This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with the folks participating in the Twin Cities Startup Weekend at CoCo MSP. The Startup Weekend event organized by Shane Reiser had over 100 participants, which formed into 12 different teams with the task of creating a start-up in a weekend.
I arrived while the teams were eating lunch, and caught Jeff Pesek’s discussion on the future of Minnesota’s startup community. Next I had the opportunity to hear Kim Garretson of Ovative Group say a few words, including my favorite quote of the day on how local startups get “Minnesota niced” by top Minnesota corporations who take their meetings, but never buy whatever the start-ups are selling. To end the lunch presentations, I then provided my remarks on the topic of innovation, and its role in tech start-ups.
After lunch, I had the opportunity to meet with a few of the startup teams-
- FlightCrowd- W3i’s own Jeff Bollinger was in the team that built FlightCrowd, a social application that connects you to interesting people already on your flight.
- LocateMyDeal – My friend and very talented iOS app developer Aaron Kardell was in the LocateMyDeal start-up team.
- Qonqr- There was a little buzz building about the new start-up called Qonqr, so I asked Shane Reiser to introduce me to the team just before I had to leave. I’m thankful Shane provided the intro, because this location-based mobile game ended up being the winner of Startup Weekend. Qonqr is a location-based, Risk-like, mobile game played out over the face of the earth! Players are operatives who must capture geographic zones by deploying nanobots to help their army defeat the opposing armies and qonquer the world. Successful deployments, recruiting, and squadron coordination result in experience points that, over time, promote the operative through higher and higher ranks, providing more powerful nanobot options. Monetization opportunities include player purchased virtual armament upgrades and local businesses paying for the opportunity to be a featured battleground. Game interface for field operatives will be mobile devices, and the Command Center will be accessible from the web.
- Polywiks- Polywiks is a social gaming app utilizing real-time voting records, so you can follow every politician’s actual decisions in office, similar to daily status updates, and vote on whether or not you would do the same thing.
- Speed Watch– Speed Watch is an iPhone and iPad app that clearly tells you the speed limit of the road you are currently on, and notifies you when the speed limit changes.
Although I was initially a bit skeptical about the whole format of Startup Weekend, I would highly recommend you participate the next time they are in your city.