From Start to Finish – Chicago’s 6th Startup Weekend


Chicago’s sixth Startup Weekend kicked off Friday (June 1st) evening, as 45 developers, 18 designers, and 47 non-technical (marketers, project managers, data analysts) participants showed up to TechNexus, who played host for the event the entire weekend.

Ramon De Leon had enough pizza delivered to feed the hungry crowd of over 100 people (thanks Ramon!). Then two speakers presented to kick things off: Ethan Austin (Co-Founder of GiveForward – Silver sponsor) opened the evening with how his company got started, and how they were able to raise some money along the way. Matt Moog (Founder of Built in Chicago – media sponsor) then gave an inspiring talk explaining all the activity taking place and significant jumps Chicago has made over the past few years.

Then came the pitches. After nearly 70 ideas were pitched, participants voted on their favorites (up to 3 votes from each attendee). The dozens of ideas were then narrowed down to 16. Teams were then formed built off the 16 ideas. Team names and brief descriptions are below:

  • DeckConnect:
    • A tool for DJs to broadcast shows real time from one venue to multiple venues. Changing the experience for those who crave great music while at live, social events.
  • Pair Bubbles:
    • A simple way to archive social interaction in a special place, sent from your significant other. Never worry about losing, or having to search for a picture or text message from a loved one again.
  • Belated:
    • Facebook serving app when forgetting others’ birthdays or significant events. Make up for your mistake by admitting you’re a jerk with Belated.
  • Exersocial:
    • Mobile app that enables users to create custom races and compete with friends and family from anywhere in the world. Challenging people to become more active, and motivating them to stay healthy.
  • Social Business Traveler:
    • Providing and fostering an environment where professionals discover and find other professionals while traveling. Changing the way you meet new people while traveling.
  • AllRoverTown:
    • Recommendations for dog friendly businesses around your city with one easy search. Don’t let your dog miss out on the fun by using AllRoverTown.
  • Project Live Well:
    • A comprehensive, customizable program for employees to make better health choices. Encouraging employees to practice a healthier lifestyle.
  • Faire:
    • Curated local events. Bringing people together one event at a time.
  • DebtBeet:
    • Debt collection service that eliminates awkward IOU situations among friends. Collect your money from friends who suck at paying you back with DebBeet.
  • Clutch:
    • Post, share, and buy fashion items in a brand new way. Create and share a brand new shopping wishlist with Clutch.
  • CareContent:
    • A reserve of web content for hospital websites and e-newsletters. Changing the way patients Helping hospitals tell real stories of the human body.
  • Blist:
    • A platform to share goals and discover activities you want to accomplish with anyone. An easier way for people to accomplish their bucketlist one item at a time.
  • LearnLive:
    • A place where anyone can learn or teach anything, anywhere, anytime. Changing the way people learn on the web through live video.
  • RatingsKick:
    • Advertising research tool that aggregates consumer’s social engagement with broadcast content, using a proprietary algorithm to assign a Kick Value that quantifies those engagements. Enabling advertisers to plan and purchase broadcast media more efficiently.

Saturday and Sunday were heads down and work all day (with some eating, too). Solstice Consulting sponsored breakfast, GiveForward sponsored lunch, and LevelUp provided dinner for Saturday. Sunday’s breakfast was sponsored by Review Trackers, and Wow Bao provided a great (and free) dinner. Topics and Intelligentsia saved the weekend and provided coffee for the entire event.

Come Sunday evening, each team had 5 minutes to present their products, and show an audience of over 130 people, what they spent all weekend working on. Three minutes of Q&A from our judge panel (Kevin WIller, Jason Weingarten, Brandon Passley, and Jeff Carter) immediately followed each team’s presentation.

After a suspenseful 15 minutes of judges collaborating, awards were given and a winner was determined.

1st – CareContent
2nd – Exer-Social
3rd – AllRoverTown
Honorable Mention – Blist
Best Presentation – Belated
Performics Award – RatingsKick
Should Pivot Award – LearnLive
Early to Rise Award – DebtBeet

A huge thanks goes out to our sponsors for making this event possible. The complete list, along with judges and coaches, can be found on our home page: