from experienced business mentors — in short — to get out of our own comfort zones.

To find out more about events like this, check out:
Louisville Startup Weekend
Lean Startup Circle
Open Coffee

There are a number of coworking spaces and business incubators:
The Park at Shelby
Mid-America Science Park (Sellersburg)

Read through the marvelous summaries from these experts:
• Greg Langdon’s summary of Louisville Startup Resources
• Vik Chada’s Mind Map of Louisville Startup Resources

And find an association or two to meet people in your field.
Some of the groups I’m involved in are:
Technology Association of Louisville Kentucky (TALK)
SQL Louisville
Civic Data Alliance
.NET Meetup
Society for Technical Communication
Louisville Digital Association
Keep Louisville Weird
Improv Comedy Workshop
Louisville Mastermind
No Rules Networking
…and plenty more. Find your own ways to get involved.

Startup Weekend Group Shot
Startup Weekend Louisville, #SWLou