NAU Startup Weekend 2015

Posted: Wednesday, October 28th 2015 at 9:10 AM

Students from all over campus–and even a handful of high school students–gathered to brainstorm ideas in the hopes of coming up with the next big business plan at NAU’s Startup Weekend, held in the du Bois Ballroom from Friday, October 9 to Sunday, October 11, 2015. The winning team would receive one year of incubation in the LaunchBox Student Business Incubation program through the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET), but everyone would get to walk away with a better understanding of how to create a startup.

After registration, Friday night began with presentations from two guest speakers. Luke Bayard, co-founder of MonsterCreate, and Josh Strebel (‘03 BFA Vis Com), co-founder and CEO of Pagely, shared their own experiences of being an entrepreneur and trying to get their products to stand out in the market.

Then the students networked, bouncing ideas off of each other before coming back together to vote on the best ones. Teams formed based on what each student planned to bring to the table for the idea they liked best before they went home for the night.

Saturday began bright and early at 8 a.m. with the students beginning work on their business models and getting tips from entrepreneurs and former participants of the Startup Weekend. They heard from another guest speaker, Chris Yeh, who has spent his entire career working at high-tech startups.

“Don’t do it for the money,” he advised students. “Find people you can learn from and who you’d enjoy working with.”

He admitted that he lost almost six million dollars when his first startup failed, but that certainly didn’t stop him from trying again and again until an idea worked.

With that extra boost of motivation, the students worked in their groups for the rest of the day and met with coaches, breaking only for lunch and dinner until they left at 10 p.m.

Startup Weekend wrapped up Sunday with each team’s final presentation to a panel of judges consisting of Paul Thomas, chief entrepreneur for NACET and executive in residence in the FCB; Tom Cheng, entrepreneur in residence in the FCB; Jeff Abbott, venture partner at Wasabi Ventures; Annette Zinky, president and CEO of NACET; and Alan Lobock, cofounder of SkyMall, Inc.

The judges asked each team questions about the viability of their product and then made their decision. Third place went to InvisiClean Technologies, second place was given to Paycell, and the grand prize was given to Text Capsule.

Trevyn Scott, finance student and member of the Paycell team, enjoyed that he got to meet so many people at Startup Weekend who are just as passionate about entrepreneurship as he is.

“The truth is that your head is spinning the entire time during the competition because there is so much work to be done, but at the same time you’re in a very creative and supportive atmosphere,” he said. “By the time it is all over you feel strangely refreshed and excited to have worked so hard despite the fact that you are absolutely exhausted.”

Participating teams

Categories: startup weekend northern arizona center for entrepreneurship and technology nacet launchbox student business incubation luke bayard monstercreate josh strebel pagely alumni students annette zinky chris yeh paul thomas tom cheng jeff abbott alan lobock wasabi ventures skymall, inc. trevyn scott fall 2015 2015