Location-Based Story Solution Wins Startup Weekend New Orleans

Startup Weekend is an event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to launch startups in just 54-hours. The event, held in conjunction with UP Global during Global Entrepreneur Week, kicked off Friday evening (November 21) and ran through Sunday evening when the final pitches took place.

Throughout the weekend, six teams were primarily devoted to customer development, validation, practicing lean startup methods, and building a minimum viable product.

Startup Weekend

Six teams were formed at the third Startup Weekend New Orleans.

Nearing the end of the event, representatives from each startup were ready to pitch in front of a live audience and a panel of judges including: Earl Robinson, President, PowerMovesNOLA; Peter Ricci, Head of Global Operations at Altium; Eric Seling, Director, Service and Innovation Team, City of New Orleans; Torrie Adams, Head of Product Development, Kickboard; and Jon Atkinson, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development at Loyola University.

Each team was allowed five minutes to pitch, followed by a five minute question and answer sessions with the judges.

A brief description about each startup is below (in order of appearance):

  • Clockwork – What started out as a peer-to-peer on-demand local service for college students morphed into a platform that takes individual services, such as Uber or GrubHub, and puts them into one app, automating routines and allowing users to “take control of services.”
  • Herbs on Curbs – The startup wants to relive the issue of “food deserts,” or areas with a significant population below the poverty line, low car ownership, and no grocery stores within a one mile radius. Herbs on Curbs is a farmer’s market on wheels that brings healthy, fresh food to people who normally don’t have access to markets.
  • RentKit – RentKit is a web-based platform matching students to potential landlords. The personalized platform that takes into account both quantitative and qualitative measures seeks to solve the problem that student renters have with often no credit history to back them up.
  • Solace – The “comfort without compromise” company Solace is a platform for finding stylish and customizable textiles on the web. Users can view curated products or design their own.
  • Vignet – Vignet is an artistic platform for location-based poetry and storytelling. The startup links stories to places, and users can receive push notification when they are in venues with available content. The companion app for festivals and other events is a venue for artists to find a following.
  • 9 Volt Kids – The “9VKids” solution targets the problem of students who are disconnected from the math learned in schools. It encourages kids to ask questions about their lives, aligning the common core and their interests, and learn math in an engaging way.

Vignet, the “platform for listening, imagination, art and commerce,” took home the top prize, a mix of cash and in kind services and resources from participating sponsors.