New Orleans Startup Weekend is part of a larger international network that hosts 54-hour business building events that attract entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts, developers, designers, marketers and creatives.
Held at Loyola University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, participants gathered on Friday, October 16 to hear the initial 15 pitches. The group then voted to narrow the ideas down to seven to move forward with. Teams are then formed and startups begin to be built in the short amount of time before the final pitches two days later.
On Sunday evening, each new business idea was pitched to a panel of judges including: Jon Atkinson, Director for the Loyola University Center for Entrepreneurship and Fund Executive South Coast Angel Fund II; Uchechi Kalu, Cofounder/CEO of Wedocracy; Chris Reade, President of Lookfar; Jon Renthrope, Founder & Ceo of Cajun Fire.
After the judges deliberated, they revealed that FuhWe, a platform for personalized travel experience, took home the top Startup Weekend Prize. Katherine Robinson, who pitched for FuhWe, was joined by diverse team members from the US and Caribbean: Trich Lee, Shawn Louis, Patricia Maher, Lila Mohamed, Thomas Officer, and Gian Romain.
“The winning team FuhWe, which means ‘for us’ in local Caribbean slang, is a mobile application connecting travelers with local experts for a cultural, fun experience,” explains Startup Weekend organizers. “The team exhibited a diverse skillset including marketing, technology development and design.”
The FuhWe team was awarded a prize package that included scholarships to Tech Talent South’s 8-week coding bootcamps, three months of coworking space at LaunchPad, one hour of legal advice from Abid Hussain an attorney with Derbes Law Firm, eight hours of development consultation with Revelry Labs and a guest speaking spot and lunch during Barprenuer at SoBou.
Second place was awarded to Go Blox, a toy that helps with the development of kids ages three through eight by connecting the movement of a toy car to the ordering of blocks. The group of engineering professors and students built a prototype to demonstrate at the final pitch competition.
Third place was awarded to Repudate, an app and API for users to read and leave reviews of your online date.
Audience choice was awarded to Music IMDB, a social platform for music industry professionals to network and credit work.