By: Lexie Newhouse
From March 8-10, twelve Georgia State University students and alumni competed in TechStars Startup Weekend, a 54-hour event where participants build a startup from scratch.
The competition kicked off Friday night, where participants called the Ernst & Young office “home” for the next three days. Friday featured a warm welcome from speaker Charles Quinn, managing member of Kelp Engine LLC and co-owner and principal of Big Nerd Ranch LLC. Students then pitched their startup ideas in 1 minute. From there, ideas were voted on and narrowed down to determine which ones would advance to building phase of the competition. Participants then formed teams to bring those ideas to life over the course of the weekend.
Saturday’s festivities commenced bright and early where participants immediately dove into their startups. Mentors visited the teams throughout the day, providing insight and suggestions on how to refine their business models and pitches. Among those mentors were several Georgia State alumni including Manny Munoz of Trilogy and Durantae Lucas of Atlanta Ventures.
Sunday was crunch time for the teams as they finalized their pitch decks. Lunch featured keynote speaker Will Allred, COO and Co-Founder of Sorter. His neuromarketing platform won TechStars Startup Weekend last year in 2018, so participants were eager to hear his tips on how to successfully navigate the pitch. By 4:00 PM, laptops were down, and participants were ready. Pitching began shortly after dinner where twelve teams shared their 5-minute presentations.
The competition was judged by an esteemed panel of entrepreneurs including Windsor Hanger (Co-Founder and President of Her Campus), JP James (Managing Director of Libreum International), Keith Coleman (CEO and Founder of Faudmarc) and Shauvik Choudhary (Co-Founder and CEO of MoQuality). After much deliberation, the judges determined the 2019 TechStars Startup Weekend finalists: First Place – New Athens, Second Place – PlaySpark and Third Place – Surge.
Congratulations to all the participants and a special thank you to Alex Western, Ann-Marie Nunziata and the Global Shapers team for making it such a stellar weekend! Visit http://communities.techstars.com/usa/atlanta to learn more about upcoming TechStar events in the Atlanta area.