16 May 2008
Both local newspapers have articles today about the recent Birmingam Startup effort. The Birmingham News had a quick blurb about the winner of Monday night’s vote and listed the other finalists. The Birmingham Business Journal article includes a quote from Travis Bryant, concentrating more on the winner. Thanks to Travis for the kind words about the Birmingham Startup process…
12 May 2008
12 May 2008
We just announced the winner… by an overwhelming margin, the winner of the 2nd Birmingham Startup pitch contest is GalleyPro! The entire audience voted, but the judges seemed to favor this pitch as well.
The judges were (left to right as shown above):
- David Gray, DAXKO – representing tech company CEOs
- Grey Wood, Jemison Investments – representing Venture Capital
- Susan Matlock, Innovation Depot – representing incubation and entrepreneurism
12 May 2008
This evening we are at Burr & Forman. Five companies are giving their pitches. The judging panel is pounding each entrepreneur with questions. Once we hear all of the presentations, a ballot will be distributed and a vote taken.
10 May 2008
With the lackluster response we had last night for developers to help with the build weekend, we’re focusing on what is working well… the actual presentations by the entrepreneurs. Instead of presenting products under development we will ask the presenters to continue to improve their pitches over the remainder of the weekend. They will be judged by the audience based on the best business idea/concept similar to the judging at our first event.
9 May 2008
It has been the best of times and the worst of luck. We have some very exciting plans remaining in contention for a build weekend, but lacked sufficient resources tonight to move forward. We spent a couple of hour discussing everyone’s next steps and heard some greatly improved pitches. While the event is a competition, EVERYONE has helped each other in a form of coopetition that has been truly admirable.
7 May 2008
Ready to build a few companies this weekend? Here’s a run-down of the businesses that have been formed (all are now registered corporations with the Secretary of State thanks to Burr & Forman, LLP). Who will make enough progress in one weekend to stand out at the competition on Monday night? Who will buckle under the pressure of compressing months of effort into a single weekend? Who will decide that a regular paycheck is better or worse than the frenetic pace of entrepreneurism?!? Only time will tell. No matter what, it promises to be a fun weekend.
Each of these teams needs your help. They are all going through this process seeking co-founders and general assistance. Roles vary, but they typically need software developers, database experts, UI/UX designers, graphic artists, documentation writers, quality assurance engineers, and project managers. Work on the projects can be done onsite at the Innovation Depot or remotely using any number of methods that companies implement for virtual workers. Take a couple of hours out of your weekend on Friday night to at least check it out… if you’re like a few of us, you’ll get bitten by the bug.
Here are the four companies seeking team members, in no particular order, out of six that are competing this weekend: Read the rest of this entry »
5 May 2008
by cismet_geeks via FLICKR
We’ve put a group of companies through the Business Development weekend. They’re now further polishing their presentations and are getting ready to present to developers this Friday night in hopes of attracting a small team to build each application, or a prototype thereof, by the following Monday night.
Ever dream of joining a startup? Not know where to start? There are different ways of making yourself known, but we’ve got 5 of the 8 companies formed over last weekend who are specifically seeking your talent. Sign up to participate in this weekend’s development charrette and show up this Friday evening at the Innovation Depot to listen to their business concepts.
- BankersPipeline – simple customer management; could be built opensource by adapting SugarCRM
- KeepTheStory – microblogging and more; could be buit by adapting WordPress and needs some widgets
- GalleyPro – web 2.0 publishing and widgets
- Cnido – matchmaking for medical procedures; needs database and forms
- Akkount – reputation management system; could be a RoR application
Pick the one that you like and join their team… you could be a co-founder, eventually become an employee, garner a share of the revenues, and/or just code for food and the adrenalin rush of competing in the presentations on Monday night atop the Wachovia Tower downtown! At minimum, you will definately get some cool swag (first come, first served) and we’ll feed you pizza while you listen to the initial presentations.
Having just completed our second run-thru of the Business Development Weekend for our Birmingham Startup ‘start a startup weekend’ project, I thought it’d would be interesting to compare and contrast how we do things compared to the *official* startup weekends (using comments captured by the good folks in Bloomington, Indiana)…
- Legal issues — We are still trying to understand our options in structuring this company. Every state and every group (due to the variance in sizes) may face different challenges that contradict or stretch the default Startup Weekend model about forming a business. The consensus by the end of our weekend was that it would have been helpful to understand these things well in advance of that first pitch session on Friday. Lawyers are best used before they are needed, rather than after. Our group decided to by hyper-cautious because we value what we might have a month from now.
Oh yes… this was a BIG issue for us early on. It’s one reason EVERY PARTICIPANT (organizers, founders, and even presentors) in our program signs the same Non-Disclosure Agreement, Code of Conduct, and a model release form when they arrive at the event. Every founder receives an engagement letter from our sponsoring law firm (to get a free LLC formed) and each founder is *required* to form a legal entity by the following Friday before any work is done by a developer. They can avail themselves of the free offer’s constraints or do it on their own. When everyone arrives the following Friday (for instance, this coming Friday as I write this), each person will sign an Intellectual Property assignment which will apply to the work they do on behalf of the legal entity for the team they join. I never understood why others waited until they’ve spent the weekend of effort and then decide to ponder these issues. Knock them out in advance!!
- Who owns an idea? — A few people came with ideas, read the simple founders agreement, and didn’t present their idea due to uncertainty about who owned the pitch. The transparency probably gave the world some ideas, as well, offering another disincentive. More clarity and protections are needed so it is clear that presenting an idea isn’t tantamount to giving it to Startup Weekend.
Oh my! So, we’re not the only ones who saw this issue. We actually had people write statements buried in their idea submission that they’d be very angry if the organizers ‘stole their idea’ (as if we were running the weekend as a ruse to get their wonderful ideas). Read the rest of this entry »
5 May 2008
These two emails just came in overnight…
- I wanted to drop a note to say how much I appreciated BirminghamStartup Staff’s efforts this weekend. You guys put on a good show and the coaching efforts were very helpful throughout the process. I walked away with slight mental exhaustion but the advice has 1). Confirmed my direction/idea 2). Add more clarity to the concept / problem it solves and 3). That there is still hope for new ideas that are not Bio-Med centric. I look forward to seeing you guys on Friday.
- Thanks so much for everything. I really appreciate the change in format this time. It’s made a world of difference for me at least. I’m attaching the pitch. Please let me know if there’s anything else I need to do. Also I wanted to let you know that even though I don’t probably have a skill set that would be helpful to Birmingham Startup right now, if in the future there’s anything I can do to help, I definitely will.